Ornamental Turning
Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Though we’re best known for our machinery and equipment that is suited for industrial settings, not all lathes are created equal. Some aren’t meant for industrial settings. We know, that seems strange since there are plenty of full-sized and oversized lathes for just that reason. But, as we’ve been experts in the business for over 30 years, we’ve seen it all, even including devices such as the rose engine lathe.

There are numerous different classes of lathes, depending on what parts they have or what they’re designed to do. So, at first glance, it may seem like a rose engine lathe has an engine made out of roses. Maybe if you have a vivid imagination it could be, but it’s not that way in real life. A rose engine lathe is specifically a type of geometric lathe. (For those of you who aren’t knowledgeable on lathes, a geometric lathe is used to make ornamental patterns.) But this leads to the question, what makes a rose engine lathe different than another geometric lathe?

Part of this lathe’s name comes from the patterns that can be mounted on the spindle. Rosettes or cams with other patterns are mounted on the spindle to create decorative items in those patterns. Pretty straightforward, right? But simply because this lathe uses rosettes doesn’t mean it is limited to making floral patterns. Besides rosettes, other patterns, such as geometric patterns, intricate lines or symmetrical patterns, can all be made from mounting such patterns onto the rose engine lathe.

Another significant factor of the rose engine lathe that sets it apart from industrial-use lathes is that the headstock is hinged in a rose engine lathe. What does this mean exactly? During a process called rocking, the headstock pivots back and forth and that pivoting is controlled by a person. This is what makes a rose engine lathe unique: the rocking a rose engine lathe does is what enables it to draw — so to say — intricate patterns.

The patterns a rose engine lathe can create are sometimes so complex and delicate, they have been compared to what a Spirograph does. If a Spirograph was before your time, or if you didn’t have the chance to own one, it is a toy that allowed one to draw geometric shapes and patterns with the aid of a ring that had gear teeth both on its inside and outside frames. Different circles could be placed inside or outside the rings and each circle created a different pattern when one drew in a circular motion. While the Spirograph is a toy that both children and adults can enjoy, a rose engine lathe is best left to adults who know the proper safety precautions.  

It isn’t just industrial turning or CNC machining that require lathes. Ornamental turning that calls for exact measurements and precision can also require a lathe. For small items and decorative pieces, you wouldn’t want the world’s largest lathe to handle that job. The rose engine lathe may seem bizarre compared to its industrial counterparts, but doorknobs, compact mirrors and watch backs have all seen how powerful a rose engine lathe can be.


Blog Categories

  • General Interest
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    • 02/19/2019 - Lining Your Spindles for Bette
    • 01/22/2019 - Selecting the Right Bar Feeder
    • 12/18/2018 - Benefits of CNC manufacturing
    • 11/20/2018 - Lathe Machine Accessories and
    • 10/23/2018 - What is Chamfering and How Doe
    • 09/18/2018 - Why Gears Need to be Chamfered
    • 08/21/2018 - How to Assess What Bar Feeder
    • 07/24/2018 - Increase Your CNC Machining Pr
    • 06/19/2018 - Machines You Would Need for Me
    • 05/22/2018 - Quality Parts: 5 Benefits to y
    • 04/17/2018 - 3 Type of Metal Fabrication To
    • 03/16/2018 - Learning about Lathing Machine
    • 02/16/2018 - Why CNC Machining is Important
    • 01/26/2018 - Step By Step Guide For Easy Sp
    • 08/15/2017 - Fully Automatic Chamfering Mac
    • 07/05/2017 - Chamfering: Manual vs. Automat
    • 05/23/2017 - The Mother of Machine Tools –
    • 04/17/2017 - The Mother of Machine Tools –
    • 12/17/2016 - DIY Spindle Liners
    • 11/05/2016 - Spindle Liners: Steel or Ureth
    • 07/23/2016 - Quick-Change Workholding Syste
    • 06/23/2016 - The Best Spindle Liners
    • 05/12/2016 - Apps for CNC Machining
    • 03/15/2016 - T-Rex Spindle Crushes Industry
    • 10/13/2015 - From Hand Tool to Simple Machi
    • 05/11/2015 - Bevel and Chamfer: What’s the
    • 04/24/2015 - What’s In A Name: The Definiti
    • 03/17/2015 - A Brief History of Geometric L
    • 02/10/2015 - 3-D: Not Just for Printers Any
    • 01/20/2015 - Ornamental Turning
    • 12/09/2014 - Informative Machinist Blogs
    • 11/20/2014 - The Ins and Outs of Being a Ma
    • 10/23/2014 - Bow Lathes Before Power
    • 09/10/2014 - World Record: The World’s Larg
    • 08/18/2014 - Lathes: Not Just for Heavy Ind
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    • 06/12/2014 - A Brief History of the Lathe
    • 05/25/2014 - The History of Lathing: Ancien
    • 04/02/2014 - Useful Apps for Machinists and
    • 03/18/2014 - The Basics of Spindle Liners
  • Historical Turning

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I just wanted to thank JF Berns (as a whole) and Rob Elmlinger. I have dealt with JF Berns multiple times over the years.  You guys always pull me out of the fire and get me back running. All any of us have is our service to offer people and you guys are great at it!!! Thanks!!!

Darin Atkinson / Atkinson International Inc.



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