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A lathe is a machine tool which spins the workpiece to perform various operations such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, or deformation with tools that are applied to the workpiece to create an object which has symmetry about an axis of rotation (Wikipedia ). Lathes perform the machining operation known as "turning." While turning, material is removed from a workpiece by rotating it against a tool. Turning is a central production operation in the manufacture of many metal, plastic and wood parts. Lathes can be either manually operated or computer controlled (CNC). Lathes can have many differences, unique features and accessories to facilitate a wide range of jobs.
The simplest lathe type is the wood lathe. As the name suggests, it is designed for turning wood. Wood lathes are small machines consisting of a bed, headstock, tailstock and tool rest. Unlike with what is found on a metal-working machine, there are no precision ways since the cutting tools are moved by hand and not by machine power. A steady hand and good skill is needed to control the cutting tool to accurately turn smooth curves and complex contours on the work piece. The spindle is driven by a belt connected to a motor, and speed differentiations are made by manually moving the belt to one of many pulleys mounted to the back of the spindle. Lathe tools are held by hand against the work, with the support of the tool rest. The tool rest is adjustable and is clamped to the bed at a position that best suites the operation at hand.