General Lathe Tips

Basic Tips

Reducing Chattering

If the tool is making scratching sounds, this is what is called "chatter." When your tool chatters check for the following

  • Tool bit is dull: Switch out the tool bit and give the dull one to the shop proctor.
  • Tool bit is on loosely: Tighten the tool bit with the hex at your station.
  • You are cutting too much: Try cutting a little less
  • Your cutting speed is not adequate for this material: You might be going too fast or too slow. Make sure you're working with the suggested cutting speed.

Chip color

Chip colors can indicate whether you're cutting speed is too fast. If your chips are the same color as the material, you are at an adequate speed. If it's copper-colored, then you are just before going too fast. If the chips are blue, then your piece and the tool bit are really hot. In this case, go slower, change out the dull tool bit, or cut less.

Auto feed on Lathe 1-3

To change the direction of the feed, push the knob under z-axis control in to auto feed in x-axis and pull the knob out in order to auto feed in z-axis.

*Try the auto feed away from your part first to make sure you will auto feed in the desired direction.


Compound Hand wheel

If the compound hand wheel won't move…

Chances are someone tightened down one of the nuts indicated in the picture too far and jammed the innards. In this case, loosen up the nuts until everything slides into place, then rotate the hand wheel by about 30 degrees, then snug everything up.


Digital Readout

Be sure to make measurements with calipers when accuracy is important. The digital readout is a helpful tool, but your piece might be out of spec if you are relying only on the readout for measurements.

Converting units

When the lathe is in mm settings instead of inches, press the period on the digital readout to convert the units back to inches.

Specific Lathes

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