22 Types of Lathe Operations (Complete List with Images)

Have you ever thought about what can be performed on a lathe? Or what are the uses of Lathe?

Here you will get the list of 22 types of Lathe operations along with the explanation and images.

types of lathe operations

Let’s see all the lathe operations one by one.

#1) Straight turning

Straight turning

Straight turning is an operation performed on lathe in which the extra material is removed so that the diameter is constant all over the cylindrical workpiece.

#2) Shoulder turning

Shoulder turning

Some workpieces need different diameters like step cones.

The surface formed between the two steps on the workpiece is called shoulder and machining this part of the workpiece is called shoulder turning.

#3) Taper turning

Taper turning

Taper turning is a machining process in which the taper is formed on the workpiece which has gradual reduction in the diameter.

#4) Chamfering operation

Chamfering operation

Chamfering is a process in which a beveled surface is made on the edge of the workpiece.

#5) Eccentric turning

four jaw chuck

In eccentric turning, the turning of the workpiece is not done on the main center axis, but is done in the axis which is at some offset from the main center.

An example of eccentric turning is the turning of a camshaft.

For eccentric turning, the center of the workpiece is made offset using a three jaw chuck or a four jaw chuck. (See above image).

#6) Thread cutting operation

Thread cutting operation

Threading is a metal removing process in which a helical groove of V shape or a square shape is produced on a cylindrical surface.

#7) Facing operation

Facing operation

Facing is the lathe operation in which the length of the workpiece is reduced by providing a feed perpendicular to the axis of the lathe.

#8) Forming operation

Forming operation

Forming process is done by using a form tool on a lathe machine. The form tools can be of different types depending on the required shape on the workpiece.

#9) Filing operation

metal files

Filing operation on metal lathe is an operation in which finishing of the surface is done on the cylindrical job after the turning operation is completed.

Filing operation is generally done to remove the sharp surface as well as to remove the feed marks from the workpiece.

The tool used for filing operations is called file tool.

#10) Polishing 

As the name suggests, polishing is an operation which is done on the metal lathe to improve the surface finish.

In polishing process, the chuck of the metal lathe rotates at very high speed and at this speed, the emery cloth is used for making smooth and bright surfaces.

#11) Grooving operation

Grooving is a machining operation in which a diameter of the cylindrical workpiece is reduced over a very narrow surface. The tool used for grooving operation is known as groove tool.

#12) Knurling operation

Knurling operation

Knurling is a machining process in which horizontal, vertical, cross or diamond shaped lines are made on the outer surface of a cylindrical workpiece.

#13) Spinning operation

metal spinning operation

Spinning operation is a sheet metal forming operation in which the heated metal revolving at a high speed is pressed against the headstock spindle in order to give the desired shape.

#14) Spring winding

Spring winding is an operation in which the coiled spring is made by passing a wire over the mandrel. The mandrel is attached in the chuck and sometimes it is also supported by the tailstock.

#15) Undercutting operation

Undercutting operation

Undercutting is a lathe operation in which the internal diameter of the workpiece is enlarged over a small narrow surface.

This undercutting operation is done at some fixed distance from the end of the workpiece.

#16) Parting-off operation

Parting-off operation

Parting or cutting operation on a lathe is an operation in which a workpiece is cut off at a specific length by using a blade-like cutting tool (also known as parting tool).

#17) Internal thread cutting

Internal thread cutting

Internal thread cutting (or internal threading) is a process in which threads are made on the internal diameter of the workpiece.

#18) Drilling


Drilling is an operation of making a circular hole in a workpiece by removing the material with the help of a tool called drill bit.

This operation can also be performed on a lathe machine where the workpiece rotates and the drill bit is kept stationary.

#19) Reaming


In reaming process, the reamer tool is used to give accurate dimensions to a previously drilled hole.

A reamer is a multipoint cutter which removes very little amount of material as compared to that of drilling.

#20) Boring

boring operation

Boring operation is a machining process in which the drilled hole is enlarged by using a single point cutting tool.

#21) Counter boring

Counter boring

Counter boring is an operation in which a cylindrical pre-drilled hole is enlarged so that the fasteners (like screw, bolt, etc) can be set with or below the workpiece surface.

#22) Tapping


Tapping operation is a machining process in which threads are made in the internal part of a drilled hole, so that a bolt can be easily fixed in the threads.

The tool used for tapping operation is called tap tool.

Tap tool is also used to make internal threads in the nut.

External links:
Four jaw chuck: Image by Glenn McKechnie, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Metal spinning: Image by Terry Tynan, via wikimedia commons
Counterbore: Image by Dvortygirl, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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