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M13 - One-fifth Scaled Centre Lathe

Project No.: M13

Project Title: One-fifth Scaled Centre Lathe


Despite the continuous evolution of new advanced machine tools, a centre lathe is still the most basic and crucial equipment in a machine shop. It provides not only flexibility for producing job-shop type works, but also the fundamental knowledge and skills required for further study in those AMT equipment. The manufacturing of a 1/5-scaled centre lathe would thus become meaningful to the trainees studying in the mechanical and manufacturing engineering. It enables them to understand the basic structure as well as the design and working principles of a centre lathe.

In general, a centre lathe consists of 5 main parts namely: the lathe bed, the headstock, the slideways, the saddle, and finally the tailstock. The lathe bed is generally made of cast iron or fabricated from steel plates that provide ample support for the whole machine. The headstock is one that transmits rotational motion from the motor through belt drives and gear trains to the spindle and then the work piece. The slideways allow the saddle to move accurately along and across the slideways which consequently impart linear motion to the tool for turning, facing, and screw cutting purposes. Besides drilling, the tailstock also gives support to long work pieces for turning between centres.

Different machines are different in designs particularly when the size and the accuracy of the machine are concerned. It is not expected to have the lathe be made as precise as possible. But rather be as simple as possible such that it would be completed within the time spans given. Of course the basic features of a centre lathe that mentioned above and the necessary operations such as turning and facing cannot be omitted.


Except the lathe bed, the configuration of the centre lathe is shown on the attached drawing. The basic operations of the lathe are listed below: -

  1. Motion is transmitted from the motor via a pulley and belt system to the spindle and then the 3-jaws chuck.
  2. Extruded aluminium profiles are being used as the slideways (both the cross slide and the longitudinal slide).
  3. The hand wheel mounted in front of the apron provides the necessary manual feeding for the machine while automatic feeding is achieved by the mechanism installed behind the apron together with the leadscrew underneath.
  4. For simplicity, the compound slide on top of the cross slide is omitted.
  5. The tailstock is to be located and locked at any position along the longitudinal slide for supporting the work piece and holding the drill chuck.


  1. Motor 1/4 HP AC or DC
  2. Spindle Nose Diameter 25 mm
  3. Swing above slide 80 mm
  4. Length between centres 280 mm
  5. Resolution of handwheels 0.2 mm per graduation
  6. Pitch of leadscrew 3 mm


Students are required to design and manufacture the 1/5-scaled centre lathe based on the given outline and specifications. (Slight modifications will be allowed to suit individual cases.)

Assembly Drawing of 1/5-scaled centre lathe