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zhaddock
12-09-2011, 10:29 AM
What is the difference between an engine lathe and a regular lathe?

Seastar
12-09-2011, 10:37 AM
One is driven by an engine and the other is regulated.

Seriously----
There is no difference today.
It use to be that lathes were driven from a line shaft.
Then they became individually powered by electric motors (engines).
Bill

zhaddock
12-09-2011, 10:43 AM
I thought maybe it was because an engine lathe was outfitted to be better equiped for doing engine work like cam shafts and such. If there is no difference why do they still sell new lathes labeled "engine lathe'"?

Tait
12-09-2011, 10:45 AM
For more (not especially helpful) detail, see wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine_lathe).

gwilson
12-09-2011, 10:59 AM
This has been asked on other fora. I don't think anyone ever agreed. To me,though,an engine lathe is a metal turning lathe that can cut threads. Or,maybe that's a toolroom lathe.

Anything that can spin the work can be a lathe,including those that are held down by the feet and bow powered. 2 centers stuck between close trees and a plank nailed across for the tool rest,bow powered from an overhead branch and some rope is a lathe.

justanengineer
12-09-2011, 11:02 AM
I was always taught this logic:

Metal lathe = lathe capable of cutting, but not limited to, metal.
subset engine lathe = metal lathe with a mechanical apron or axes, as compared to a "spinning" lathe with simply a toolrest as on a standard wood lathe.
subset toolroom lathe = engine lathe with features distinguishing it from a "production lathe"...such as more speed/feed options (QC gear box), taper attachment etc.
subset production lathe = an engine lathe lacking features of a toolroom lathe. may or may not have a qc gear box, or even screw cutting abilities. think of the popular old hardinge "second op" lathes.

loose nut
12-09-2011, 11:39 AM
That's about as good a description as there is.

The only possible addition I can think of and it may be wrong is that an engine lathe was self contained with it's own motor as opposed to a line "belt" driven lathe.

bruto
12-09-2011, 11:57 AM
I've always understood it as Justanengineer puts it. A motor driven wood lathe, for example, is not an engine lathe, but a treadle driven metal lathe with an apron is.

sid pileski
12-09-2011, 12:08 PM
I wonder if the term engine lathe might have come from the fact that like stated, early powered lathes were line shaft driven, but the line shaft was often driven by a steam ENGINE? Maybe as opposed to other forms of power sources?

Just a thought.

Sid

mickeyf
12-09-2011, 12:42 PM
My impression has been that "engine" originally differentiated from what today we would call a "wood" lathe.

For hundreds of years lathes were used for wood, and no one had any reason to refer to them as anything other than "lathes". Towards the dawn of the industrial revolution, when "engines" and "engineers" came into existence, a need to distinguish those similar to the ones we know and love today arose, and voilá - the "engine Lathe".

aboard_epsilon
12-09-2011, 12:45 PM
from memory when io last looked it up.


think engine is an old word dating back many centuries..the word meant mechanical device - as in siege engine....the word was also related to cotton gin.

why search engines have pinched the name i don't know ..or why people call themselves engineers ..who have not touched a mechanical device in all their lives

all the best.markj

Fasttrack
12-09-2011, 02:24 PM
I thought maybe it was because an engine lathe was outfitted to be better equiped for doing engine work like cam shafts and such. If there is no difference why do they still sell new lathes labeled "engine lathe'"?


Nope. An "engine lathe" is the same as what you and I would call a "lathe". The term "engine lathe" has come to mean a general purpose metal cutting lathe. The origins of the term are disputable, but the fact is, manufacturers call their products engine lathes to distinguish them from second op, production, tool room, wood etc lathes.

danlb
12-09-2011, 02:36 PM
I like this definition from the dictionary;

http://www.webster-dictionary.net/definition/Engine%20lathe


a turning lathe in which the cutting tool has an automatic feed; - used chiefly for turning and boring metals, cutting screws, etc.

That would make sense, and it easily delineates what you would need for production of precision mechanical parts.

Without an automatic feed, it would be difficult to precisely create screws and some other features. I'm internally translating that to include the compound and cross-slide that are manually driven through a handwheel and leadscrew.

Dan

lynnl
12-09-2011, 02:52 PM
Same ol' perenial question, with same ol' perenial answers. :D

The real answer is "nobody knows," ...except the guy who first coined the term, and he's long since passed on to that big machine shop up yonder.

If the truth could be known, my bet is that it was FIRST used to distinguish between the older line shaft driven lathes and these newer fangled contraptions with a gol darned engine in each one.

The reality is that it doesn't mean anything nowadays.

MichaelP
12-09-2011, 03:22 PM
That's how it was described in the very old (and very good) "Machinist's and Toolmaker's Handy Book" by Frank Graham:

"The Term Engine Lathe.

When introduced this term meant just what it stands for- it is self-defining: a lathe driven by an engine, regardless of the type of the lathe, except to distinguish it from a foot lathe.

When, later, nondescript persons (language butchers) got in their work, the term was loosely used and its meaning changed. They distorted the term to designate a standard all purpose back geared power feed screw cutting lathe as commonly used in machine shops for general work..."

justanengineer
12-09-2011, 03:34 PM
My impression has been that "engine" originally differentiated from what today we would call a "wood" lathe.


Thats pretty much the logic as I was always told. Though I honestly do not know how different an early wood lathe is from a metal spinning lathe, having never personally done metal spinning before.

I had always been told that the "engine" in the lathe related to the machines cutting being mechanical. Rather than holding a "spoon?" (I am sure I have heard another word in the past but it eludes me now) in metal spinning you crank dials and the machine "does the cutting." One could argue that logic though as I believe I have heard metal spinning "ornamental" lathes referred to as "engines" before.

Regarding "engine" lathes being related to the lineshaft's engine, my family has had a lineshaft shop on the farm since prior to WW1 that was driven via electric motor, long before the electric utility reached the area in 1948, which I dont believe was uncommon (my father remembers getting "pole power" on the farm, and the genset/monster battery packs they had previously).

jep24601
12-09-2011, 03:36 PM
..or why people call themselves engineers ..who have not touched a mechanical device in all their lives

That would be in the english speaking world where the term engineer was derived from "engine overseer" - the guy with an oil can squirting the bearings and adjusting steam pressures.

In french spanish and italian the words ingénieur, ingeniero, and ingegnere, while appearing similar to the english engineer, are all in fact from a different verb stem indicating the person in question to have ingenuity, and not necessarily having anything to do with engines.

Mcgyver
12-09-2011, 03:43 PM
who ya going to call, The High Court of Lathe Naming? International Bureau of Lathe Nomenclature?

to a degree there's no right or wrong, only acceptance of the listener. I always took an engine lathe to mean machinists lathe, geared headstock, thread cutting etc. Not even sure where that came from, some high school text?

But look at the use of 'toolroom' as a lathe adjective. A toolroom lathe to me means an HLV, 10ee or Smart & Brown or something of equivalent mass and quality. The adverts though call any little POS a toolroom lathe...then there's the DIN standard that let maximat call itself a toolroom lathe. Its far from a perfect world now isn't it?

all I can say is call me anything but don't call me late for dinner

aboard_epsilon
12-09-2011, 03:48 PM
i do know ..that you can call this an engine mill

http://img4.photobucket.com/albums/0603/GAEWEN/bb38996e.jpg

all the best.markj

gwilson
12-09-2011, 03:52 PM
As mentioned,in the early days,like the 16th. and 17th.C.,anything mechanical tended to be called an "ingenue"(sp?) Meaning something ingenious. Even cider presses were dubbed ingenues,and all they had was a wooden screw.

loose nut
12-09-2011, 04:06 PM
Though I honestly do not know how different an early wood lathe is from a metal spinning lathe, having never personally done metal spinning before.

One could argue that logic though as I believe I have heard metal spinning "ornamental" lathes referred to as "engines" before.

).

True metal spinning lathes, not regular lathes used for spinning, may look like a wood lathe but are very much more rigid and built for higher speed and the type of stresses put on it by spinning.

Ornamental lathe are not for spinning. These lathes, Holtzapfel and Evans for example, were lathes that made for ornamental turning of wood, ivory and soft metal. They had a wide assortment of attachments for producing unusual shapes and patterns on these materials and were so expensive that only the very rich could even think about having one.

jugs
12-09-2011, 05:36 PM
The term "Engine Lathe" is not because it's driven by an engine or it's for machining engines.

In English the term "Engine Lathe" refers to a Screw Cutting Back Geared lathe, (later it included self acting sliding & facing), to distinguish it from hand operated / plain lathes.

The earliest "Engine Lathe" reference I've found =
1888 issue of Modern Machine Shop Practice by Joshua Rose, M.E
"The self-acting lathe, or engine lathe, implying that there is a slide rest actuated automatically to traverse the tool to its cut or feed."

British Engineer Henry Maudslay invented the modern screw-cutting lathe cira 1800

lazlo
12-09-2011, 06:12 PM
who ya going to call, The High Court of Lathe Naming? International Bureau of Lathe Nomenclature?

The billet aircraft aluminum association :)


British Engineer Henry Maudslay invented the modern screw-cutting lathe cira 1800

Every time I've seen someone claim that, and fist-fight ensues :) What's the difference between teh "modern" screw-cutting lathes, and the screw-cutting lathes from the Renaissance?

This is a model of one of Davinci's screwcutting lathes. Even had change-gears :

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u15/rtgeorge_album/davincilathe.jpg

...and this is Maudslay's:

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u15/rtgeorge_album/maudslay.jpg

flylo
12-09-2011, 07:11 PM
I'm new but thought engine lathes are what we call metal lathes with tail stocks as oppised to turrent lathes.

danlb
12-09-2011, 07:32 PM
The billet aircraft aluminum association :)



Every time I've seen someone claim that, and fist-fight ensues :) What's the difference between teh "modern" screw-cutting lathes, and the screw-cutting lathes from the Renaissance?

This is a model of one of Davinci's screwcutting lathes. Even had change-gears :

<snip>

...and this is Maudslay's:

< snip >


I look at the second, and instantly see it is a lathe. I look at DaVinci's and think of a screw cutting machine. I'd say Maudslay's is modern. :)

Dan

jugs
12-09-2011, 07:54 PM
The billet aircraft aluminum association :)



Every time I've seen someone claim that, and fist-fight ensues :) What's the difference between teh "modern" screw-cutting lathes, and the screw-cutting lathes from the Renaissance?

This is a model of one of Davinci's screwcutting lathes. Even had change-gears :

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u15/rtgeorge_album/davincilathe.jpg

...and this is Maudslay's:

http://i164.photobucket.com/albums/u15/rtgeorge_album/maudslay.jpg

Nice pics, the pin gears are similar to lantern wheels used in clocks.

Davinci's one is a dedicated threading machine using 2 lead-screws (to even out the discrepancies), the wooden screws this type of machine produced [ Ive seen film of a similar machine still in use in the 1930s ] were used for olive oil & wine presses, clamps & vices, & to crush people on "torture engines".

Maudslay's is a sliding / facing Plain lathe, with screw-cutting. It has most of the elements seen in the modern lathe, But it's not an engine lathe, (that requires sliding & facing to be powered)
The first ones were powered by a hand crank or a spoked wheel, by 1815 treadles & an overhead shaft to drive tool-post mounted attachments were being used (powered tooling isn't a modern invention).

lazlo
01-03-2012, 08:20 AM
Nice pics, the pin gears are similar to lantern wheels used in clocks.

Davinci's one is a dedicated threading machine using 2 lead-screws (to even out the discrepancies

Davinci also designed and built similar lathes to bore cannon. My point being, like the invention of the milling machine being attributed to Eli Whitney and the "modern screwcutting lathe" being attributed to Maudslay, these are a continuum of developments over thousands of years, so it's hazardous to attempt to pick a moment in time...

herbet999
01-03-2012, 08:56 AM
My understanding, from written sources, is that the distinction came about when lathes were eventually produced to run under their own power and not from a common belt system that was driven by a single engine (probably steam) and ran multiple machines.

Example of non-engine, belt driven machines

http://aylard.ca/gallery/albums/userpics/10002/DSCF0012.JPG

The pic I borrow from the following:

http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?94528-Time-travel-to-an-old-school-machine-shop-job-shop

Forrest Addy
01-03-2012, 09:38 AM
"lathe" Vs "engine Lathe" are almost interchangeable terms in the metalworking sense whose distinctions lead to infinite "yabbut" patrisan arguements from purists often radiating far more heat than light.

"lathe" would be the general term for material removal aparatus involving a cutting edge following a tool path to generate body of rotation surfaces and contours in work mounted on a rotating spindle .

"Engine lathe" would be an elaboration of "lathe" to produce a metalworking machine tool usually incorporating thread cutting features. It was once an esential machine for manufacturing the many body of revolution parts for steam and internal combustion engines in the days of yore but now it's a general porpose machine tool serving a wide application. .

Mr Ron
01-03-2012, 12:54 PM
It is my understanding that the term "engine lathe" was shortened from "engineer's lathe" used in England. There, machinists were referred to as "engineers", so engineers ran lathes. When the term came to America, a machinist was not referred to as an engineer, so it was changed to "engine".

zhaddock
01-03-2012, 02:59 PM
what's the differences with a gun smith lathe?

darryl
01-03-2012, 03:22 PM
I could be incorrect (it has happened once before :)) but I think the term was originally meant to distinguish between lathes that were capable of self-driving the cutting tool, and those that were not. Power feed and threading capability defines the lathe as an engine lathe.

Or you can look at it this way- there is a wood lathe, meant for turning wood, a metal lathe meant for cutting metal, an engine lathe meant for turning engines, a screw-cutting lathe meant for turning screw cutters, and a gunsmith lathe, meant for turning gunsmiths. I hope you screw cutters and gunsmiths don't get dizzy easily-

Alistair Hosie
01-03-2012, 03:33 PM
We of course don't call them engine lathes here in the uk.There called just metal lathes, clockmakers lathes , woodturning lathes,turret lathes and JOHN STEVENSONS
ultra scientific laser coal speciality chuggity chuggity chug.boiiiiing CRACK whallop GRoan hiss :DAlistair

vpt
01-03-2012, 05:40 PM
Would a 'Jet engine lathe' be fore machining jet engine parts?

herbet999
01-03-2012, 07:11 PM
Would a 'Jet engine lathe' be fore machining jet engine parts?

That idea may shed some light on what a toothpick lathe is.

Forrest Addy
01-03-2012, 07:41 PM
what's the differences with a gun smith lathe?


Gunsmith lathe" is to "lathe" as "billet" is to barstock or plate. Same thing sexed-up with a catchy but mis-applied name. Gun smiths may take exception but any engine lathe in good shape of sufficient capacity can do anything there is to be done in the line of lathe work on firearms.

Rich Carlstedt
01-03-2012, 10:43 PM
Well Guys, I see a lot of speculation here, so lets go to a great source

1851
Appletons
Dictionary
of
Machines, Mechanics, Engine Work, and Engineering

Published in New York, 1851

They list and describe -very lengthly - several"Lathes" as follows, with my comments shown in parenthises:

1. Lathe for Turning Irregular Forms-Blanchards
( This is a tracer lathe -Used for turning Shoe Lasts or making patterns)

2. Small Engine Lathe "Up to 16 inch over the sills" ( diameter)
( They show a regular bed Lathe.It has a gear rack and power feed carriage.
It has a working cross slide with screw and hand wheel for facing.
The long ways have a lead screw, allowing carriage feed in or away from the headstock.
Normal adjustable tailstock is mounted. No chuck is shown, only a center and drive plate. No Back Gear expressed)

3. Engine Lathe "Will swing 50 inches over the ways, and 32 over the rest "
( Has all the above "small" components , plus it has back gears in the headstock)
" Geers by which the motion of the spindle is reduced and the power increased" ( Their spelling on this ! )
( By the way, the large faceplate has the large back gear mounted to it !)
( The tailstock has a screw and clamp for offsetting the nose - for taper work)
(The cross slide has a tool slide on it which can be rotated for short taper work)

4 Lathe, Boring and Reaming
( This is a Gap Bed Lathe, with a very large face plate. There is a carriage with rack, but no cross slide.
There is a central tool post, of adjustable height.
Apparently you mounted drills, reamers in the post , raised it up and drilled/bored your way in using power feed.
It has a tailstock)

5.Lathe, Large Boring and Reaming . " For wheels 5 1/2 feet in diameter "
( This lathe has all the attributes of the big engine lathe ! )
(It is not a blown up version of the above boring lathe as it has crossfeed and swivel toolholders )

6. Lathe for Gun Boring, Turning , and Planing
( Very complicated large lathe for cannon with lots of special tooling)
( sort of a engine lathe and taper lathe combined with broaching ability )

7. Small Lathe-Self Acting and Screw- Cutting
( Now this lathe has gear clusters on the headstock for threading variations.
it has power feed and cross slide, and tool slide.
But what is most important is the second leadscrew or powered shaft in the back of the lathe that is used for threading.
The drive has bevel gear cluster and clutch for instant reverse. Reminds me of a modern Hardinge
It also has a 3 jaw universal chuck ! )

All this in 1851 fellows !

Now for the Tool Room lathe bit.

From the :
Tool Engineers Handbook ( 1949) ( From SME, and the bible for us manufacturing engineers )
( This also was reviewed by the LeBlond Machine Tool Co.)
( BTW We always considered an "Engine Lathe" as a lathe that could cut threads )

Regular Engine Lathes
This classification covers the common general purpose shop machine.
( so be it !)

Toolroom Lathes
These are engine lathes with additional equipment and have a single-tooth clutch arrangement and lead screw reverse at the apron
( So you can see here, there are very few "Toolroom" lathes around. They are special for single point cutting and reversing direction quickly)

So that is the official position of the people who make lathes !
Have Fun
Rich

PS
The first book is not for sale. It is a treasure

Rich Carlstedt
01-03-2012, 10:44 PM
Forrest,
Do you mean " Billet" or Bullet"
Both could apply ?

Rich

Jim Hubbell
01-03-2012, 10:59 PM
I notice Enco breaks it down to bench lathes and engine lathes. Engine lathes are one unit , mounting on the floor.

lazlo
01-04-2012, 05:04 AM
Would a 'Jet engine lathe' be fore machining jet engine parts?

How about an oilfield lathe? :) Meaning, a lathe with an unusually large through-hole.

vpt
01-04-2012, 08:21 AM
And a jewelers lathe, watch makers lathe, and cnc lathe. Boy I'm gonna have to get a few more lathes if I want to make other parts.


Maybe they are all just names made up to tell the wife unit. But hon, I only have a tool room lathe, I need all these others to make all these other parts.