What Are the Parts of Lathe Machine and Their Functions?

The lathe is used to turn a tool by turning it on the precision motor. It may be utilized for turning, tapping, forming turning, spiral cutting, finishing, passivation, boring, spinning, grinding, polishing and other functions.

The lathe’s most important function is to remove material from the work piece and shape it into the desired form and size. To extract material and controlled the tool direction, the work piece is rotated against the tool as it travels on the lathe.

So without wasting time let’s get started.

Parts of Lathe Machine

The following components are employed in lathe machines:

  • Bed
  • Guideways 
  • Headstock
  • Spindle
  • Carriage
  • Saddle
  • Cross slide
  • Compound Rest
  • Compound slide
  • Tool Post
  • Apron
  • Tailstock
  • Chuck
  • Face Plate
  • Center 
  • Feed Shaft
  • Lead Screw
  • Legs
  • Chips Pan
  • Hand Wheel
  • Speed Controller
  • Bull Gear
  • Sleeve

The figure shows several components of the lathe machine, each of which will be covered in detail below.

Parts of Lathe Machine


A bed is the main body of the machine. All the main components are bolted on it. It is usually made of cast iron due to its high compressive strength. It is made by the casting process and is bolted to the floor space. Its top section consists of bed guideways or ‘V’ ways which are precision machined and used to guide and align the other parts of the lathe.  


Guideways take care of the movement of tailstock and carriage on the bed.


Headstocks are the main body parts that are placed on the left side of the bed.  It’s a simple device that holds gear chains, spindles, driving pulleys, and other accessories. A motor that turns the spindle drives the headstock mechanism. It’s also constructed of cast iron.


It is the main part of the lathe which holds and rotates the chuck. It is made from good quality alloy steel and it is heat treated. Threads, tapers, etc. are made at one end of the spindle to which holding devices can be attached.


It is located between the headstock and tailstock. It is used to hold and move the tool post along the bed, either towards or away from the headstock. It slides on the guideways. It is also made of cast iron and steel.

It has six main parts:

  • Saddle
  • Cross slide
  • Compound Rest
  • Compound slide
  • Tool Post
  • Apron


It is an H-shaped casting mounted on lathe ways, supports the cross slide that provides movement to the tool post.

Cross Slide

A cross slide is a component of the carriage that permits a tool post to move at an angle to the bed rails during machining. The feed screw drives the cross slide.

Compound Rest

The cross slide and the compound slide are joined by a complex rest. The cross slide is positioned on top of the complex rest. It has a circular base with graduations in degrees etched on it. It does not receive electricity, but it can be operated manually by hand.  The feed screw of the compound rest may be adjusted in depth of cut. The compound slide is securely locked to the base once it has been set to the desired depth of cut.

Compound Slide

The dovetail junction connects the compound rest to the compound slide. The headstock of a lathe must be adjusted in order to cut curves or tapers with compound slides.

Tool Post

It is bolted to the carriage on top of the compound slide. It is used to hold the tools at the correct position with rigidity.


An apron is situated on the carriage. It consists of all controlling and moving mechanisms of carriage. The apron is fastened to the saddle with feed mechanisms that provide automatic feed to the carriage.  The apron hand wheel can be rotated to move the carriage by hand along with the bed of the lathe.


The tailstock is a casting on the right side of the bed that supports the loose end of the workpiece or a job while machining. It can slide on the bed guideways tracks and be clamped in any position.

The tailstock has the following purposes:

  1. To support the loose ends of long jobs for carrying out lathe operations.
  2. To hold the cutting tools such as drill chucks, drills, reamers, etc.
  3. Turning of outer taper by an offsetting method.


It’s a tool that’s crucial to the operation of your machine. It is used to grip and rotate the workpiece. he smallest piece of workpiece can be hold in a chuck. 


The faceplate is fixed to the lathe spindle and can be job mounted to perform the turning operation.


Center is a part of lathe machine which is used to support long jobs in between headstock and tailstock to carry out a lathe operation. A center that fits into the headstock spindle and rotates with the workpiece is called a live center. The center which is used in the tailstock spindle and which does not rotate is called the dead center.

Feed Shaft

It is made from good quality alloy steel.  It spans the entire length of the bed and is fitted under the lead screw. It has a “keyway” from which motions can be given to the carriage for the feed mechanism.  When the power feed is attached, it provides cross movement to the tool.

Lead Screw

It is used for thread cutting.  Lead screw is situated at the bottom side of the bed which is used to move the carriage automatically during thread cutting. It is made from good quality alloy and is made of acme threads.  


Legs are used to carry all the loads of the machine. They are bolted on the floor which prevents vibration.

Chips Pan 

The chips pan is placed lower side of the bed. The main function of it is to carry all chips removed by the workpiece.

Hand Wheel

This is the wheel that is operated by hand to move a cross slide, carriage, tailstock, and other parts that contain a hand wheel.

Speed Controller 

The speed controller is located on the headstock which controls the speed of the spindle.

Bull Gear 

It is made from cast iron.  It is used for slow and fast speeds by means of a bull gear back pin and is fixed by a ‘key’ on the hollow spindle.


Sleeve fits inside tailstock which can be moved back and forth to fit or remove dead center.

Specification of Lathe 

The size of the lathe is specified according to:

  1. Height of the centers.
  2. Swing 
  3. Center distance
  4. Length of bed 
  5. Maximum diameter of the bar
  6. Swing on carriage

FAQ Related for Parts of Lathe Machine

What is the function of the lead screw?

The lead screw is used to move the carriage automatically while thread cutting.

Which part of the lathe machine has provided a power mechanism?

The feed rod is the component that provided the power mechanism.

Which component of the lathe machine is made up of the following: saddle, cross slide, compound rest, compound slide, tool post, and apron?

The Carriage is a component in the Lathe Machine that includes the Saddle, Cross Slide, Compound Rest ,Compound Slide, Tool Post and Apron.

What is the function of compound rest in a lathe machine?

The main function is that a certain depth of cut can be provided by rotating the feed screw of the compound rest. 

In a lathe machine, what is the purpose of the cross slide?

The major role of the cross slide is to cut an angle or taper that cannot be done by rotating the headstock.

What is the name of the saddle on a lathe?

The saddle is the part of the lathe that has h shaped cast iron on its bed ways.

What is the purpose of a lathe saddle?

Its primary function is to support the cross slide, which provides a tool post.

What is the purpose of an apron on a lathe machine?

An apron is secured to the saddle with feed mechanisms that supply automated feed to the carriage.

Chief Editor @AccureteToolsOnline (or, in plain English, I’m the guy responsible for ensuring that every blog post we publish is helpful for our readers.

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