Woodlawn, Ohio
10530 Chester Rd
Cincinnati, OH 45215

A Brief Introduction to Engine Lathes August 19, 2019

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A Brief Introduction to Engine Lathes, Woodlawn, Ohio

With specialized equipment and expertise, precision machine shops can create almost any object imaginable out of raw metal. One of the most common tools is the engine lathe, also known as a center lathe, which is used to fabricate cylindrical objects, drill holes, and square-off rounded edges. Due to their wide-ranging capabilities, engine lathes are the workhorses of machine shops across the world.

What Is an Engine Lathe?

Engine lathes shape metal by applying a cutting tool to raw stock, which is rotated at high speeds. In early versions, a worker would hold the cutting tool against the stock to achieve the desired shape, but modern, computerized lathes operate the cutting tools, leading to much more precise, consistent results.

machine shopToday’s engine lathes feature a gearbox similar to an automotive transmission, which allows craftsmen to control the speed of the rotating spindle. A broad selection of cutting tools gives engine lathes the ability to create an assortment of replacement parts, specialty components, and products.

Applications of Engine Lathes

With the right cutting tools, an engine lathe can accommodate any hard material that will fit into the machine. Metals such as steel, iron, aluminum, and even titanium can be shaped on a lathe. Many machine shops also use lathes to fabricate objects out of wood, plastic, wax, and resin, depending on the needs of the project.

While lathes are most often used to create perfectly round parts, such as pistons and rods, they can also fabricate complex shapes such as camshafts and gears. Many machine shops use these lathes to manufacture everything from furnace nozzles to decorative architectural elements.


As one of the Greater Cincinnati Area’s most established and trusted machine shops, R. A. Heller Co. has been serving businesses throughout the region since 1946. With their collection of advanced machine tools and a team of highly trained technicians, you can rely on them to fabricate almost any object or part to your exact specifications. Visit their website for more on their precision fabrication services, follow their Twitter for more tips and insight, or call (513) 771-6100 to discuss your project and request with a member of their team.

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