lathe (lāħ) [key], machine tool for holding and turning metal, wood, plastic, or other material against a cutting tool to form a cylindrical product or part. It also drills, bores, polishes, grinds, makes threads, and performs other operations. Its principal parts are the headstock (attached to the bed or base of the machine), which holds one end of the material in a rotating spur; the tailstock, which holds the other end, moves along the bed, and can be clamped in position at any point; the cutting tool; and the power feed, comprising the drive and its motive parts.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
More on lathe from Fact Monster:
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Technology: Terms and Concepts