Little Machine Shop Lathe

This machine is working fine. Managers, click here for the maintenance log.

Table of Contents

  1. About this Machine
    1. Useful Links
    2. Machine Safety
    3. How to Get Help
    4. Control Panel
    5. Machine Controls
  2. Using this Machine
    1. Setup
    2. Operation
    3. Shutdown
    4. Cleanup
  3. Tips and Tricks
    1. How to Make Tea with this Machine

About this Machine

The lathe is good for making round parts, composed of concentric cylinders and cones. When used with care, you can hold tolerances around 0.001 inches, but you should expect tolerances around 0.007”. It can be used to cut nearly any material that doesn’t create dust. (So, no wood!) The 3-jaw chuck can accommodate pieces up to ?? in diameter.

Machine Safety

Read the manual and this SOP completely before operating the lathe. Remember that you are responsible for your own safety and the safety of those near you when operating the lathe.

How to Get Help

Include a list of which documents, websites, people, or mailing lists should be consulted in case of problems.

Control Panel

lathe motor controls

label function
1 power switch
2 emergency stop (twist to reset)
3 start spindle (remembers last setting)
4 adjust spindle speed
5 present spindle speed (rpm)
6 spindle direction
7 stop spindle
8 disengage spindle (DO NOT USE!)
9 fuse
10 power indicator

Machine Controls

labels of the mechanical controls for the lathe

label function
1 chuck adjustment
2 tool post lock
3 cross-slide angle locking screws (2x)
4 cross-slide wheel
5 X-axis wheel
6 Z-axis wheel
7 half nut lever* (left = disengaged)
8 power feed lever* (middle = disengaged)
9 tail-stock wheel (moves tail stock tool)
10 tail-stock lock
11 tail-stock tool lock

* The half nut lever and power feed lever must be disengaged unless you really need them and really know how to use them! You must check with a manager to make sure you’re using them correctly. They must not be used at the same time, otherwise you could break the machine.

Using this Machine

When you are moving the carriage hand wheel (large black wheel on front of the lathe) can move the tool by 0.02 inches on the either toward or away from the headstock. Use this hand wheel to position the carriage prior to starting and pull it towards you to disengage it when you’re about to start.

The cross slide feed handle(silver colored right above the carriage hand wheel) moves the cross slide in and out to make your cuts. It makes movements of 0.001 inches

Compound rest feed handle is used to move the tool toward or away from your workpiece in 0.001 inch increments on the markings


Confirm that the following conditions are met.

lathe motor controls

Make sure that your stock piece is secured in the chuck

If your workpiece extends over 6 inches past the chuck you should secure it with the tail-stock to help stabilize the work piece The black lever on the tail-stock locks into place lift it up to lock and push it down to adjust its position.

To power up the lathe:

  1. Turn the E-stop button to the right to ensure that it is in the on position.
  2. Press the top half of the power switch.
  3. Use the speed control buttons to adjust the spindle speed.


Show how to actually do the thing.


Explain how to safely shut down the machine.

  1. Press the red Stop button. To stop the lath in normal use.
  2. Press the red E-stop button. To stop the lath in case of an emergency


Tips and Tricks

List some sections describing advanced techniques.

How to Make Tea with this Machine