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  1. #41
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    In conversation with a friend he assured me that the origin of "Engine Lathe" was a lathe whose capacity was such that it was able to make any part of an engine.
    I suppose crankshaft machining would be a challenge. I know they are mounted on different centres for machining the journals.

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    The "Engine Lathe" got its name from the development of the steam engine. This lathe was originally developed to machine engine blocks, it played a great role in the historical developement of the steam engine. It was not called "Engine Lathe" before the steam engine was developed, only after and still till this day.

    Joel R.
    Mechanical Eng.

  3. #43
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    I think the meaning of the word 'engine' has changed a little, and it is causing confusion.

    In present times, an engine is thought of as a provider of motive force; a steam engine, or a V-8 Ford engine. It is a term synonomous with motor. But that hasn't been the case back through history because the word engine was used to describe all sorts of devices, more with the connotation of machine that we use today.

    I believe you will find that Babbage's calculating machine was called an engine, and it didn't in any sense supply motive power to anything.

    By this criteria, a machine tool could just as accurately be called an engine tool, and an engine lathe could be called a machine lathe.

    I would say John Oder had it right in the first post; the term engine lathe is used to describe a lathe with slide and power feed, as opposed to a simple lathe without either. It had become an engine, or that is, a machine by its own virtues, and has nothing to do with what it is used to make or by what powered it.

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    originally,lathes were run on steam ,then gas engines
    because electrical power was either nonexistant or in short supply,the name engine lathe stuck.

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    ROGERS MACHINIST GUIDE ON MACHINE SHOP PRACTICE COPYRIGHT 1913 , definition ENGINE-LATHE " is a term that varies in it's application, being used by some to denote that the lathe is engine-driven, that is, by power, as it's prime mover, and they call all other lathes foot lathes; others apply the term engine-lathe to lathes in which the tool or cutter motion is actuated by power in it's traverse, and term hand-lathes all lathes which have the feed motion actuated by hand; others again only apply the term engine-lathe to lathes in which the tool motion is actuated by power both in it's traverse and cross feeds." J.C.

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    I believe art_deco_machine is closest to the correct answer, in the 17th to 19th centuries any kind of mechanism that had many moving parts was referred to as an engine.
    It made no difference how large or small or whether it was hand powered or not.
    Many Horological (clock making) tools are referred to as an engine, such as a wheel cutting engine.

    T

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    anything that 'does' something would be engine even with the lack of moving parts... hence 'search engine'.

    or so it would seem...

    www.ncsprobing.com

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    HI
    Im from England but spent a good few years in Boston MA. Before moving to the US i must say I hadnt really heard the term "Engine lathe" center/centre lathe yes and infact that was what the machine was called during my training by the guys in the factory.Along with capstan lathe and screw cutting these really were the names used (capstan being a different animal all together). The other one that threw me was the use of the term "gearhead lathe" first really came across this term in a Wholesale tools catalog.
    This said i know notice in some of the model mags that the people selling the Chinese lathes (same as a lot sold in the US) are using the term "gearhead" much more and also in one case "Engine lathe).

    Maybe like all language it simply evolved from common use and had no real reason for coming into being.

    Who knows.

    Cheers Kevin

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    If I recall correctly,many early machines,including things like cider presses,were called "ingenios" in the 17th. C.,because they were ingenious to the people at that time. Not a big leap to "engine". Not saying this is the meaning of engine lathe,which is to me a screwcutting lathe capable of doing a large variety of work.

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    Engine lathe, a turning lathe in which the cutting tool has an automatic feed; -- used chiefly for turning and boring metals, cutting screws, etc. Picked this up from a machinists definitions website. Cant remember the name of it , but ill get back with that.

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    I had a look through some of my books to find the oldest references to ‘engine lathe’. I think if someone did enough research, the origins of ‘engine lathe’ could be discovered. In more recent years we seem to have narrowed the meaning of the word “engine”. What is needed is some research to discover its meaning in older times. Unfortunately I don’t have enough old books to do this properly. Nothing definitive to report, but I did come across the word ‘engine” used in various other descriptions:

    “Early Engineering Reminiscences (1815-40) of George Escol Sellers” gives interesting first hand engineering experiences from Philadelphia, visits to England (e.g. visiting the Maudslay works, Donkin’s etc. Sellers met Mr Brunel (senior or junior?) at Maudslay’s, so got a tour of the workings of the then incomplete Thames Tunnel.

    While discussing Jacob Perkins and bank-note engraving, he discusses the ingenious geometrical lathe or rose engine of Asa Spencer. There is an illustration from the London Journal of Arts and Sciences (1820) with a quoted description: “Engine lathe for engraving oval or geometrical figures upon metal or other surfaces”. This lathe is quite specialised, it has a swinging headstock, oval chuck etc for geometrical work, certainly not intended for steam engine work.

    Sellers was also involved around this time with “fire engines”, that is pumps and hoses used for fire fighting.

    In “Henry Maudslay & the Pioneers of the Machine Age” there is an advertisement from the Manchester Guardian, (1821), placed by Richard Roberts – “Lathe, Screw, Screw-Engine, Screw Stock, &c., &c., Manufacturer. It doesn’t include the description “engine lathe”, but speaks of his new “Cutting Engines” at work making Bevil, Spur, or Worm Geer, of any size and pitch…, also his “Improved Screw Engine” making screws of all Sorts, Pitches, or sizes with the greatest accuracy.

    Also mentioned in this book is the “Difference Engine” of Charles Babbage, a mechanical computer.

    The “Short History of Technology” briefly describes Maudslay’s famous screw-cutting lathe of 1800, which “used a lead-screw, as in the fusee-engine, linked with the headstock through gear-wheels” etc.

    As to the idea that engine lathes were developed for building engines: this book reckons that clock and instrument making were the major influence on early machine tool improvement, in particular the need for precision. “The lathe, the oldest machine-tool, is of unknown antiquity, but it was not until about 1700 that it became really useful for accurate work”. Clockmakers developed the first precision lathes. In the 1700’s there was an urgent need for instruments for marine navigation, chronometers for timekeeping and surveying instruments for the great increase in engineering projects of the time (roads, canals etc).

    Jesse Ramsden, the English instrument maker, made the first satisfactory screw cutting lathe in 1770. At the same time there was a need for accurately graduated scales, therefore “dividing engines” were built, Ramsden again building the first dividing engine suitable for work on an industrial scale.

    Apart from the boring of engine cylinders (on machinery first developed for boring cannon barrels), steam engines were often built without machine tools for a century or more after their invention in 1712, in fact in the USA, it was not until around 1850 that machine tools came into common usage for building steam engines.

    According to the American historian of technology, Louis Hunter, the engine lathe…”is driven by mechanical power and for this reason early became called engine-lathes. The engine lathe is also automatic in operation.” That means it had a self-acting slide rest, as opposed to a hand lathe, which also could be power driven, yet not be an engine lathe. Hunter says “in the fully developed engine lathe with slide rest holder, commonly associated with the British Engineer Henry Maudslay..”

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    Talking "Engine Lathe"

    Means lathe run by an engine...Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by ramsay View Post
    Means lathe run by an engine...Mike
    Sorry, can't agree with that. A wood lathe or a metal spinning lathe is not generally called an engine lathe no matter what powers it. The exact point at which a lathe becomes an engine lathe seems open to variation, but from a practical standpoint of having a term that communicates something useful, it makes sense that an engine lathe is one in which the tool is powered or at least mechanized, rather than being run freehand.

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    My own 2cents is that - A lathe with slideways, at least one power feed/lead, and centers is an engine lathe, but only if manual

    One with a high precison leadscrew and gearing is a screw cutting lathe.

    A fully manual, large but not huge, screw cutting engine lathe with gap bed maybe and some high accuracy and other features is a toolroom lathe.

    It is worth noting that CNC machining centers break all definitions of tools that we have, they are both mills and lathes, and insanely complicated. I would dearly liek to see a diagram.....

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    Interesting stuff guys. As an Apprentice I was told it was an Engine Lathe. Never heard that said of a wood turning lathe, which of course lacks leadscrews, cross slide etc. Other times people here in Australia have called it a Centre Lathe. Threw me the first time I heard that but either ways matters little.

    CNC Lathes I guess you split into Slant Beds and Flat Beds. Although there are Vertical Lathes as well where the spindle faces up and the Z axis is straight up and down. Then there are the twin spindle machines with two spindles side by side as opposed to 2 spindle machines that are like two lathes facing each other and can pass work between the two spindles.

    Names are names it is all a mystery lost in time and likely was never known for certain even at the start.

    Stephen

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    Default Be NICE

    Quote Originally Posted by Milacron View Post
    Well I guess if "you were told" this, it must be the real deal huh ? Doesn't matter by whom... :rolleyes:
    LOL BE nice Milacron

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    Stu- did you buy the copy of Machinery's Encylopedia at the bookstore in Oakland in Pittsburgh? Cant remember the name of the store, but its the one off craig st. near 5th ave.
    I was just there at the beginning of August, and I bought quite a stack of books from them, but passed on that one, not because it was too expensive- 175 bucks for 7 volumes from 1917, but because it was just too much volume to fit in my bag on the airplane on the way back, especially as I already had about 25lbs of books.
    Kinda kick myself for not getting it, though.
    I know how you feel. I did get my cherished 1915 12 volume set on Ebay after quite a battle. My set covers everything from welding to toolmaking, an awesome set of books.
    I think the machinist/engineers of that era were quite remarkable.

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    Smile

    Adverts for engraved fountain pens are often described as * Engine turned *.

    Have they been turned on a lathe ?

    The early medallion lathe is sometimes referred to as a * Rose Engine *. No roses involved.

    The general acceptance over here is that the term engine, as has been mentioned, refers generally to a machine.

    Nobody yet (I think) has referred to a * hand lathe *

    Keep smiling..............

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    Default Engine-Ingenium-machina etc.

    The English word "Engine" and "Engineer" come from the Latin, "Ingenium" meaning " well thought out" or "reasoned". ( the German version is "Ingenieur"---one who practices his reason or ingenuity).

    The relationship to "machine" ( also Latin, Machina---as in the Theatrical term " Deus ex machina" ( something or someone which appears on stage from a "machine" or arrangements of Lifts, Pulleys, etc).


    "machina " also relates to the early grain Mills, which were "machines" with gears, axles, etc, and a source of Power ( whether Human, animal, Wind or Water.)

    SO the terms have come down to us by "usages"...Now the use of the Term "Engine" lathe, is clearly a reference to the "Power driven" as compared to "Hand or foot driven" or "animal driven"...Gun-barrel Boring Lathes for Cannon).

    The primitive Hand Lathe can be traced back to Egyptian times (Middle Kingdom) and were little more than a Bow-driven workpiece between two Points in a wooden frame ( similar to the system used in a lot of early watch and clockmaker's lathes.)

    Essentially, the "Engine lathe" was a reference to its power source, not to what it did. And the Term "
    Engine" was used in the 16th and 17th century, to indicate something "mechanical" rather than "Human " Powered..

    Even today we use the term "Search Engine" in computer-speak....maybe not truly "mechanical" but the digital processes on which it is based originated in "mechanical " computing Engines of the 1700s

    Nowadays it has become a quaint term for a Lathe...descriptive, and still useful. ( Powered, with some added features, such as a compound slide, gear wheels or change box, and a wide ability to do metal work.)

    Regards,
    Doc AV
    AV ballistics.

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    If you enjoyed reading that last post have a look on YouTube for "hot for words".
    Stephen


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