Projects for a Metal Lathe

Written by daniel westlake
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Projects for a Metal Lathe
Metal lathes often are used in high school shop classes. (lathe 2 image by chrisharvey from

Metal lathes are tools that are used for pressing or twisting especially hard metals into shapes that can be used to make machinery or working designs. For those who haven't used a metal lathe in years or novices, there are a few simple projects that can be done to help get you up to speed again with metal lathes.


A metal lathe can be used to press or form different pieces of metal into shapes that could be engraved as labels for items at home, in a shop or a museum display. A metal lathe not only will help flatten small, thin pieces of metal but also cut the edges into shapes. These labels could be attached with small screws or glue.

Ball-Peen Hammer

Ball-peen hammers are small, weighted hammers made out of steel. The hammer's head also has a distinctive shape on each end. Metal lathes are perfect for beginners to learn how to grind the head's shape out of a large piece of metal using a tool blank. The end of the hammer where the claw usually appears is rounded instead, while the other end is round and flat for hammering.

Aluminium Shaft with Captive Ring

Crafting an aluminium shaft with a captive ring is a cool project that really serves little purpose beyond being a fun thing to have or hold on your desk or in your workshop. The ring can slide from a top metal knob down to a bottom metal handle, but it cannot be removed. This is done by making the ring and cutting all the parts out of a large piece of aluminium. Through this project, beginners can explore all benefits of the machine, from grinding to forming hard metals into shapes that are needed.

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