Lathe Operations Wiki

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Hack Manhattan Has a Lathe!!

Enco 9x20" Engine Lathe with inch and metric threading

Note: Although the lathe has been re-assembled and run, it's not quite open-seasons for general usage yet. What the procedure will be for checkouts, training, etc has still to be decided.

The lathe is not a workbench, vise, or shelf

The linear bearing surface of the ways is actually quite fragile and easily damaged by denting or abrasion.

Do not set metal objects on the ways

Do not use the chuck as a vise for sawing or hammering

Cover the ways when sanding/filing/grinding on the lathe

Motor Starting Checklist

No loose hair, clothing, jewelry (DO NOT FEED THE LATHE)

Belts set for an appropriate speed for workpiece/fixturing

Check power feed and threading half nuts disengaged (carriage moves freely with handwheel)

Work securely chucked without excessive overhang on either side of headstock


Rotate chuck through by hand and check for binding


Shutdown Checklist

Belt tensioner lever disengaged

Clean up chips with paintbrush/vacum


If you are not going to be threading or using the power feed, drop the gear shift lever down to disengage the leadscrew

If you hear a lot of gear noise, check the meshing of the idler gears under the headstock gear cover with the small spur gear driving the gearbox. This can slip to the point where the teeth of the idler gear rub on the bushing.

Whenever using power feed or threading feed, keep a hand on the appropriate disengage lever, and full concentration on the work. Thinks happen quickly!

Two pins are used to unscrew the chuck. Place something between it and the ways so it doesn't drop off the spindle nose, or be prepared to catch it. If you plan to run in reverse there is a clamp that can be mounted on the back of the chuck to prevent unscrewing.

While there is a power carriage feed, it may be too coarse for good results. Using both hands in turn on the rim of the carriage wheel may aid in producing a constant rate feed and a quality finish.


Small 3 jaw self centering chuck

Large 4 jaw chuck (must use dial indicator to adjust to center)

Collect chuck with ER collets, range up to 5/8"

Micromark quick change toolpost with 3 holders for 1/4"-3/8" ?? bits/tools

Armstrong cutoff holder without blade or an armstrong post to mount it in

OEM toolpost with brazed carbide boring bar

Small carbide insert holder (5/16" shank?) with insert (type??)

Lathe milling attachment

Import drill chuck for tailstock (keyed jacobs style)

Steady and Follow rests

Note: at present we do not really have any normal HSS cutting bits or a way to grind them


Manual for Enco 9x20 lathe (PDF)

Introduction to 9x20 lathe operations (PDF)

Grinding cutting tools from HSS (high speed steel) blanks