Metal Lathe

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General Info

Harrison L6 Mk1, 3ph supply has now been fitted (not pictured)

The Hackspace has a Harrison L6 Mk1 metalworking lathe. Metalworking lathes are dangerous machines and you should not attempt to use it without an induction. Details on the induction process are TBC.

Level 1 training

This entire section was lifted from

Level 1 training consists of a single course which is designed to take a complete beginner through all the essential skills needed to produce basic but functional parts on a lathe. It will also act as a good refresher/ competency test for those who already have experience from elsewhere. Members must start by watching the recommended videos listed below, to learn as much of the theory in advance – although no substitute for practical experience, machining is a skill where a firm grasp of both is essential and there will not be time to cover both in the induction session. We will start the training session by re-capping the theory and going over the key safety concerns before we move onto taking our first cuts with an external turning tool, facing and turning. We will then introduce the tailstock and explain its role in supporting long workpieces and use it to drill a hole. Finally, we will demonstrate how to measure the work and use the DRO to work to dimensions. The course will end with a semi-supervised test part which you will make, putting the skills you have learned into practice. Note that level 1 only considers use of a 3-jaw chuck, level 2 training is required for other work holding methods.

Beginner users should watch the following training videos before booking a session:

(Lathe Theory)

(Tool Bits)


(Tail Support)



(Turning to a Shoulder)


(Surface Finish)

(Choosing Materials)

(Feeds and Speeds)

(Additional Video on Surface Finish)

Note - most of the videos above are from the Blondihacks 'lathe skills' video series. This whole series is filled with useful content and we would fully recommend watching the rest, although this is not compulsary for a level 1 training session.

One of London hackspaces lathe trainers has provided notes here: File:Toby's Lathe Training Notes r03.pdf. Other trainers will do something similar, but might not follow this exact plan


There is a full paper manual and digital copy at the space.

Hackspace specific information

Activity to take place by the lathe.


Ensure all lose items including hair are tied back or stuck down with appropriate tape. Inspect this regularly as the main danger with lathe use is lose items being dragged into the lathe. It is advised that users wear safety glasses or one of the safety face shields provided or provide their own. New spares are in the social space cupboard, a donation is appreciated. Gloves should not be worn.


See above notes.

An induction is required for use of this machine and the videos listed above should be watched prior to requesting an induction.

  • Ensuring the area is clear and tidy
  • Method of working - including (and to put no finer point on it, do NOT leave the chuck key in the chuck)
  • Safe use of tool - Demonstrate safe operation (on/off) of machinery, use of safety features including those which have been added, wearing appropriate PPE.
  • Importance of non lone working
  • Basic use of lathe and DRO
  • use of accessories
  • use of cutting fluids and the ventilation system
  • use of toolpost and bringing your own cutting pieces.
  • cleanup

Prior to commencement of lathe work

Ensure the area is free of obstructions (slips trips and falls) and is clean, tidy and does not have loose objects in and around the lathe working area. Ensure the machine is clear of swarf and use gloves when removing swarf only. Ensure the machine is off during this operation. Remove gloves prior to operation.

Completion of lathe work

Cleanup work area and return all tools/accessories prior to completion of session.

Maintenance of this page

If you wish to maintain this page, contact the trustees