Lesson Plan Industry Sector
Manufacturing & Product Development

Lesson Plan Originally Created By: Lance Gunnersen


Part of Unit: Basic Lathe Operations

Lesson Plan Overview / Details

Students will explore and familiarize themselves with the lathe.

Lesson Time

20 Minutes
Lab Time
35 Minutes

Objectives and Goals

  • The student will prepare for level one NIMS certification.
  • The student will be able to safely set up the metal lathe in a shopsetting.
  • The student will recognize and identify each of thetools components and controls.
  • The student will understandthe lathe control functions and use.

Activities in this Lesson

  • As the students enter the room they will get their notebooks.  They will see a picture of a post in the ground drawn on the board.
    The following questions are on the board:
        1.  Name two ways you can place this post squarely(perpendicular) in the ground.
        2.  What tool could you use to do this?

    After roll, there will be a short discussion about the post problem.  Students are asked to share their findings.
    The many answers are written on the board under the post picture. After the discussion the teacher will then explain the use of measurement, levels and the plum bob.
    The teacher steers the discussion to the advantages of the plum bob and how simple it is to use for such a complicated problem.
    The teacher shows the class a plum bob that was made in their shop on a machine lathe.

  • How a plum bob works. Demo / Modeling

    The teacher explains that the plumb bob is an old-fashioned tool that is still in wide use today because of its accuracy. A simple brass or metal bulb with a point on the end uses gravity to help builders determine exact vertical alignment. Whenever you need to straighten a doorway, wall or other tall vertical structure that is longer than a conventional level, try a plumb bob. It's easy and inexpensive.

    The teacher then shows the how the plum bob works by attaching it to the classroom door.  After it is attached to the top frame,  one inch from the jam, the plum bob is now dropped to hang from a string. Students are asked if they think it looks square and level.   A student is asked to measure the string down by the plum bob to see if the door frame is level. The distance should be one inch. 

    Extra Information:
    Use the plumb bob outside only when the wind is not blowing. Even a slight breeze will cause it to move, throwing off the alignment. Choose a heavier plumb bob for outside use even in windless conditions to help alleviate this factor.

  • Learning the basic parts of the lathe.
    Place students in small teams and have them use the Modern Metalworking text, page 336, figure 24-4, as a guide to name each lathe part.
    1. Take the text to the lathe and find each part as shown in the book.
    2. Identify the controls that are used to start and stop the spindle. Use the carriage hand wheel to move the carriage along the ways. Use the cross slide hand wheel to move the cross slide back and forth across the ways. Do not start the machine at this time!
    3. Look at the machine speed controls. Figure out how to change the speed of chuck for different machining operations. Each lathe uses a different system to change speeds, you must learn the code to obtain a specific speed on each type of machine.
    4. Look at the lines and numbers on the cross slide hand wheel. Line up the 0 line with the pointer on the hand wheel and practice moving the cross slide .005, .010, .020 and so on. Relate these decimal numbers to the diameter size of a part and the amount of material that is to be removed by the lathe cutting tool.

  • The teacher brings the class around the lathe at the end of class, during clean up. Before the class can leave for the day they must name five parts of the lathe when the teacher points or places his hand on that part.

    Teacher lets them know the class is now ready to start making parts on the lathe.


Assessment Types:
Demonstrations, Observations,

Walking around the room I interview each student team about the various lathe controls and parts.

This serves as a one on one check-in with each student before moving on to student operation of the lathe.  Student must show the instructor that they know what each part and control is on the lathe.


  • Getting_Started_on_the_Lathe.DOC Getting_Started_on_the_Lathe.DOC [ Download ]
  • Plum_Bob_Drawing.doc Plum_Bob_Drawing.doc [ Download ]