Facing, Turning, Drilling and Tapping

Facing, Turning, Drilling and Tapping
September 7, 2018 Prime Engineering

Do you have a large metal component of an even larger machine that requires precision machining work? Perhaps the dimensions aren’t quite right and need to be altered, or it’s due for refurbishment to get it back into prime working order. Sounds like you could use the assistance of a heavy duty lathe, and an experienced team of mechanical engineers to operate it.

Facing, turning, drilling and tapping are just a few of the services that can be carried out on a metal lathe in the workshop. Lathes are predominantly used for the precision machining of cylindrical parts such as motor rotor shafts, pipes and calibration blocks. In this article, we take a closer look at the kind of alterations that can be made to metal components on a lathe, particularly when it comes to large part machining.


Facing a metal workpiece on a lathe involves the cutting tool removing parts of the surface from the end or the shoulder of the workpiece. The metal workpiece is rotated against a single point tool, which smooths the surface so that it’s clean and finished. Large parts are often precision machined using the facing method to cut them down to the desired length. A CNC lathe can achieve this with an incredibly accurate result so that the component fits seamlessly into place in the larger machine.

Facing on a lathe, turning on a lathe, drilling on a lathe, tapping on a lathe.


When turning a workpiece on a lathe, the cutting tool removes metal from the surface, down its length. The workpiece is rotated while the cutting tool moves in a linear motion to create different diameters. Turning is an ideal method to create custom shafts and fasteners. Turning can also add features such as diameter steps, grooves, tapers and contoured surfaces to your metal component.


Most people will be familiar with drilling, which is one of the basic services that can be carried out on a lathe. It involves drilling a hole into a solid piece of metal. A heavy duty lathe needs to be used for large precision machining when it comes to drilling, as the process requires a lot of force. Drilling the hole is just the first step in the precision machining process of making a cavity in a metal component. It’s often followed by more refined methods such as boring, reaming or tapping to create an accurate finished hole.

Facing on a lathe, turning on a lathe, drilling on a lathe, tapping on a lathe.


To make a hole in which a bolt can be screwed, the hole needs to be threaded, which can be achieved through tapping on a lathe. The tap enters the existing hole to make the desired threaded pattern. The lathe can also be used to cut external threads on nuts. Specialist equipment may be needed for large part machining of this kind, as a bigger tap will be required for internal threading.

Do you need large parts precision machined using these processes on a lathe? Prime Engineering specialises in the precision machining of large metal components. Our workshop houses lathes, horizontal line borers and milling machines equipped for large part machining. Contact us today to find out more!