Tailstocks and Bench Centers Information

Tailstocks are used on lathes and other machine tools to support one end of the workpiece through contact with a live or dead center. Benchcenters are table top mounted units used to support a workpiece between two tailstocks during inspection. A tail stock is a cast iron assembly that can slide along and be locked in place, and is used to hold long work in place or to mount a drill chuck for drilling into the end of the work. There are two types of tailstocks: manual and pneumatic. Manual tailstocks require workmen to apply pressure. Pneumatic tailstocks are driven by machines. If tail stocks are used, a dead center (which is non-rotating) may be used to support the workpiece, alternatively, a live center may also be used. Lathes with cylindrical tailstocks that can rotate around a vertical axis are turret lathes. All lathes have a bench centers, which is a horizontal beam.


All tailstocks are morse taper #3. Bench centers are precision ground tapered cylinders with a 60º pointed tip and a morse taper shaft. A tail stock handwheel is a wheel with a handle and is used to move the tail stock ram in and out of the tail stock casting. Tail stock ram is a piston-type shaft that can be moved in and out of the tail stock by turning the tail stock handwheel. It has a tapered internal bore to accept a #2 morse taper shank. A lathe may or may not have a stand (or legs), which sits on the floor and elevates the bench center to a working height. Some lathes are small and sit directly on a workbench or table, and do not have a stand. A bench center is an important lathe component and is available in various sizes according to the work piece requirements. An inspection accessory is necessary for various machine-works to check the efficiency of the work piece. Aligning tailstock includes mounting a small center drill in the tail stock, turning the bar between centers and measuring the diameter of bar, and putting a straight bar between centers. Bench centers are generally used for long work pieces. Tailstocks must be aligned with the spindle within .0005 before beginning drilling operations.


Tailstocks and bench centers are used in many applications in lathes. Drilling, reaming, center drilling, and countersinking are performed on the lathe using tailstocks and bench centers. Tailstocks and bench centers should adhere to various standards specified by International Standards Organization (ISO).

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