Lathe Mandrel

Sometimes it is necessary to machine the outer surfaces of cylindrical works accurately in relation to a hole concentric that has been previously bored in the centre of the work. In such cases the work is mounted on a device known as a mandrel.

Lathe mandrels are devices used to hold the job for machining on lathes. They are mainly used for machining outside diameters with reference to bores which have been duly finished by either reaming or boring on a lathe.


Constructional features of a solid mandrel

The standard solid mandrel is generally made of tool steel which has been hardened and ground to a specific size and is ground with a taper of 1:2000.

Solid Mandrel
Solid Mandrel

It is pressed or driven into a bored or reamed hole in a workpiece so that it can be mounted on a lathe. The ends of the mandrel are machined smaller than the body and and are provided with a flat for the clamping screw of the lathe carrier. This preserves accuracy and prevents damage to the mandrel when the lathe carrier is clamped on.

The centres made in these mandrels are ‘B’ type i.e. protected centres. In such centres the working portion is deep and does not get damaged while handling.

Types of mandrels

  • Expansion mandrel
  • Gang mandrel
  • Stepped mandrel
  • Screw or threaded mandrel
  • Taper shank mandrel
  • Cone mandrel

1. Expansion mandrel

The two most common types of expansion mandrels are:

  • split bushing mandrel
  • adjustable strip mandrel.
Expansion Mandrel
Expansion Mandrel

Split bushing mandrel

A split bushing mandrel consists of a solid tapered mandrel, and a split bushing, which expands when forced on to the mandrel. The range of application of each solid mandrel is greatly increased by fitting any number of different sized bushings. As a result only a few mandrels are required.

Adjustable strip mandrel

The adjustable strip mandrel consists of a cylindrical body with four tapered grooves cut along its length, and a sleeve, which is slotted to correspond with the tapered grooves. Four strips are fitted in the slots.

When the body is driven in,the strips are forced out by the tapering grooves and expanded radially. Sets of different sized strips greatly increase the range of each mandrel. This type of mandrel is not suitable for thin walled work, since the force applied by the strips may distort the workpiece.

2. Gang mandrel

A gang mandrel consists of a parallel body with a flange at one end and a threaded portion at the other end. The internal diameters of workpieces are larger than the mandrel body diameters by not more than 0.025 mm. A number of pieces can be mounted and held securely when the nut is tightened against the ‘U’ washer. The nut should not be over-tightened, otherwise inaccuracies will result.

Gang Mandrel
Gang Mandrel

A gang mandrel is especially useful when machining operations have to be performed on a number of thin pieces which might easily be distorted, if held by any other method.

3. Stepped Mandrel

The stepped mandrel is manufactured in order to reduce the number of mandrels. It differs from the plain mandrel in the fact that a number of steps are provided on it. Its use saves time in holding various bored works.

4. Screw or threaded mandrel

A threaded mandrel is used when it is necessary to hold and machine workpieces having a threaded hole.

Screw Mandrel
Screw Mandrel

This mandrel has a threaded portion which corresponds to the internal thread of the work to be machined. An undercut at the shoulders ensures the work to fit snugly (tightly) against the flat shoulder.

5. Taper shank mandrel

Taper shank mandrels are not used between lathe centres. They are fitted to the internal taper of the headstock spindle. The extending portion can be machined to suit the workpiece to be turned. Taper shank mandrels are generally used to hold small workpieces.

Two common types of taper shank mandrels are:

  • expansion stud mandrel
  • threaded stud mandrel.
Taper Shank Mandrel
Taper Shank Mandrel

Expansion stud mandrel

The expansion stud mandrel is slotted and has an internal thread. When a tapered screw is tightened, the outside diameter of the stud expands against the inside of the workpiece. This type of mandrel is useful when machining a number of similar parts whose internal diameters vary slightly.

Threaded stud mandrel

The threaded stud mandrel has a projecting portion which is threaded to suit the internal thread of the work to be machined. This type of mandrel is useful for holding workpieces which have blind holes.

6. Cone Mandrel

A cone mandrel is a solid mandrel. It has a portion taper turned with a steep taper and integral with the body. One end of the mandrel is threaded. A loose cone slides over the plain turned portion of the body of the mandrel. It has the same steep taper as that of the tapered integral part. A job of large bore, can be held between these two tapers and tightly secured by means of nut, washer and spacing collars.

Cone Mandrel
Cone Mandrel
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