In machine tools, a spindle is a rotating axis that typically has a shaft at its center. On the shop floor, the word “spindle” is widely used as a metonym to refer to the entire spinning unit, including the shaft itself, its bearings, and anything connected to it. The word “spindle” refers to the shaft itself.
A machine tool may have numerous spindles, two examples of which are the headstock and tailstock spindles on a bench lathe. The primary spindle is often the largest spindle. The primary spindle is presumed when the spindle is described without further explanation. Some equipment made for mass production in big volumes has a group of four, six, or even more primary spindles. Multispindles are the name given to these machines. For instance, gang drills and various screw machines are examples of multispindle machines. A bench lathe, despite having several spindles, only has one main spindle and is not regarded as a multispindle machine.
The spindle is the major part of a lathe’s headstock. In rotating-cutter woodworking machinery, the spindle is the part to which shaped milling cutters are attached for cutting features into moldings and related millwork. In rotating-cutter metalworking machine tools, the spindle is a shaft to which the tool is mounted. There are numerous types of spindles, including electric spindles, machine tool spindles, low-speed spindles, high-speed spindles, and more.
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