A lathe machine is comprised of a bed, a headstock assembly, a tailstock assembly, ways, a cross slide and a carriage. Each large component includes smaller components to assist in the function of the lathe.
The bed of the lathe machine provides the frame to which the components attach. The ways, both inner and outer guide rails, are precisely machined for lathe accuracy. The carriage, which moves along the outer rail, provides support for the tool post, where cutting bits are mounted. The carriage is also home to the apron, which has the controls for moving the carriage and the cross slide. The cross slide along the inner rail allows the user to feed tools into the piece as it is worked. The cross slide's compound rest moves around the tool post of the carriage when cutting. The headstock of the lathe machine houses the gearbox and provides support for rotating the work. On the opposite side, the tailstock is adjustable to support the length of any piece as it is worked. A lathe machine is usually made of cast iron, and it also includes chucks, clamps and rests to support pieces during cutting. All of these parts of a lathe work together to support pieces of varying lengths and sizes.