Chris' Tips The photo shows how to use a lathe dog and drive pin with the mini lathe. Lathe dogs are the perfect solution for turning between centers. (That's where you mount a dead center in the headstock and another center -- usually a live center -- in the tailstock. You then mount the workpiece, which has a small divot machined into each end, between the centers.) To drive the workpiece, you place a lathe dog on it; the lathe dog is pushed around by a driver pin screwed in to a faceplate or the spindle, as shown above.
Sounds complicated, right? So why turn between centers instead of just chucking your workpiece?
It's very concentric, accurate (less runout than a chuck), and repeatable. That means you can remove your workpiece, measure it, test it, even flip it end for end -- and then put it right back on center.
Because of this accuracy, it's easier to blend cuts that you make from both ends.
It's easier for long or irregular workpieces that don't easily fit in a chuck.
By offsetting the tailstock, you can accurately turn tapers.