A mandrel, mandrel, or arbor is a gently tapered cylinder against which material can be forged or shaped (e.g., a ring mandrel – also called a triblet – used by jewelers to increase the diameter of a wedding ring), or a flanged or tapered or threaded bar that grips a workpiece to be machined in a lathe. A flanged mandrel is a parallel bar of a specific diameter with an integral flange towards one end, and threaded at the opposite end. Work is gripped between the flange and a nut on the thread. A tapered mandrel (often called a plain mandrel) has a taper of approximately 0.005 inches per foot and is designed to hold work by being driven into an accurate hole on the work, gripping the work by friction. A threaded mandrel may have a male or female thread, and work which has an identical thread is screwed onto the mandrel.
On a lathe, mandrels are commonly mounted between centres and driven by a lathe dog (typically the flanged or tapered mandrels), but may also be gripped in a chuck (typically the threaded mandrels, where the outer face of work is to be machined. Threaded mandrels may also be mounted between centres.
In addition to lathes, arbors are used to hold buffing wheels, circular saws, and sanding discs. Typically, these mandrels consist of a cylinder that is threaded on one end. There are many different types of mandrels for specialized applications. Examples include live chuck mandrels, live bull ring mandrels, and dead bull ring mandrels.