A Rose Engine is a type of ornamental lathe. The workpiece is mounted on a spindle, as on a regular lathe. The spindle housing is designed to rock side to side while the workpiece is slowly revolving.
The ultimate motion of the spindle and workpiece is controlled by one or more disks, known as rosettes, (hence, "rose" engine) which are mounted on the back end of the spindle. These rosettes have a series of "bumps" or "lobes" around the edge, usually in a regular pattern. A "rubber" or "cam follower" is held against the revolving rosette under tension, forcing the spindle housing to move side to side in a path corresponding to the bumps.
The actual cutting is done using any of various high-speed cutting tools, such as a Dremel™. The cutting tool is secured to a holder and mounted on an X-Y table, allowing it to be located and moved in a precise, controlled path relative to the face or side of the work.
If you are interested in learning more about Rose Engines and Ornamental Turning, a good place to start is at the Ornamental Turners International website. The particular machine I own is an MDF Rose Engine, built for me by a friend from a design and kit offered by Jon Magill. The forum on the OTI site has a very informative section about the MDF Rose Engines.
Note: The pieces shown in this section are also listed under their respective categories.