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3 Types of CNC Lathe Machines

Brief Background: Lathe Machine

Invented at around 1751 by Jacques de Vaucanson, the Lathe machine is a tool used even during the ancient times, dubbed as the “Standard Machine Tools’ Father/Mother” and is considered as the machine that is the most flexible, in terms of function, among all the other machines.

Purpose and Types: CNC Lathe Machine

The machine tool’s main purpose is to produce the desired size and shape a workpiece by removing excess metals through:

  • Drilling
  • Cutting
  • Sanding
  • Knurling

The Lathe machine is commonly used for Parts Reclamation, Metal Spinning, Wood Turning, Metalworking, and Thermal spraying. It is typically used for producing workpieces that have plane and/or cylindrical surfaces.

It is important to remember the parts of a CNC Lathe machine as the variety of machines existing are based on the parts (number and type) present. A CNC Lathe machine is mostly made up of:

  • Headstock
  • Tailstock
  • Machine Bed
  • Tool Turret
  • Main Spindle
  • Sub-spindle
  • Chuck
  • Guide Way

There are various types of Lathes that are utilised by manufacturing industries, it can be classified into three types based on their:

  1. Number of Axes (2,3,4, and 5 axis CNC Lathe)
  2. Work Requirements (Speed, Engine, Turret, and Tool)
  3. the Position of its Lathe Spindle (Horizontal and Vertical CNC Lathes

However, in this article, we will only be highlighting the three (3) primary types of CNC Lathe machines based on its Work Requirements:

Types of CNC Lathe machines

Speed Lathe
Also known as the “Wood Lathe”, this type of CNC Lathe machine is the most basic. It is recommended for any light machine work as it is composed of a Tool Post, Bed, Headstock, and Tailstock. Its spindle speed is high/fast but it only operates on up to three or four speeds.

Recommended for metal polishing, metal spinning, centering, and wood turning. It is also used for cutting, drilling, sanding, and deforming wood. The most common workpieces that CNC Wood Lathes produce are:

  • Stair Handrails
  • Furniture Legs
  • Wood Crafts
  • Wood Cups
  • Roman Columns
  • Baseball Bats
  • Barrels
  • Gourd Pendants
  • Beads
  • Buddha Head
  • Other workpieces that are cylindrical in shape

Engine Lathe
Also known as the, “Center Lathe ”, and the most common machine used by manufacturing industries. This machine can measure up to 60 ft and is versatile as it is great for both lower-powered and high-powered operations. It can measure up to 60ft. Depending on the drive source, this type CNC Lathe could be divided into three – Reduction Gear, Belt, and Motor Drive. In contrast to the Speed Lathe, the Engine Lathe is able to operate on a broader range of speed ratio.

This type of CNC Lathe works with various metals and shape it to its desired design. An example of its workpieces are vehicle engines. Its cutting tool can work both in lateral and longitudinal directions. It performs operations such as:

  • Knurling
  • End Face
  • Threading
  • Turning
  • Grooving

Turret Lathe Machine
Highly recommended for speedy, large, and high-volume operations. The machine has a hexagonal head, works well with materials made of metal, and perform operations such as –

  • End face
  • Reaming
  • Turning
  • Boring

The machine is also highly reputed for its interchangeable cutting tools, it removes the need for operators to replace tools in between operations. This machine utilizes a turret and performs a sequential process on the non-moving workpiece avoiding misaligned workpieces.

Another primary type of CNC Lathe machine is the Tool Room Lathes. With a small bed, around 135 to 180 CM, this type of lathe is Praised for its ability to provide enhanced finishing and is used for producing screw thread, boring, reaming, drilling, turning, and knurling.

The machine is packed with extra attachments for more accuracy and precision. Its attachments include: Collets, Turning Attachments, Chucks, and Driver support.

Depending on your purpose/work requirements, there are various CNC Lathe machines that are able to provide the needed operations to make your production successful and less hassle. Small or Large operations, materials made of wood or metal, or accuracy & precision — thanks to CNC Machines, these are attainable and guarantee success (plus, quality) but with less hassle and could mean high profit but less effort for your organization. Whatever you need, there is a type of CNC Lathe machine that will be perfect for your operation.

If you’re interested in purchasing a lathe machine, browse our extensive inventory of used vertical lathe machines and used horizontal lathes. Contact us at Tramar Industries and we’ll help you find the right machine for the job.

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