CNC Lathe Machines

A lathe is a machine tool that is used to create objects that have rotational symmetry along one of its axis.  It does this by rotating the workpiece and performing various operations to cut and deform the object to its desired shape.  Machining by a lathe is known as turning, hence sometimes lathes are referred to as ‘turning lathes’.  Lathes can be used to turn wood, metal, hard plastics, glass and pottery.  Examples of objects that can be produced on a lathe include candlestick holders, gun barrels, cue sticks, table and chair legs, baseball bats, camshafts, crankshafts and some musical instruments.

In metalworking lathes, the metal is cut off the workpiece by a hardened cutting tool.  Unlike a woodworking lathe, this tool is usually attached to a movable turret or post on the lathe, rather than the tools being handheld by the operator rested on the tool rest.  This turret can be moved accurately in a variety of planes either manually by leadscrews, or in more modern and higher range lathes, by CNC (Computer Numerical Control).  Because of the heat involved in cutting a large amount of metal, sometimes a coolant fluid may be pumped to keep the temperature of the workpiece and cutting tool down.