7 things you must know about CNC Lathe Machines

CNC machines employ software applications to ensure the precision, accuracy, and optimization of custom-designed products and parts. CNC machining is familiar in the past times for manufacturing useful components. But the increased development has also made CNC machining more complex, reliable, and efficient.

CNC controls and operates multiple tools. It can accommodate workpieces that produce components with higher accuracy, durability, and functioning. We are here discussing the CNC lathe machines that help you to understand these machines better.

What is CNC Lathe Machine?

CNC lathe machines are those machines that give a definite shape to the components through accurate cutting by lathe tools. It mainly operates with computer numerical control systems that provide the instructions for a definite component design.

These machines manufacture precise round shapes with an inner diameter and outer diameter. These machines are used in medical, paper mills, aerospace, oil and gas, power plant, and automotive industries.

The cutting is done according to the given instructions. It is mainly used in spinning, glass, metal, wood turning, etc. Turning refers to the rotating action of the workpiece and certain types of machines called CNC turning machines. A simple lathe can operate on two axes using a cutting tool in a fixed position.

It can perform the operations such as tool deformation, knurling, cutting, sanding, etc. A lathe having computer numerical control is called a turning center.

Various components of the lathe machine provide the demanded design through their functioning. The main components of the CNC machine are described below.

  • Headstock
  • Bed
  • Tailstock
  • Carriage
  • Saddle
  • Cross-slide
  • Compound rest
  • Toolpost
  • Apron
  • Lead Screw
  • Feed rod
  • Chuck
  • Main spindle
  • Leg

How Do CNC Lathes Work?

CNC lathe machines work by mounting and moving the cutting tool on different axis for the precise cutting of the workpiece that rotates by the main spindle. It results in the production of precision components with cylindrical or circular shapes with the desired diameter.

The programming directs the controller to function with the drive motor and helps work different components along with moving the shaft to complete a particular design.

Before starting the operation, carefully check the machine to eliminate any troubleshooting. The next step involves uploading the G-code computer file to the CNC lathe and installing a cylindrical material block. The operational capabilities of the Lathe are facing, grooving, thread cutting, and boring.

This cylindrical material block is then kept safe in the chuck. After that, rotate the workpiece and chuck by setting the speed of the spindle.

Make sure the absence of any discrepancy checks the spindle speed and the rotating workpiece. After checking them, locate the cutting tool and move both the carriage and the tool turret.

In the end, perform the cutting operation by moving the carriage. It also involves the removal of extra material to attain a smooth, accurate machined part.

The Benefits of Using CNC Lathe machine

Some detailed benefits of using the CNC lathe machine process are described in the following points.

  1. The CNC machining process makes manufacturing precise round shape products easier now.
  2. Because in the old times, operating with shaping machines needed two extremely masterful operators; one had to handle the CNC machine, and the other had to control the material.
  3. But now, because of the computer numerical control system, we need only one operator who is skilled appropriately
  4. CNC lathes are operated with precise design instructions to manufacture high-precision CNC parts.
  5. In contrast to other CNC lathes, CNC lathes can perform additional drilling, milling, and tapping operations.   Compared to the old traditional machines, the CNC lathe machines ensure higher accuracy in production.
  6. The CNC lathe machines are more recommendable for circular parts, producing accurate results even when used for bulk production.
  7. Computer-controlled CNC lathe machines quickly replace manually controlled machines. The CNC machining may cost you more if you buy them new, but they are affordable if you purchase a used CNC machine.
  8. The components machined through the machining process offer higher accuracy than the manual machining operation. The higher accuracy effectively reduces the chances of machining errors in the workpiece.
  9. We can quickly and easily machine simple to complex parts. CNC machining can even easily produce complex components with tight tolerances and the same dimensions in a shorter time.
  10. We can add 3-axis to the basic Z-axis, C-axis, and X- axis and life tool system, while 2-axis has two linear axes to perform inner and outer diameter operations at the center of the part.
  11. 11.CNC machining produces highly versatile parts. The increased versatility of the parts allows them to use for the manufacturing of various products, including car parts, crockery, furniture, etc.
  12. It also gives definite shapes to spheres, thus helping produce replacement components for different machines.
  13. The working of modern machines to create a CNC part using hard and soft materials do not require highly skilled operators. The milling needs only a single operator because computers control them. The operator only controls the speed, feeds, and introduces the dimension to the computer. The rest of the work is done by the computer.

What is CNC Lathe Machine Types?

Different CNC milling machines are available for machining operations, such as a 3-axis lathe that can perform 3-planes, tapping, and helical milling operations, and a 3-axis lathe to the basic X and Z axis, life tool, and C axis is added.

A 2-axis CNC lathe can perform the cutting of the diameter of the workpiece but is not good for milling operations. Now we will look into the classification of CNC lathe machines based on lathe spindle position, several tool holders, and the functions of CNC lathe machines. Some main components are described below.

  • Machine bed: The machine bed is the base of a machine used for mounting the components.
  • Main spindle: The main spindle is the moving part of CNC lathe machines that mainly comprises spindle drive and spindle assembly.
  • Chuck: Chuck is a lathe tool that works by holding the machining part. The spindle rotates both the workpiece and chuck during the machining process.
  • Guideway: Guideway helps attain a leveled cutting surface by moving the tool in vertical and horizontal directions.
  • Headstock: Headstock works by holding the main spindle.

Certain types of CNC machines, also called CNC turning centres, produce a versatile range and more complex parts through rotating and cutting components using an outer and inner diameter. The 2-axis CNC lathe has a Z-axis and X-axis to cut round parts. Some types are:

  • 2-Axis CNC machine
  • 3-Axis CNC machine
  • 4-Axis CNC machine
  • 5-Axis CNC machine
  • 6-Axis CNC machine
  • 8-axis machines are sophisticated and complex machines.

Classification by Lathe Spindle Position

A CNC lathe machine is classified into two types based on its spindle position.

(a) Vertical CNC Lathe

The vertical CNC machine is commonly used for workpieces that have large sizes and are heavier. The vertical CNC lathe machine uses gravity to stabilize the workpiece. The spindle is oriented in a vertical plane in vertical CNC lathe machines. Vertical machines are also referred to as vertical boring machines sometimes. The major components of Vertical machines include:

  • Headstock
  • Jaws
  • Bed
  • Chuck
  • Workpiece
  • Cutting tool
  • Ways z-axis
  • Ways y-axis
  • Turret

Vertical machines are quite capable of producing chucked parts. In vertical CNC machining, the parts stay in place because of gravity, unlike other conventional processes. The vertical CNC lathes can meet the increasing demands of the present industry.

One of the reasons for using such machines is their benefits over a standard milling machine. Vertical CNC lathes can perform milling and drilling operations like siding, rocking, crosscutting, or perching. Vertical CNC lathes allow clockwise and anticlockwise rotational operations.

(b) Horizontal CNC Lathe

Horizontal CNC lathes are those machines in which the spindles are oriented in a horizontal position. Horizontal CNC machining is known to be the first machine tool in the world.

The horizontal CNC machine is commonly used to cut cylindrical parts and shapes, and the horizontal CNC turning machines ensure faster cutting while maintaining good accuracy in production. The horizontal modern CNC lathes are strong and sturdy and can promise good performance.

The horizontal CNC lathe machines are quite common in manufacturing industries all over the world due to higher precision in their cutting.

The two major horizontal CNC machines are wooden lathes and steel lathes.

  • Wooden lathes
  • Wooden lathes are simpler than steel lathes and are made of bed, headstock, tailstock, or tool rest. Wooden lathes have a spur spindle. Wooden horizontal CNC lathe machines are available in different sizes, powers, or ratings.


  • Steel lathes
  • Steel lathes have a tail on one end of the central bed and a headstock on the other. Steel lathes have jaws for securing the workpiece and not a spur spindle. Steel lathes offer more precision in the production or manufacturing processes.
    Steel horizontal CNC lathe machines are available in different sizes, powers, or ratings. Horizontal CNC lathe machines are very efficient for cutting, shaping, or drilling. But commonly, they are used to shape materials made of metal or wood.

Classification of CNC Lathe Machining Process by the Number of Tool Holders

The Turret Lathe only takes seconds to perform a job. The Turret machine consists of the parts like bed, headstock, clutch, legs, chuck, spindle, seed rod, and cross slide. There are many advantages of the Turret machine, some of which are as follows:

  • We can use it for a large number of materials.
  • The Turret machine has helped the manufacturing industries by increasing their production rates.
  • The Turret machine has introduced the manufacturing industries to a new world of automatic production. Because of Turret Lathes, the need for labor is reduced.
  • With these Turret lathes, we can work at different rates.

(a)Single-Turret CNC lathe

In case of massive parts or bulk production, the automatic Lathe is quite useful. This Single Turret Lathe is a good choice when we are planning for the production of identical or duplicate parts.

While machining materials like steel, aluminum, and plastic, we will require a turret Lathe to fill our needs fully. A single turret Lathe is beneficial because it is easy to use and promises accuracy, precision, and reliability.

Nowadays, automatic turret Lathes have replaced the Manual turret tool. The automatic turret lathe has become very useful in the manufacturing industry because it has increased productivity and reduced the machining time. Hence the need for a highly skillful operator is not required anymore.

(b) Double Turret CNC lathes

Unlike the single turret CNC machine, a double turret CNC lathe uses a four-axis during a machining operation. The double turret allows simultaneous cutting by the CNC machine tools on the upper and lower turrets.

A second turret is added to a 3-axis CNC machine and has an upper and lower turret to pick up the part. They have two linear axes. One Y-axis is at the upper turret, and the second spindle moves towards the main and rotating spindle. To complete the cutting operations, the second spindle is separate from the main spindle.

One turret’s lagging does the workpiece cut to the other as they move down. It results in the production of double the amount of chips during machining as compared to the single Lathe.

Moreover, they may have a slanted machine bed. This design allows the collection of more hot coolants and hot chips in the lower turrets. It directly affects its accuracy, making it more accurate than a single turret CNC lathe.

Classification by function of CNC Lathe Machines

CNC lathes can change the current manual production, referred to as carbide tooling. CNC controls the by a machine tool and CAD and CAM software. The CNC lathe machines are classified into three types based on their functioning.

(a) Economical CNC lathes

The economical CNC lathe does machining operations using a single-chip microcomputer and stepper motors. This CNC lathe shows poor functioning and degree of automation. But, they offer much lower machining costs.

Moreover, they offer low accuracy of turning processing that does not apply to the rotary components of the turning process.

(b) Ordinary CNC lathess

The ordinary CNC lathes can control two axes simultaneously, commonly designated as the X and Y-axis. They offer greater accuracy of processing and degree of automation, which is the main requirement of the rotary components of the turning process.

(c)CNC Turning Machining Centers

A CNC turning center is a more advanced type of CNC lathe. These CNC lathe machines are designed with an additional power head and third axes, i.e., C-axis. C-axis can perform boring, tapping, and standard milling operations. The presence of powerheads and third axis mainly differentiate them from ordinary CNC lathes. 

They also increase the functioning of these lathe machines and manufacture precise parts with greater accuracy. The CNC turning centers have a computer numerical control to perform various drilling and milling operations.

CNC turning centers include productivity and multi-tasking capabilities to handle various functions during the manufacturing process.


To establish a successful project, it is important to know the ins and outs of CNC turning centers and the CNC manufacturing process. Our success depends on company and selection, so choose an authentic and verified CNC lathe company to get more advantages.

Worthy Hardware provides a complete line of CNC turning centers in versatile ranges, sizes, and capacities to remove material. We design a 2-axis, 5-axis, and 3-axis CNC lathe with live tooling with reliability, quality, and ease of operations to perform.

Worthy Hardware is a CNC manufacturing and sheet metal fabrication company,including CNC machining services,CNC milling services, CNC turning services, laser cutting services and stamping services.Call us +86-76989919645 or email us [email protected] for more discounts for your projects.