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6 Types of Lathe Machines and Their Uses

Lathe Machines

Lathe machines are essential industrial tools for shaping various materials, including wood, metal, and plastics. These devices offer precision and accuracy in shaping and facilitate the production of complex shapes and designs that are impossible to create manually. Several lathe machines exist, each designed to cater to specific machining requirements. This blog aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the different types of lathe machines available.

Types of Lathe Machines

Engine Lathe

Engine lathe is the most common type of lathe found in any machine shop. They are typically classified by the largest diameter of the workpiece that can be spun over the bed. Engine lathes are perfect for various workpieces, including shafts, discs, and cylindrical parts.

Center Lathe

Center lathes, also known as bench lathes, resemble engine lathes in many ways. The critical difference, however, is the lack of a spindle nose for attaching a chuck in a centre lathe. Instead, these machines use a tailstock to support one end of the workpiece, making them highly suitable for long cylindrical parts.

Turret Lathe

Turret lathes are advanced lathe machines that can handle complex cuts at high production rates. They feature an automated tooling system consisting of a revolving 6-8 station tool post that can be stocked with numerous tool holders. Turret lathes are commonly used in industries like screw manufacture, where high productivity is required.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Lathe

CNC lathes are advanced machining tools that are controlled by computers. They feature a computerized graphical interface that allows users to input complex designs and instructions for the machine to follow. CNC lathes are perfect for high-precision turning operations and ideal for creating intricate parts and components in the aerospace, medicine, and robotics industries.

Metal Lathe

A metal lathe is a crucial tool for the experienced machinist. This machine is designed to shape and cut metal into precision pieces, allowing for intricate designs and tiny details. With its ability to hold and rotate the metal workpiece, the lathe is a versatile tool that can produce anything from simple cylindrical shapes to complex 3D designs. While mastering the metal lathe may take some practice, the results are unparalleled in precision and accuracy. For any severe metalworker, a metal lathe is a valuable investment that can significantly enhance their craft.

Swiss-Type Lathe

Swiss-type lathes are high-precision machines that are designed for the production of small intricate parts. They feature a sliding headstock that can hold specialized tools for machining small pieces, making them highly suitable for precision turning in medical, electronics, and watchmaking industries.


Lathe machines are essential for all industries requiring precision and accuracy in producing complex designs and materials. To make the right choice when selecting a lathe machine, it is necessary to understand the different types available in the market. With this blog post, we hope that you have gained a comprehensive overview of the various types of lathes that exist, and we hope that it will provide you with helpful insights when choosing your next lathe machine.

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