What is a CNC Lathe Machine?

A cnc lathe is a machine that rotates a workpiece on a spindle to cut away excess material, using cutting tools and drill bits with different diameters that are applied to the workpiece to produce a symmetrical object. These machines are capable of producing a variety of shapes, cuts, and details on a rotating work part. On a benchtop cnc lathe, a machinist can program the machine to make difficult cuts on tough materials and produce quality pieces at a high rate. CNC lathes come in either vertical or horizontal forms. In this article, we will discuss the differences and uses for the two.

CNC Horizontal Lathes

CNC horizontal lathe machining is performed using horizontally-configured lathes. These machines rotate a workpiece cylindrically, like a rotisserie chicken, while tooling shapes the piece by cutting away excess materials. Because the workpieces have to lie vertically, horizontal lathe machines tend to have a larger footprint or amount of total space that they take up, making them best reserved for use on smaller or midsize workpieces. Similarly, because the chuck on these machines hold the work piece vertically, against the natural gravitational downward pull of the object, these machines are best used for lighter materials, or else you run the risk of damaging the chuck. This information is particularly important to keep in mind if you are buying a used CNC lathe machine and be sure to ask your dealer about the machine’s past work history.