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What Is a CNC Lathe Machine?

May. 26, 2021

What Is a CNC Lathe Machine?

First of all, CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control and refers to a machine operated by a computer system. CNC lathes are operated in accordance with precise design instructions and process parts with precise specifications. A CNC lathe is a kind of machine tool in which materials or components are fixed in place and rotated by a spindle as the cutting tools working on the material are mounted and moved on various shafts.

A lathe is a machine that rotates a workpiece on a spindle to cut excess material. Cutting tools and drill bits of different diameters are used to be applied to the workpiece to produce a symmetrical object. These machines are capable of producing various shapes, cuts and details on rotating working parts. On a CNC lathe, a mechanic can program the machine to make difficult cutting of hard materials and produce high-quality parts at a high speed.

Application of CNC Lathes

The material being processed on the CNC lathe is slowly cut off. The result is a precise finished product or a complex part. Because these machines are so versatile, they are used in many industries, including automobiles, electronics, aerospace, gun manufacturing, sports, etc.

CNC lathes can manufacture planes and threads, or for magnificent lathes, they can manufacture very complex three-dimensional products. They can be used on large and small parts with extremely high accuracy. The workpiece is usually fixed by one or two centers, but the material can also be fixed with a chuck or clamp.

The products that CNC lathes can manufacture include baseball bats, camshafts, bowls, crankshafts, cue sticks, sign boards, musical instruments, and table and chair legs.


Care must be taken when using CNC lathes. Although this process is automated, the operator must understand computer programming parameters, safety standards, and other important information. Because the lathe pays attention to details, there must be qualified professionals to run the machine. Due to automation, the manufacturing process has become easier. It includes complex commands and speeds indicated by an internal computer, but a human operator must still supervise the entire process. This means that it is necessary to develop the necessary skills through special training.

When choosing the right CNC lathe, there are many factors to consider, such as the quality of the fixture to keep the workpiece stable and the tolerance level of the CNC lathe. Weight is an important factor in choosing a CNC machine tool. The heavy machine can withstand severe vibrations and other operations that affect the efficiency of CNC lathes. A lightweight CNC lathe can lose balance more quickly, thereby affecting the output results.

Swing measurement is another issue to consider. It is the largest diameter of any material that can be cut or processed on a lathe. The measurement is from the bed of the lathe to the center of the spindle. If the desired output size is known, this measurement will help to select a CNC lathe.

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