What are Main Types of Lathe Machine?

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Lathe is an important and widely used machine tool used in the machining process. Sometimes it is called as mother of all other machine tools. The main function of the lathe machine is to remove excess material from the job and give it require size and dimensions. Lathe rotates the work piece about an axis. The job is inserted between the jaw chucks of lathe and then turning operation is done by a single point cutting tool. The excess material s removed by the single point cutting tool in the form of chips. Work piece is fixed in jaws and rotates about their axis. Feed is provided to the cutting tool as per requirement. Rotation is provided to the work piece by electric motor or engine at specific rpm. By using lathe we can perform various operations like drilling, turning, reaming, boring, taper turning, knurling, thread cutting and grinding etc.

These days we use different types of lathe according to our requirement. Lathes are manufactured in different types and sizes; lathe can be very small in size for small operations to huge in sizes used for turning large diameter shafts. All lathes which we used have almost same function and operations. Following are the different types of lathe we use in industry as per requirements.


Types of Lathe Machine:


  1. Centre or engine lathe
  2. Speed lathe
  3. Tool room lathe
  4. Bench lathe
  5. Capstan and turret lathe
  6. Special purpose lathe
  7. Automatic lathe
  8. Computerized lathes (CNC)


1. Centre or engine lathe:

Centre or engine lathe is oldest and very common type of lathe. It is widely used machine tool in industry and its main function is to manufacture cylindrical profiles. The basic parts of the centre lathe are bed, headstock and tailstock. It has durable headstock and that can drive the lathe at different speeds with the help of some mechanisms. In very early days when no electric motor used this was driven by steam engines that’s why it is called as engine lathe also but now days power is transmitted to lathe by electric motors with the help of some gears and belt drives. We can adjust the speed of lathe by using gears and belt drives. Engine lathes can easily feed the cutting tool in both directions i.e. longitudinal and lateral directions with the help of feed mechanisms.



2. Speed lathe:

Speed lathe works at very high speed as name suggest. Its headstock spindle is rotates at very high speed. Speed lathe is very simple and basic type of lathe having basic parts like bed, headstock, tailstock but it has no feed mechanism. Feed is provided by manually of hand operated. This type of lathe is used where less cutting force is required or we can say that it is used to machine soft materials. It is used for spinning, centering, polishing and machining of wood etc.



3. Bench lathe:

As name suggest this lathe is mounted on a bench. It is generally a small type of lathe. It has also same parts like headstock, tail stock and can perform same functions as engine lathe but mainly used for working on small and precious parts.



4. Tool room lathe:

Tool room lathe works on different ranges of speeds it can be operates on high rpm as well as low rpm as per requirements. Its parts are almost same similar to engine lathe but the parts are build very accurately and should be arranged in proper sequence because this lathe is used for highly precious work with very less tolerances. Tool room lathes are used for precious work on tools where dimensional accuracy should be maintained, dies, limit gauges and machining of those parts which requires more accuracy with minimum tolerances.



5. Turret/Capstan lathes:

Turret lathe is the modified version of engine lathe. It is an example of advancement of technology in manufacturing industry. Older lathes have some draw back i.e. they cannot use in mass production and can performs only single operation at a time but after the invention of turret lathe we can easily do mass production. Construction of turret lathe is similar to engine lathe but difference is the tail stock of an engine lathe is replaced by a hexagonal turret on which multiple tools are fitted. These tools are capable in performing multiple tasks like turning, boring, thread cutting, drilling and facing. By using these tools we can easily perform different type of operations on a single work piece without changing of tool and work piece.


All these tools are mounted on a hexagonal turret; turret is rotates after each operation. Turret lathe is used for mass production and the advantage of this lathe is a less skilled operator can perform work on it once all setup is done properly. This type of lathe can be used for machining large work piece also.


6. Special purpose lathe:

These types of lathes are used for some special purposes as per their name. These are used to machine those components which cannot be machined by standard lathes. The types of lathe which comes in this category are wheel lathe, gap bed lathe, tracer/duplicate lathe and T-lathe.

  • Wheel lathe is used for machining of journals and rail rods. It is also used for turning the threads on locomotive wheels.
  • Gap bed lathe is used to machine large diameter work piece i.e. up to 1.5 to 2 meters and 6-8 meters in length.
  • T-shape lathe are used to machine rotors used in jet engines and gas turbines. The shape of its bed in T that’s why it is called as T-shaped lathes.
  • Duplicate or tracer lathe is used for duplicating or making replica of the shape. This lathe can machine different type of contours. It traces the shape of one component and makes a replica of same contour. Numerically controlled lathes are the modified version of Duplicate lathes.


8. Automatic lathe:

As name suggest this lathe performs work automatically. Standard lathes have some draw backs i.e. they are not used for mass production. But automatic lathes are used for mass production. Some mechanisms are responsible for the automation in it. In fully automatic lathes the job handling and tool changing is automatic but in semiautomatic tool changing is done manually but job handling movements are automatic. These types of lathes are high speed and heavy duty.


9. Computerized controlled lathes:

This is widely used lathe in present time because of its working. It is most advance type of lathe this time. CNC is the example of this kind of lathes. CNC stands for Computerized numerically controlled. These lathes are fully automatic can works on some programs feed into the computer or we can say that it uses computer programs to control the machine tool. Once the program is feed in to the computer a large number of parts of same kind can be machined with very high speed and accuracy. Pre-programmed computer software is responsible for the all process from tool changing to replacing new work piece with old one all functions done automatically. A semi skilled worker can easily operate this after initial setup is done. These types of lathes are used for mass production. Components manufactured by these lathes are very accurate in dimensional tolerances.

This is all about types of lathe machine. If you have any query regarding this article, ask by commenting. If you like this article, don’t forget to share it on social networks. Subscribe our website for more informative articles. Thanks for reading it.

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1 thought on “What are Main Types of Lathe Machine?”

  1. hi,the article is great yeah i loved it,can i have info about labeling or like parts of lathe machine with their picture and working 🙂

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