7 Different Types of Lathes (The Complete List)

Different types of metal lathes

There are a total 7 different types of lathes and it is difficult to classify all these lathes as they are manufactured in a variety of sizes and types.

Some lathes are small and used for small workpiece, while others are large which are used for turning large steel shafts.

Types of Lathes

Different types of lathes are classified as below.

#1) Bench lathe

Bench lathes are generally small in size and they can be mounted on a separate bench.

It has almost all the parts that an engine lathe possess, but it is used for small jobs and also precision work can be done by using a bench lathe.

#2) Speed lathe

Out of all the other lathes, speed lathe is the simplest one. It has simple construction and simple operation.

Important parts of speed lathe are mentioned below.

  • Bed
  • Headstock
  • Tailstock, and
  • Tool post mounted on adjustable slide

Speed lathes do not contain feed box, leadscrew or conventional type of carriage.

The tool is directly mounted on the adjustable slide and the feed is given by hand control only.

This type of speed lathes are applicable for those jobs where the required cutting force is very less (for example woodworking, centering, spinning, buffing, etc).

These lathes are known as speed lathes because the spindle speed is comparatively high in these lathes.

Speed lathes includes;

  • Wood working lathe
  • Spinning
  • Centering
  • Polishing, etc

#3) Engine lathe or Centre lathe

In most of the manufacturing industries, center lathe is very important and it is widely used.

But do you know why it is called engine lathe?

Because in earlier days, it was driven by the steam engine.

Engine lathe has all the major parts like;

  • Bed
  • Headstock
  • Tailstock, and
  • Tool post mounted on adjustable slide

The headstock of the engine lathe is very robust and it also has a mechanism for driving a spindle at multiple speeds.

In engine lathe, the cutting tool can travel in cross as well as longitudinal directions with reference to the lathe axis. This is possible with the help of a feed rod, carriage and a lead screw.

In engine lathe, the power transmission occurs by the means of belt, electric motor or gears.

So, the commonly used drives in the engine lathe are;

  • Belt drive (cone pulley)
  • Individual motor drive
  • All geared lathe head

#4) Tool Room lathe

Tool room lathe is very similar to the engine lathe, but it has some extra features that makes it suitable for accurate and precision type work.

It also has a wide range of spindle speeds ranging from low speed to higher as 2500 rpm.

Tool room lathe is generally used for the accuracy and precision type works which are generally used for manufacturing of dies, gauges, etc.

#5) Capstan and Turret lathe

Capstan and Turret lathes are mainly used for mass production work.

These lathes were developed as a technological advancement of engine lathe.

The main feature of this lathe is that it has a hexagonal turret on which multiple tools are mounted which can be fed in the workpiece in a proper sequence.

The main advantage of this lathe is that many operations can be performed on a single workpiece without resetting it.

Hence the production rate can be increased by using this type of lathes.

#6) Special purpose lathe

Special purpose lathes are developed for those machining processes which are not possible on the standard lathes.

Special purpose lathes includes;

  • Wheel lathe
  • Gap bed lathe
  • Duplicating lathe
  • T-lathe

Wheel lathe is generally used for the finishing of journals.

In order to machine the parts with extra large diameters, gap bed lathe is used in which a section of bed adjacent to the headstock is removable.

T-lathe is used for machining the rotors of jet engines.

Duplicating lathe, as the name suggests is used for duplicating the shape on the workpiece.

#7) Automatic lathes

As the name suggests, the automatic lathes are made such that it completes the entire machining process on its own. All the machining operations are done by the automatic lathes after entering the program into the machine.

Such lathes are high speed and heavy duty lathes, and they are used for mass production with automatic control.

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