March 6, 2022

Types of lathes

Pole lathes

A pole lathe, known as a spring pole lathe, is a lathe that uses the elasticity within a long pole as a return spring for a treadle. Pressing the treadle pulls on a cord wrapped around the piece of wood or billet. It relies on the use of freshly felled pieces.

Woodturning lathes


Woodturning lathes shape wood into cylindrical profiles. Objects made on a wood lathe include furniture legs, lamp posts, baseball bats, bowls, and other ornamental forms. Wood lathe tooling consists of fixturing and securing devices for the workpiece. It also has a moveable tool rest, and hand-held cutting tools in the form of long-handled gouges, skews, scrapers, and parting tools.

It also comes with internal shaping and surface development. Although wood lathes take many forms depending on the turning operation. Those on campus include the driven or rotating headstock, lathe bed, tailstock for longer objects, and adjustable tool rest.

DIY wood lathes

If you have access to the needed wood cutting equipment and have the required experience to carry out the work. This is a plan that gives you a high-quality wood lathe for a fraction of the price it would cost to buy one in a store.

Building a wood lathe is a skill, but with the right planning and patience, you can DIY everything in your workshop.

Rigid wood lathes

Rigid wood lathes are affordable, featuring a tenacious tailstock grip. It comes with less power and capacity for turning large-diameter bowls. A small spindle and #1 Morse taper limit the availability of aftermarket accessories.

The tool-rest adjustment is awkward due to cumbersome handles. Changing speeds requires the removal of plastic cover to expose step pulleys, and there’s no tension release for the belt. Excessive vibration, attributable in part to the machine’s lightweight.

Grizzly wood lathes

A Grizzly wood lathe is a great running and easy-to-use machine. If you are in the market for a lathe that will do up to 16″ diameter pieces, you may make good use of the tool. It has plenty of power for the bigger turnings and is smooth running not loud.

Wood bowl lathes

For a bowl-turning lathe, using a lathe with 16 inches of swing is a good starting point. Most floor-standing lathes start at 16 inches of swing, the higher-end models going up to 24 inches. Some specialty bowl turning lathes feature even more swing.

Variable speed wood lathes

If the lathe has a variable speed control system, set it around 750 RPM until the work is turned around, then increase the speed. Going above 1100-1200 RPM is risky. To change speeds, on many drill presses and lathes, the user needs to turn off the lathe machine, and manually move the belts between pulleys. On a lathe machine with variable speed control, the user can adjust a lever to change the speed.

Oneway wood lathes

Oneway Manufacturing’s woodturning tools give you performance and durability. These are some of the best tools amongst others. Oneway also offers a variety of lathe chucks, faceplates, and lathe accessories manufactured in Canada to Oneway’s exacting standards.

Micro wood lathes

With a micro wood lathe, one can make glasses, cups, saucers, vases, and columns for a dollhouse. In model trains, one can make lighting masts, windows, tanks. The electronic speed control assists in the lower range in a ‘semi-automated’ painting process.

Laguna wood lathes

Laguna wood lathes allow for maximum precision with the most intricate cutting details. Each machine is easy to use and features an ergonomic angled control, mounted at the top of your lathe or waist level. It is for hobbyists and professional woodworkers, the lathe offers an excellent way to upgrade your workshop.

They allow you to carve and sand nearly any shape you can imagine out of your workpiece. The all-steel bed with cast iron legs minimizes vibration. It allows the headstock, tailstock, and banjo to travel smoothly for the most precise cuts.

Each lathe machine features a poly groove drive belt with two-step pulleys that are easy to access. The padded adjustment handle makes belt adjustments quick and simple. With variable speed control, use the correct frequency for your specific project.

Heavy-duty wood lathes

Heavy-duty wood lathes have a stable operation. It features a cast-iron constructed wood lathe with rubber feet for increased stability and smooth operation. All gears and shafts in the headstock have been precisely grounded and hardened for longer service life and mute operation. High-quality electronic units are applied throughout the machine.

What is the difference between the engine lathe and the tool room lathe?

A tool room lathe is set up with tooling for more precision work, while an engine lathe is for more metal removal capability. That does not mean a used tool room lathe is more accurate.

What are the common types of lathes?       

  • Centre lathe machine
  • Speed lathe machine
  • Capstan and turret lathe machine
  • Toolroom lathe machine
  • Bench lathe machine
  • Automatic lathe machine
  • Special lathe machine
  • CNC lathe machine

      What are the different types of CNC lathes?

  • Speed Lathes
  • Engine Lathes
  • Turret Lathes
  • Toolroom lathes

What are the different types of metal lathes?       

  • Centre lathe
  • Engine lathe
  • Toolroom lathe
  • Turret lathe
  • Gang-tool lathe

      How are lathes classified?

Lathes are classified by functionality and how effective the lathe machine has become in its operation. Different types have been available over the years. Classifying them is not an easy task.

Take time to understand the lathe machine. Lathe machines are of different types and sizes and purposely designed to suit specific jobs and materials. The construction and design classify lathes into bench lathes, speed lathes, engine lathes, tool room lathes, and automatic lathes.

      What is the difference between capstan and turret lathe?

In capstan lathe, the turret tool head is over the ram. It is mounted over the saddle, while in the turret lathe, the turret tool head is over the saddle like a single unit. Capstan lathe is a light-duty machine, whereas turret lathe is a heavy-duty machine.

David D. Hughes

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