Lathe Cutting Tools Explained
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Cutting the Cut: An Explainer on Lathe Cutting Tools You’ll Love!

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You can utilize lathe cutting tools when using a lathe machine to create turned pieces and shape materials into the appropriate shape. They play a significant role in C.N.C. machining. However, because there are so many different cutting instruments, there isn’t much information about how to use them.

As a result, this essay will focus heavily on the various lathe tool types used in C.N.C. turning. Additionally, you may learn from this tutorial what a lathe is, how to pick the correct cutting equipment and the many lathe-cutting procedures. Let’s begin straight now.

What is a Lathe Machine?

A lathe is a machine typically used to shape wood or metal. It operates by having the workpiece revolve around a fixed cutting tool. The primary function is to eliminate the material’s undesirable portions, leaving behind a neatly formed workpiece.

This machine can turn wood or metal into any form. It can rotate, undercut, knurl, drill, face, bore, and execute various other operations using stationary lathe-cutting tools. Additionally, the workpiece’s surplus material is frequently removed using a lathe machine to attain a specific size and form.

It is a device that spins the workpiece about an axis of rotation to carry out a variety of operations, including turning, undercutting, knurling, drilling, facing, boring, and cutting, to produce an item that is symmetrical about that axis.

There are many different kinds of lathes that are tailored for various materials and processes. Four types of lathes, including one with live tooling capability for multitasking projects, are available at All Metals Fabricating.

Read More: What Is Lathe Swing: Clear Definition And How To Measure!

Different Parts Of A Lathe:

Parts of the machine are the bed, tailstock, carriage, legs, cross slide, saddle, and apron. The functions of all the pieces are:

Bed: The headstock and tailstock of a lathe are supported by the bed, an extensive horizontal framework or beam. Almost all lathes, except woodworking lathes, feature a bed. It is the lengthy platform on which these components are installed.

Headstock: It’s located at the end of the head. The headstock supplies rotational power for the lathe’s operations after it is fastened to the end. The bearings the lathe uses to spin the workpiece against the tool bit are within.

Tailstock: The tailstock is located on the end of the lathe opposite the headstock, as you would have predicted. The tailstock often referred to as a “loose head,” has a non-rotating barrel that serves a range of functions, including retaining tool bits or supporting workpieces while spinning.

Carriage: A carriage is another feature of lathes tucked between the headstock and tailstock. The carriage is in charge of controlling the tool bit while it manipulates or cuts the workpiece.

Legs: A lathe’s legs, of course, are the vertical elements that support a raised working surface. However, lathes don’t utilize any old legs. Commercial-grade lathes often have legs that bolt onto the floor on which they are positioned because of their enormous weight. The lathe will stay stable under severe load if the legs are run down.

Cross Slide: The top of a lathe has a cross slide that allows the tool bit to glide back and forth.

Saddle: The saddle is located on a lathe’s head. The said harness is formally a component of the carriage. Its H-shaped design is in charge of supporting cross-slide motions.

Apron: The apron is an element of a lathe fastened to the saddle. Its purpose is to support the levers, gears, and other parts that move the cross slide. The apron, along with the saddle, is an essential part of the carriage, which, as was already said, is used to direct the tool bit on the lathe.

Why Should We Use a Lathe?

Lathes, sometimes referred to as the “mother of machining tools,” have several uses. These include deformation, drilling, shaping, sanding, knurling, turning, and other processes. This kind of adaptability in a tool is difficult to match, which is why many metalworkers and woodworkers rely on lathes as the foundation of their trade.

A lathe can be ideal for your project if you require a precise cutting and shaping tool. Teams that want a flexible piece of machinery that can do the tasks of many tools would benefit from lathes.

Lathe Cutting Tools:

Lathe Cutting Tools

Single-point tools are utilized for general-purpose tasks, but multipoint mechanisms may be employed for particular procedures.

Read More: Midi Lathes

Different operations on a lathe machine call for different kinds of lathe-cutting tools, depending on how those tools are used. The many different types of lathe-cutting tools used in lathe machines are as follows:

● Turning tool.

● Chamfering tool.

● Thread cutting tool.

● Internal thread-cutting tool.

● Facing tool.

● Grooving tool.

● Forming tool.

● Boring tool.

● Parting-off tool.

● Counterboring tool

● Undercutting tool

● According to the method of applying feed

● Right-hand tool

● Left-hand tool

● Round Nose

Depending on how the tool is used,

1. Turning Tool:  A rough turning tool is used to remove the most material from the stock, while a finishing turning tool is used for superior surface quality, only releasing a tiny amount of material to increase the accuracy of the item. The two primary categories of turning tools are:

● Rough turning tool.

● Finish turning tool.

1.1 Rough Turning Tool

A rough turning tool’s primary purpose is to remove the most metal in the shortest period that the device, task, and machine will allow. Because the cutting angle is so finely honed, it can bear the most vital cutting force.

1.2 Finish Turning Tool

The little quantity of metal is removed using a turning tool. A tool angle may provide an exact and smooth surface since it is so finely honed.

2. Chamfering Tool:

The blades are positioned at a chamfer angle; straight-turning tools can also be employed as chamfering tools.

A specific chamfering tool with a side cutting edge- angle ground to the angle of the chamfer is used while doing several chamfering tasks.

3. Shoulder Turning Tool:

A facing or knife-edge turning tool is used to turn a square shoulder. You can use a straight turning tool with a side cutting edge angle and zero nose radius to turn a beveled shoulder. A straightforward turning tool with a nose radius that matches the work’s fillet radius is used to turn a filleted shoulder.

4. Thread Cutting Tool: Thread cutting tools are used to cut a thread on the lathe part. In internal thread cutting, the component is held in a chuck, and the device goes over the part linearly, chipping the workpiece with each pass. The piece can be stored in a chuck or positioned between two centers for external thread cutting.

4.1 Tools for External Thread Cutting:

Metric, B.S.W., or American “V” thread can be created using a single-point thread-cutting tool. Its cutting blades were honed to fit the thread’s size and form.

The included angle at the tool’s nose, which should match the thread angle, determines the form of the instrument. It might be 55° for B.S.W. threads or 60° for metric threads.

He added an angle to the tool’s nose that should match the tip of the thread. It might be 55° for B.S.W. lines or 60° for metric threads. Different screw threads with varying pitches require other equipment to manufacture the correct cables. Depending on how the thread’s root is shaped, the tool’s nose may be sharp, flat, or rounded. After the tool has been ground, its size and form are checked using a thread tool gauge.

4.2 Internal Thread Cutting Tool

Although the front clearance angle is adequately extended as in a dull tool, the tool’s cutting edge is identical to that of an external thread-cutting tool.

The tool is held on a boring bar and is of the orbit type, which is forged. The tool’s tip must be aligned perpendicular to the job.

5. Facing Tool:

A facing tool is used for facing operations on the lathe to cut a flat surface perpendicular to the piece’s rotational axis. The device is mounted into a tool holder that rests on the lathe carriage.

A face tool’s side cutting blades remove metal. So a facing tool doesn’t need a top rake. The H.S.S. facing tool for completing an operation is shown in the picture. The gap between the end of the work and 60° dead center can allow the tool’s 2° side cutting edge angle and 34° lot cutting edge angle, leaving 2° of clearance on both sides.

Standard shank section dimensions in millimeters are 20X20, 25X25, 32X32, 40X40, and 5055. The tool’s nose radius ranges from 0.5 to 1.6 mm; its lengths are 125, 140, 170, 200, and 240 mm.

6. Grooving Tool:

A grooving tool is often a carbide insert put in a specialized tool holder. It is made to be an insert with several points and is frequently machined to the dimensions and form necessary for a particular purpose, like cutting a groove and completing other tasks. Depending on the geometry of the track to be cut, the cutting edges are either square, rounded, or “V” shaped.

7. Forming Device:

Using curved profiles may have an impact on turning:

● Ordinary lathe tools

● Flat forming tools

● Circular forming tools.

Where a copying attachment is used to duplicate the form of a template, a regular lathe-turning tool may fail to serve its intended purpose. There are two categories of flat-shaping tools:

● Simple forming tools

● Flat dovetail forming tools.

Simple forming tools

The cutting edges of these instruments are ground to fit the contour of the thread, undercut, or groove that has to be cut.

Tools for creating flat dovetails feature a broader cutting edge by the required shape. The tool’s dovetail end is inserted into a unique tool holder. No front rake is offered, but a decent front clearance angle spans 10 to 15 degrees. The top face of the tool is always reground; this preserves the tool’s shape.

Circular Form Tools

These tools are recommended for production work because they may be used with a very extended cutting surface, extending tool life. To provide the device with a proper front clearance angle, the tool’s center is slightly above the job’s center line. If the centers are at the same height, the device will rub against the work.

8. Boring Device:

In terms of its cutting edge, a dull tool is comparable to a left-hand external turning tool.

This might forge the tool with a tool shank, or it could be a bit type that is put into a boring bar or holder. An H.S.S. tool bit is shown in the image being put into a boring bar.

The mild steel boring bar is manufactured with slots or holes to fit the tool bit, secured by an Allen screw. The diameter of the final spot is determined by how far the cutting edge of the tool projects from the center of the bar.

9. Counterboring Tool:

A regular boring tool is capable of carrying out the counterboring process. The tool’s cutting edge is so finely honed that it may leave a shoulder after rotating. Commonly used is a counterbore with numerous cutting edges.

10. Undercutting Tool:

The tip and shape of the cutting edge of an undercutting or grooving tool are identical to the shape of the desired groove.

Every side of the tool has a clearance angle. The longitudinal feed is used for the cutting edge of the recessing groove. The wheel’s bore influences the front clearance angle.

11. Parting Off Tool:

Typically used as bits for tools with cemented carbide tips, a splitting-off tool is forged. To remove as little metal as feasible, parting-off tools are manufactured as thin as possible.

The tool’s cutting edge is given space around it as it drills deeply into the job to keep it from rubbing against the surface.

Since the tool is only used for ending cutting, it has no side rake; nevertheless, a little rear rake is included to encourage the easy flow of the ships.

According to The Method of Applying Feed

● Right-hand tool

● Left-handed tool

● Square Nose

1. Right-Hand Tool:

In the illustration, a right-handed instrument is depicted. When operations like turning, thread cutting, etc., are carried out, this is supplied from the lathe bed or from the tailstock to the headstock end. A right-hand tool is produced on its left-hand end when seen from the top with its snout pointed away from the operator.

2. Left-Hand Tool

The figure depicts the left-hand tool. Is that supplied from the headstock to the tailstock end or from the left to the right end of the lathe bed?

For left-hand thread cutting or turning operations that leave a shoulder on the right-hand end of the workpiece, the left-hand tool is utilized.

When seen from the top with its snout pointed away from the user, a left-handed tool’s cutting edge is produced on its right-hand end.

3. Round Nose Tool:

A round nose-turning tool is sown in the figure. Perhaps the lathe bed is supplied from left to right or from the right to the far left—this lack a rear rake and a side rake as a result.

This may occasionally include a little rear brake on the tool. For completion turning operations, a round nose turning tool is typically employed.

Classification by Structure


1. Integral type: The cutter’s head and rod are constructed from the same high-speed steel material. For compact turning tools and turning tools made of non-ferrous metal, the cutting tool’s stiffness is acceptable.

2. Welding type: Cand the carbide insert is inlaid on the rod. Its fabrication is simple, and its structure is small. All kinds of turning tools, tiny ones, can use it.

3. Clamp type: The insert is secured on the cutter bar with mechanical holding, the cutter head and rod are made of different materials, and the blade may be changed when it becomes dull. The cutter bar may be reused and is frequently used in C.N.C. lathes.

Classification By Material:

1. High-speed steel tool: This universal cutter for rough and semi-finish machining is constructed of high-speed steel and may be ground continuously.

2. Carbide tool: Blade made of carbide, fiber, graphite, glass, stone, and ordinary steel. Who may also use it to cut rigid materials, including tools, stainless, high-speed, and heat-resistant steel.

3. Diamond: Diamond blades have excellent hardness and wear resistance, a low coefficient of friction, a high elastic modulus, a high thermal conductivity, a low thermal expansion coefficient, and little affinity for non-ferrous metals. Graphite, high wear-resistant materials, conforming materials, high silicon aluminum alloy, and other non-ferrous metal materials are just a few examples of non-metallic, brittle, and rugged materials that may be accurately machined with this method.

4. Other materials: are being developed for rough machining and spot cutting of high-hardness alloy cast iron, including ceramic and cubic boron nitride tools.

F.A.Q.s About Lathe Cutting Tools

Q1. What are the purposes of cutting tools?

Cutting tools, sometimes called cutters, are instruments used to remove components from a workpiece. They are fixed to a lathe, a device used to rotate materials and give them the forms needed. Boring and chamfering tools are a few examples of cutting tools.

Q2. What kinds of cutting tools are used on lathes?

There are several categories into which the lathe machine tools may be divided. The most typical divisions are as follows:

Utilization: turning, boring, chamfering, grooving, etc.

Materials: diamond blade, high-speed steel tool, carbide tool, and other materials.

Use a circular hose tool, a right-hand tool, or a left-hand tool to provide feed.

Q3. Mother machine tool is what machine tool?

The lathe, sometimes referred to as the mother of all machine tools, was the initial tool created that sparked the development of additional tools. It is utilized to carry out turning operations, which include removing unwanted material from a workpiece while it is turned against a cutting tool.

Q4. What Challenges Does this Work Face?

For creating a smooth surface, the material must be removed from the end and/or shoulder using a specialized tool.

Q5. What Is the Truth About the Lathe’s Facing Operation?

According to the definition, facing operations result in flat surfaces. In a facing process, a flat surface is created by the tool removing metal from the end of the metal.


Any C.N.C. machining or C.N.C. turning process needs cutting tools for the lathe. However, there are many different kinds of cutting tools for lathe machines that are accessible to many engineers without a clear differential. This article has shown the many groups of lathe tools and how to choose one to make it simpler. If you’re still unsure of what kind of lathe machine tools can produce the form you want, you may send your CAD file to our staff for experienced advice or contact us by email right away.

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Hi, my name is Charles Winn, A DIY enthusiast, Mechanical Engineer. I was born and raised in Springfield, Missouri. I am also a father of two troublemaker kids, a terrible photographer, and I love to play chess.

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