If you are a mechanic, potter, engineer or someone who works with woods, then lathes, and a machine are what you must be using or may require. For those who are unaware of its applications, let me give you a proper account of lathes, their various types, and their costs.
Lathes are one of the most important and oldest tools in the history of mechanics. In very simple words, Lathes are tools widely used by mechanics, and artisans for the purpose of cutting, rotating, boring through, or even deforming a piece of work. The unwanted material is automatically removed from the workpiece as it is rotated on the tool.
Lathes are considered the mother of modern machinery. The workpiece is hoisted about an axis that rotates for the cutting tool to operate on it. Previously, work holding spindle was regulated manually, for the speed control and accuracy heavily depended upon the preference of the craftsman. With advancements in time and technology, the machine has been moderated to serve the production purpose.
According to history, lathes were first formulated by Egyptians in the year 1300 BCE, while in France, around 1569, it was in proper use. The Industrial Revolution played a huge role in propagating the use of lathes, and eventually, it garnered worldwide fame.
To give you a general idea of the use of lathes, let’s think about a world devoid of bedposts, pens, watches, tables, bowls, furniture parts, lamps, candlesticks, and many more. Without lathe machines, these things would not have been easily produced or with such precision.
Today almost 40% of woodworkers and artisans use lathes. If you deal with carving, drilling, molding, grinding, boring, and reaming, then you must be using a lathe machine.
In the following lines, you shall find a list of lathe machines, their uses, and most importantly, how much these lathes cost.
What Are The Different Type Of Lathe Machines
We have already discussed earlier how lathes are used variedly to produce myriad types of products. From pens to bowls and from ornaments to wooden works, lathes have helped artisans to attain their desired shape, size, and precision at work. Likewise, these machines are of various types, and their uses are specifically designed to cater to particular needs. Here are the following seven types of lathe and their average prices.
Turret Lathe Machine
This type of lathe is specifically designed to produce replicated or repetitive production parts. It is different from a general lathe due to its hexagonal turret. This turret is a tool holder which holds six tools on its handles and works on them at the same time. The machine also enables the tools to be automatically changed. Moreover, the turret lathe is able to change cutting tools in less time. This comes in direct contrast to conventional lathes, where manually changing the cutting tools took quite an amount of time. The advanced mechanism is known to increase work efficiency and that also of production in a lesser amount of time in comparison to original lathe machines.
Turret Lathe comes in various types, concerning the users’ specificities. Based on the horizontal or vertical workpiece, turret lathes differ. So does it differ with respect to control — one wants to handle it manually, or mechanically, or electronically?
Turret Lathe Machines are therefore readily beneficial when you want to produce a large number of objects with minimal work labor and consistent yet ranging speeds. The special feature is it can be operated by the least skilled personnel with ease. Machines make our life easy. Turret Lathes are one such example.
How much do they cost?
Given the utilitarian features and precision it offers, the basic range of Turret Lathe Machines comes at a reasonable amount of 10,800 to 13,800 per piece in US dollars. With every customized feature, the amount will be higher.
Engine Lathe Machine
A 19th-century debutant, a popular mechanism in a blacksmith’s workshop, an Engine Lathe is still a mass favorite. Even after a century, the machine still holds its utility and space. This type of lathe is specialized mostly in cutting metals, grooving, knurling, cutting, and turning them to produce a desired effect and design. It can produce various forms of metal and the metal sheets thus produced are generally used for manufacturing automobile engines, motorized vehicles, and other engines as well.
The machine has a saddle, bed, headstock, tailstock, etc. In this machine, the headstock is rigid and fixed, while the tailstock is movable. This helps in the knurling process. The cutting tool can also be arranged both in lateral and longitudinal positions by the feeding mechanism, as per the user’s preference.
It is also called a reproductive lathe, given its capability to produce mass-scale objects. It has been originally used for spinning and creating particular designs, this lathe can also be utilized to produce varied prints, burner nozzles, patterns, shafts, square blocks, and many more. These lathe types can still be closer to the conventional machine, but it still is competent and useful in their own right.
How much do they cost?
An Engine Lathe Machine comes at a price range of 9658 to 12,820 in US dollars. This is the very least you can get at. With the heavy task getting reduced by the machine, the amount seems justified.
CNC Lathe Machine
CNC or Computer Numeric Control Lathe Machine is the future of lathe mechanics. The digital version of conventional lathes is quickly replacing the age-old because of their accuracy, repeatability, ease of operation, and many more. A CNC generally is featured with two axes and 8 to 24 turrets on which the cutting tool works from its fixed position. No wonder why the mechanics and preferring this over the older ones.
Given the turnings of the machine, certain CNC lathes are also called CNC ‘turning’ lathes. Its rotatory actions produce precise round shapes with specific and error-free inner and outer diameters. It is capable of producing objects of varied structures as per their industrial need. Such machines are in demand in industries such as oil and gas, shipbuilding, aerospace, electronics, mining, and many more.
Certain CNCs come with both axes and incorporate a second turret as well. It might make the machine apparently complex, but it enables the machine to carry out further additional functions like milling, drilling, etc. This, in turn, requires less time and does not need to remove the piece for a second operation leading to the completion of the entire process without any hassle.
It is imperative to note that CNC lathes operate on computer programs. When the source code is fed to the computer, it eventually controls the machine and its functioning. Other than its higher rate of accuracy and speed, moderately skilled labor can operate it easily after the initial setup has been completed.
How much do they cost?
CNC lathes are highly in demand given their work efficiency and speed. It can be the costliest of the lot, the least being 15000 to 50000 in US dollars per piece. The cost can be as high as 89,000 dollars per piece, depending upon its complexity and popularity.
Automatic Lathe Machine
As the name suggests, such types of lathes work automatically. This is the basic yet modern version of standard lathes. Given its automatic features, mechanics are after this tool. It is further characterized by high speed, accurate and complicated processing, and most importantly, capable of producing mass structures. Adding to its high production efficiency, the machine is also designed to automatically shutdown at the end of the process.
Another important advantage of using Automatic lathes is their ability to control 4 to 5 machines alone at any given time. It is important to note that automatic lathes debuted in the late 19th century before the advent of CNCs. It has been widely used for metal and wood workshops, and its manual automatization made it popular.
The basic range of this lathe machine amounts to 10,000 to 30,000 US dollars per piece. Often this amount escalates with respect to the machine’s size and complexity. It is to note that certain manufacturers sell CNCs in the name of Automatic Lathe Machines, and thus the cost is higher than ordinary ones.
Tool Room Lathes are another set of complex machinery that concerns precision and high accuracy. It is specifically used for drilling, grinding, boring, and many more. It belongs to the category of metal lathe machines and is the optimized version used at tool workshops.
Such lathes come with collet closer, taper attachments, and many more. Its bed is wider than any other metal lathe machine. The headstock is attached to a gearbox. This gives the option to regulate its speed as per preference. It goes from low to high, the highest speed being 2500 rpm.
It is observed that Toolroom Lathes are designed similarly to an Engineer Lathe Machine, the only difference being the precision of the toolroom lathe. This accentuates the machine’s smooth processing and high accuracy.
How much do they cost?
The lowest price of this machine is 2800 US dollars per piece. The average market value of Toolroom Lathe depends on the brand and other features.
Speed Lathe Machine
As the name suggests, lathe machines that bring speed to your work or increase its work efficiency or production scale are called Speed Lathe Machines. Its biggest advantage is its speed and robust braking system. Such type of lathe is also called a finishing lathe.
Additionally, speed lathes induce high speed that enables faster production and output. The worker is able to, subsequently, concentrate on more workpieces. Its design is very much similar yet simpler compared to standard lathe machines. It contains the usual headstock, tailstock, tool turret, spindle, etc. But it lacks the feed machine. Hence the speed is regulated manually.
Such lathes are generally used in metal polishing, wood turning, and many more. Therefore, the spindle in it helps make baseball bats, bowls, chair legs, etc.
How much do they cost?
This type of lathe comes at a minimum range of 10,000 to 12,000 US dollars per piece. But the width of the spindle and bed of the lathe often determines its price. Hence, the price can be higher. The complexity and efficacy of the gearbox play an important role in determining the cost.
Special Purpose Lathe Machine
Such lathes are specially designed to fulfill certain criteria and carry out specific tasks. So far, it is thoroughly understood that lathes are variedly and widely used; in different industries for multiple and different tasks. Lathes are likewise optimized. This is because not all tasks can be completed on standard lathes.
There are various types of special-purpose lathes. For instance, there are bench-type jeweler’s lathes, crankshaft lathes, duplicating lathes, multi-spindle lathes, and wheel lathes, to name a few. Each of them has a specific function that they carry out with clarity and precision. Bench-type jeweler lathes are specifically made as per the jeweler’s need for the making of ornaments. Similarly, wheel lathes are used to make railroads and turn the threads of locomotives, while T lathes are used in jet engines.
How much do they cost?
The average price of special purpose lathes ranges from 4,000 to 5,000 US dollars per piece. Given its varied purposes, the pricing may vary with the inner arrangement of features.
With the world changing rapidly, demands for multiple productions are gradually increasing. The artisans, mechanics, and engineers are using modern and advanced techniques to cope with the rising demands. Lathe machines of various types have come to the rescue. Its different versions and advanced features have made life easier.
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.