Types Of Lathe Machine | How lathe machines are Classified


Lathe is the oldest machine tool invented, starting with the Egyptian tree lathes. It is the father of all machine tools. Its main function is to remove material from a work piece to produce the required shape and size. This is accomplished by holding the work piece securely and rigidly on the machine and then turning it against the cutting tool which will remove material from the work piece in the form of chips. It is used to machine cylindrical parts. Generally single point cutting tool is used. In the year 1797 Henry Maudslay, an Englishman, designed the first screw cutting lathe which is the forerunner of the present day high speed, heavy duty production lathe.

Read more : Introduction Lathe Machine-Types Of Lathe Machine,Lathe Machine parts

lathe parts types
lathe parts types

Classification of lathes / Types Of Lathe Machine 

Lathes are very versatile of wide use and are classified according to several aspects:

According to configuration:

  • Horizontal – Most common for ergonomic conveniences.
  • Vertical – Occupies less floor space, only some large lathes are of this type.

According to purpose of use:

  • General purpose – Very versatile where almost all possible types of operations are carried out on wide ranges of size, shape and materials of jobs; e.g.: centre lathes.
  • Single purpose – Only one (occasionally two) type of operation is done on limited ranges of size and material of jobs; e.g.: facing lathe, roll turning lathe etc.
  • Special purpose – Where a definite number and type of operations are done repeatedly over long time on a specific type of blank; e.g.: capstan lathe, turret lathe, gear blanking lathe etc.

According to size or capacity:

  • Small (low duty) – In such light duty lathes (up to 1.1 kW), only small and medium size jobs of generally soft and easily machinable materials are machined.
  • Medium (medium duty) – These lathes of power nearly up to 11 kW are most versatile and commonly used.
  • Large (heavy duty)
  • Mini or micro lathe – These are tiny table-top lathes used for extremely small size jobs and precision work; e.g.: Swiss type automatic lathe.

According to configuration of the jobs being handled:

  • Bar type – Slender rod like jobs being held in collets.
  • Chucking type – Disc type jobs being held in chucks.
  • Housing type – Odd shape jobs, being held in face plate.

According to precision:

  • Ordinary
  • Precision (lathes) – These sophisticated lathes meant for high accuracy and finish and are relatively more expensive.

According to number of spindles:

  • Single spindle – Common.
  • Multi-spindle (2, 4, 6 or 8 spindles) – Such uncommon lathes are suitably used for fast and mass production of small size and simple shaped jobs.

According to type of automation:

  • Fixed automation – Conventional; e.g.: single spindle automat & Swiss type automatic lathe
  • Flexible automation – Modern; e.g.: CNC lathe, turning centre etc.
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