Guangdong JSWAY CNC Machine Tool Co., Ltd. since 2004

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What is a CNC Lathe and How Does it Work?


A CNC lathe, also known as a computer numerical control lathe, is a highly advanced machining tool that revolutionized the manufacturing industry. It combines traditional turning techniques with cutting-edge automation technology to produce precise and intricate parts. The heart of this machine lies in its computer control system, which interprets design specifications and translates them into specific movements for the cutting tools. This allows for exceptional accuracy and repeatability in shaping various materials such as metal, plastic, or wood. With their ability to handle complex geometries and execute multiple operations simultaneously, CNC lathes have become indispensable in industries ranging from aerospace engineering to automotive manufacturing. These machines boast an array of impressive features like automatic tool changers, live tooling capabilities, and even robotic loaders/unloaders for continuous production cycles. By eliminating human error and streamlining the production process, CNC lathes not only enhance productivity but also ensure consistent high-quality output at an astonishing pace.

CNC lathes can be programmed in two ways – either by using the CAD/CAM system or directly through the CNC machine. These machines are highly preferred by manufacturing industries as it provides these advantages:

1. Speedy Production (production is time-bound)

2. Easy swapping of tools (versatile and flexible)

3. Produces items that are accurate to the required measurement

4. Cost-Efficient and Dependable(produces less material waste)

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CNC lathe machines are designed mainly to perform CNC Turning services, such as – Drilling, Grooving, Parting, Tapping, Facing, and Milling. CNC Lathe machining performs several processes to produce work-pieces. The most basic thing to do before everything else is to upload the program (G-code programming) through the CAD/CAM software to provide instructions to the machine tool so it would know what or how to shift in order to produce work-pieces that are accurate to the required shape and dimension.

This type of CNC machine is commonly utilized by industries such as:





Oil and Gas



Items produced by CNC Lathes include everyday objects such as bowls, legs of your dining table, baseball bats, musical instruments and a lot more.


In terms of classification, Lathes are segregated based on its spindle, number of movement axes, and work requirements. The most common, however, are through its spindle and axis – There are 2-axis, 3-axis, 4-axis, and 5-axis CNC Lathes. There is also a newer innovation, a 6-axis lathe – also dubbed as, “Multiple Spindle Machines” – this type of CNC lathe is more flexible and packed with advanced features in contrast to its predecessors. These lathes perform differently depending on the number of axes. CNC Lathes are also classified based on its spindle or its “axis of rotation”- it could either be Horizontal or Vertical. For bigger work-pieces, Vertical CNC Lathes are more recommended.


When navigating CNC Lathes, there are five basic steps that you should follow to ensure safety for both worker and machine. Below are the steps to follow –

1. Power DOWN your CNC Lathes – To avoid unnecessary workplace accidents, be sure that the machine is completely powered down (meaning, there should be ZERO chance that it might accidentally run or else this could harm workers and damage the machinery).

2. Place the part SECURELY – Tighten the screws properly.

3. Choose and place your preferred tool – This type of CNC machine is able to utilize and perform a variety of machining techniques. To do so, you need to use tools and this machine is able to cater a wide range of tools. All you need to do is to identify the tools that should be used for that design and load it to the tool turret.

4. Check if the tools are neatly and properly placed – Before turning the machine on, be sure to check thoroughly – adjust the tools accordingly if needed. Check it through the machine’s learning eye. Warm the machine first before proceeding – test its speed and accuracy. Once the tools are positioned correctly, rest assured that the operation will go smoothly as expected. Remember, incorrect positioning of the tools could lead to collision and in turn, damage the tools.

5. Upload the program to the CAD/CAM System – Once everything is secured – and is technically safe to operate – load up the program and allow the machine to execute the uploaded instructions. If it is properly maintained, you will be guaranteed with a timely production with accurate and precise work-pieces.

During the production process, be sure to remain alert for possible adjustments or troubles that could lead to accidents. After the production, routinely remove or dust-off chips and debris from the CNC Lathe’s surface to avoid clogging and degrading the performance of your machine. Arrange your tools properly and make sure that none are missing. Once satisfied, you may turn off your machinery.


JSWAY is a professional CNC lathe machine manufacturer. We have been committed to the research and development of
CNC lathes since 2004. Our products have been exported to many countries and regions around the world. Our CNC lathes are widely used in industries such as aerospace, maritime, petroleum, electronics, medical equipment, and so on. With advanced technology and reliable quality, our products have won praises from customers all over the world.We have a strong technical team and perfect after-sales service. We believe that only by providing customers with high-quality products and services can we win their trust and support. Contact us!

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