Mini Lathe Guide

In the field of lathe machines, the term "mini lathe" usually refers to bench lathes, bench top turning machines, and other small sized turning centers with the so called mini concepts. These mini metal lathes can perform a series of complex turning tasks with their small but compact mechanical structure and tools just like conventional metal lathes with their tools.

The most common metal lathe spindle is driven by belt. This is powerful tools in the metal lathe accessories. The belt driven spindle is a type of spindle that has been developed for a long time whose power is not in-built. It is one of the most important and critical rotating mechanical components used to hold and drive the work piece on the metal lathe machine or in some cases connected with the tools. The driving power of the spindle varies due to different structural designs and the power control is not complicated as well as tools’ control. Most turning spindles are belt driven, and there are other driving types, which are available in various blue engineering for the metal lathe study as well as tool, accessories, and power supply.

The turning spindle can be driven in a variety of powerful ways, and the methods are also different due to different processing requirements and accessories. And the mini metal lathe accessories such as mini tools are to be considered. For example, the cartridge assembly is placed in a fixed space, and the angled spindle is designed to allow rotation within a specific angle range. Some mini machine tools’ spindles are installed in solid block or box-shaped housings, and some are fixed to the bottom of the housing with flanges or feet. Most machine tools’ spindles suitable for cutting are designed with taper or additional taper tools.


For mechanical engineers, everything is treated as a variable rather than a parameter, including the accessories, because in essence, the driving power mechanism is more like an optional but sufficient condition for the metal lathes and other machine tools such as mini machine tools. Accessories are complex variables and engineers have to calculate them into it.

The difference between the turning spindle and the metal lathe spindle is not significant as well as their corresponding accessories. In the past, metal lathes were equipped with belt driven spindles and other tools. This was because the spindle and tools design at that time was very simple and there were not many options on the market, so the differences are at minimum. The belt driven spindle for metal lathes has many excellent features, and its structure is designed to be easy to maintain as well as the cutting tools and accessories. Therefore, even if today's milling and turning machine manufacturers have more spindle types to choose from, belt driven spindles are still very popular. It is simply tools to engineers.

On the other hand, motorized spindles are popular in the high-end lathe field, such as turning centers with power turrets and some turning and milling centers with multiple spindles on the front and back. Motorized spindle, the built-in spindles, has many convenient advantages, such as high torque, no tooth loss issue, great stability, etc. There is no absolute advantage or disadvantage between the belt driven spindle and the motorized spindle as well as the tools and the connection methods of tools. The best solution should be selected according to the actual application.

Turning Phase Arrangement

Most small or mini lathes are designed with conventional horizontal turning layout. Horizontal lathes are the longest developed type of lathes and are the most widely used in the industrial field. The horizontal structure makes the mini lathe easy to use and maintain. Therefore, for users, there is no standard answer to the choice between a horizontal one or a vertical one, but only need to make a choice based on the processing requirements.

The development of powered turrets, live tools, automatic pallet changers and the 4th axis is the current popular trend because they can add versatility to the lathe. In order to make better use of these accessories, a lathe with milling function can be upgraded to a turning center, or a turning and milling center, which is very different from ordinary lathes in many aspects.

In the lathe category, the CNC lathe for general purposes is a common and popular turning model. It belongs to the traditional and conservative type and can handle most turning tasks for machine operators and business owners. This type of lathe is widely used in the industrial field and their accessories are of broad choices. However, there are neither standards nor restrictions on the design and specifications of CNC lathes. Generally speaking, either a horizontal structure or a vertical structure is possible, but the former is more popular in the industry.

When it comes to the classification of general turning machines, just like the case of CNC lathes, there are two main types in this category. One of them is a vertical lathe and the other is a horizontal lathe. Tools can connect to both perfectly since tools are flexible. The same is to other accessories. In a vertical lathe, the work piece is fixed vertically, and the cutting tool is installed in same direction, so the machining is performed vertically. In this arrangement, compared with a horizontal lathe, the clamping mechanism will be more stable due to gravity, and the same situation applies to other corresponding accessories. Manufacturers of vertical lathes usually extend their vertical lathes into high quality manufacturing equipment for various industries.

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