A used CNC lathe may be as simple as a 2-axis turning center or a 5-axis machining center able to machine from any angle. In the most basic terms, a CNC lathe is a machining tool driven by computer controls with the primary machining operation as turning. It turns a workpiece which is held by a collet in a spindle. Many shops install bar feeders on their CNC lathes so they can run continuously and even make parts lights out.
Any CNC lathe with 3 or more axes is a combination of both turning and milling machining processes. Think of the CNC lathe as first a turning center, and then a milling center. These machines are sophisticated and can make a large variety of parts. A typical 5-Axis CNC lathe process will start with turning the part, then mill both on and off centerline and end with the most complicated Y-Axis movements. In comparison, a 5-axis mill has its workpiece on a moving table instead of in a spindle.
So, how do you narrow down the type of used CNC lathes to purchase? Youll want to think about part complexity, part mix, and the average number of parts to be run per setup. The top CNC lathe brands we see in the market today are Haas, Mazak, DMG, Doosan, Star, Citizen, Tsugami, and Okuma.