A CNC lathe is essential to the machining process, but what is it exactly?

In this blog, D&E Machine explains CNC lathe parts and terminology.

What is a CNC lathe?

A CNC lathe, also known as a turning machine, is the main tool used in CNC turning. It is operated by Computer Numerical Controls, so it follows the instructions given by a computer program.

The lathe holds a raw piece of material, such as metal, wood, or plastic, and spins it at high speeds while tools stationed around the material cut into it. In CNC turning, the tools remain stationary while the material moves.

An operator uses the computer program to tell the CNC lathe how the material should be cut. The result is a precise part or component that was made exactly to specifications.

What are the parts of a CNC lathe?

There are several main parts of a CNC lathe, and they all have an important role.


The first part of the lathe is the headstock, where the motor is housed. This motor controls the main spindle, which is important for spinning the material to be cut.


On the other end is the tailstock, which provides additional support for the material being turned. The material is held on one end by the chuck, and the other end is supported by the tailstock.


The chuck is the piece that firmly holds the material being spun. It has jaws that allow it to clamp around the part to remain tight and secure during the cutting process.

Tool Turret

The tool turret is where the cutting tools are mounted. They can usually hold a variety of external and internal tools.

Foot Pedals

Foot pedals have several uses, including locking and unlocking the material in the chuck. It can also be used as a safety stop.

CNC Control Panel

The CNC control panel is what is used to control the lathe’s movements. This is usually controlled through instructions from a computer program, but it also has manual controls.

Related Post: CNC Milling and Turning Terminology

D&E Machine Provides CNC Turning Services in Ohio

The team at D&E Machine can reproduce or reverse engineer just about anything that can fit within the parameters of our CNC lathe or milling machines. We have many success stories on our website where we exceeded our customers’ needs.
If you need machining services in Lebanon, OH,  request a quote from us today, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.