Understanding CNC Lathe Parts and Terminology | Epic Tool
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Understanding CNC Lathe Parts and Terminology

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

In this blog, we explain CNC lathe parts and common terminology used in the industry.

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 (CNC), so it follows the instructions provided 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 positioned around the material cut into it. In CNC machining, the tools remain stationary while the material moves.

Finally, an operator uses the computer program to communicate to the CNC lathe on how the material should be cut. The result is a precise tool part made to exact specifications.    

What are the parts of a CNC lathe?

There are several main parts of a CNC lathe and each plays 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 crucial 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, such as 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 used to control the lathe’s movements. This is usually controlled through instructions from a computer program but it has manual control options as well.

Epic Tool Provides CNC Tooling Solutions in Ontario

The team at Epic Tool can manufacture just about any tool that can fit within the parameters of our CNC lathe or milling machines. We work with the automotive, aerospace, mold & die, and power generation industries.

If you are in need of carbide cutting tools in Ontario, contact us today!