Difference Between a Lathe VS a Milling Machine

Lathes and milling machines are the most commonly used CNC machines. They are used to cut materials. The difference is that the lathes are machined by turning and the milling machines are machined by milling. They work in completely different ways. To utilize either, you must know the differences between the two and what each is capable of.

Let's introduce the difference between a lathe vs a milling machine:

Lathe VS Milling Machine Processing Features Different

In a lathe, the workpiece that is being machined spins about it’s an axis, while the cutting tool does not. This is referred to as “turning”, and is effective for creating cylindrical parts. Common operations done on a lathe include drilling, boring, threading, ID and OD grooving, and parting. When looking to create quick, repeatable, and symmetrical cylindrical parts, the lathe machine is the best choice.

Lathe processing features are as follows:

  • Lathes spin the material, for different cutting operations.
  • It creates cylindrical parts using outside diameter & inside diameter cutting tools of varying sizes and shapes.
  • The material spins on a chuck while a tool cuts away material.
  • It's Used for Turning operation which Removes excess material From rotating workpiece with the using single point cutting tool.
Lathe Processing

Need to know is that the lathe has two kinds of manual lathes and CNC lathes. Their processing efficiency and precision are different. Usually, the CNC lathe is more precise and stable. Some CNC lathes also have the function of milling. We call it CNC turning center.

A milling machine spins the tool to cut material that is held stationary in a fixture or a vise. Milling machines use cylindrical cutting tools, such as end mills and drills, to remove material to make a finished part.

Milling machine processing features are as follows:

  • A milling machine uses a spinning tool for different cutting operations.
  • A Milling Machine spins the tool to cut material that is held stationary in a fixture or a vise.
  • Milling machines use cylindrical cutting tools, such as end mills and drills, to remove material to make a finished part.
  • There are two methods used in milling: Up-milling and Down-milling
milling machine processing

Milling machines are divided into manual milling machines and CNC milling machines according to the degree of automation. There are vertical CNC milling machines and horizontal CNC milling machines according to the use. CNC milling machines usually have automatic tool changers, while manual milling machines require manual tool change. CNC milling machines are more efficient and precise

Lathe VS Milling Machine Cutting Tools Different

Lathes and milling machines have different cutting tools. The lathe is mainly cut with a blade, or the turret can be selected to reduce the number of blade replacements. When we are working on small parts, we can choose the way of arranging the knives, which is faster. When we process longer parts, it is better to choose a CNC lathe with a turret, which has better rigidity.

Lathe Cutting Tools

The milling machine's most commonly used type of tool is the end mill, which is placed in the spindle and spins at various speeds depending on the type of material being cut. End mills can be used in lathes, but they are usually used only in the spindle of a milling machine.

Milling Machine Cutting Tools

Lathe VS Milling Machine Video

The video can more intuitively understand the difference between lathe and milling machine

Lathe VS Milling Machine Conclusion

The best reason to use a milling machine for an upcoming project is the versatility. The tooling options for a milling machine are endless, with hundreds of available specialty cutting tools and various styles of end mills which make sure you are covered from start to finish on each job.

While lathe machines are more limited in use than a milling machine, they are superior for cylindrical parts. While a mill can make the same cuts that a lathe does, it may need multiple setups to create the same part. When continuous production of cylindrical parts is necessary, a lathe will outperform the mill and increase both performance and efficiency.

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