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What is the difference between a lathe and a milling machine?
- Mar 20, 2018 -

Lathes and milling machines both used for cutting raw materials, but have very different ways of doing it. Lathes spin the material while the milling machines uses a rotary tool for multiple cutting operations. To use, you should know the differences between the two, and that everyone is capable of.


Lathe machine create cylindrical outer and inner diameter with different sizes and shapes of cut. The material on the mandrel is rotated while the short distance materials tool. The tool is attached to a pole tool or tail stock.

Milling machine rotates the cutting tool material is held stationary in a fixture or vise. Milling machines use cylindrical cutting tools, such as milling cutters and drills to remove material from the final product.

Cutting Tools

The main tool used in a lathe is cutting insert, which is used by the removable tip to cut and shape the outside of the molding material into the clamping jaws. This type of cutting tool is not used in the milling machine. The most commonly used type of milling machine is an end mill, which is placed on a spindle and rotated at different speeds, depending on the type of material being processed. End mills can be used on lathes, but generally are used only in the milling machine spindle.


If you need to cut the material, which is cylindrical, you can choose a lathe. Better at work, as well as the cutting material will be much easier because of the nature of the machine. You can drill only on the center lathe, so if you need off-center hole or make straight cuts in metal, you’ll be better to put this material in a vise or fixture and cutting it with a milling machine. Angled cuts, and all that should remain non-cylindrical, it is better to cut on a milling machine.


Setting up a lathe involves less precision, as the chuck itself will center the part for cutting. When installing the clamping jaws, make sure that they are equidistant from the center. This will prevent any errors during cutting.

To use the milling machine, you should measure the vise or fixture to make sure that it is right. To do this, use the dial indicator on the shaft and press vise as long as perfectly straight. Retighten the retention bolts and recheck for straightness, making whatever adjustments as needed.

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