Wood Lathe Vs Metal Lathe | Which Is Right For You?

Wood Lathe vs Metal Lathe

Ask a friend who works in a manufacturing factory over which versatile machine he loves to use the most!

Undoubtedly, the answer will be a lathe! After all, why not! But the question is which one from Wood lathe Vs Metal lathe?

A lathe comes in handy during so many different situations because of its multi-functional nature. Not only can it cut and drill work pieces, but it also helps to deform, sand, turn, and face with perfect precision.

Lathes are defined based on how the targeted metal parts are held in them.

While a static metal is exposed to a revolving metal blade by the machine tools, lathes come into play by making the spinning metal piece come into contact with a motorized cutter.

There are different types of lathes, but guess what? They all have the same operating procedure. After your work piece is placed on the milling machine, it is rotated against a static cutting instrument.

Despite the similarity, lathes are sometimes categorized into “wood” or “metal.” Now you might be wondering, what can be the differences between lathes of wood and that of metal ones, right?

Don’t worry; we will explicitly answer your question, but before that, let’s take a look at their basic definition! 

What is a Wood Lathe?

What do you call a lathe that is particularly built for applications revolving woodwork? The answer is easy – a wood lathe.

We can also put it differently – wood lathes are the kind of tool necessary to cut and deform anything made up of food. You can also face, sand and drill them if you have advanced skills – all with the help of a wood lathe. 

So how do their mechanisms work?

Just like every other type of lathes, these one functions by bringing a spinning work piece into contact with a sharp cutting device that is not moving rather still in a fixed position.

However, wood lathes can only cut specifically wooden work pieces. Unfortunately, non-wooden work pieces like metal and steel are not suitable in case of wood lathes.

Interesting topic:Reliable wood lathe-Nova Comet II Review

What is a Metal Lathe?

Previously we looked into what a wood lathe is and how it works, now let’s meet his friend – a metal lathe!

A metal lathe is very similar to a wood lathe in terms of basic mechanism and appearance but is mostly used to carry out applications revolving metalwork. 

What is a Metal Lathe Used For?

Let us tell you another significant fact about metal lathes! They are incredibly sturdy and powerful. Yes, more than any other lathes! Why is that? 

You see, metals have a sea of delocalized electrons positively bonded which makes them stronger than anything made out of wood.

So in order to be able to cut these “mighty metals,” the lathes are built particularly that way – super strong. The welds made of steel, iron, aluminum, and other familiar metals can be assertively modified and distorted.

Wood lathe Vs Metal lathe, Which Is Right For Your Needs?

The key distinction between lathes made of wood and metallic lathes is that the first one is built in such a way that it can only cut timber welds or things made up of light material like plastic.

On the other hand, metallic lathes serve all types of work pieces – be it be made of wood, steel, aluminum, or similar ones. 

Secondly, lathes made of wood, apart from their commonly applicable functions, are comparatively smaller and easier to use than metallic lathes.

To construct a metal lathe, you need extremely high temperatures and electricity, all of which are very costly.

On the other hand, wooden lathes are simple in structure and likewise are affordable and cheaper than most metal lathes in the local workshops.

Thirdly, a simple pulley mechanism determines the velocity the wooden lathes should spin welds at.

They do not yield as much leverage as metal lathes do, but lathes of wood are highly efficient in controlling welds of wood, at least better than how a metal lathe would do it.

On the contrary, metallic lathes are mostly needed to be combined with a rugged milling cutter, which is fixed to gear teeth that rotate. The metal work piece is mounted on the lathe.

Afterward, the sharp milling cutter is pressed onto its surface.

Last but not least, wooden lathes are generally contacted for works related to decorations and furniture, and not architectural materials like metal lathes.

Not to forget about the spindle RPM of metal lathes, which is slow, unlike wood lathes, because the metal is tougher to deform than welds made up of wood.

Related: Lathe Vs Mill | Let’s Find Out The Differences

Which Lathe Should You Choose?

There are lots of very cheap lathes on the market that can get you cheered up with ordinary level works, but as soon as you proceed to deal with advanced cutting, they will start to display their limitations.

So how should you determine the best lathe amongst many varieties? 

Tip One: The heavier, the better! No other properties work better to reduce vibrations than the weight of the lathe itself. 

Tip Two: Try to prioritize a lathe that is cast, not the one that is fabricated, although it’s going to be more expensive. 

Tip Three: Always keep in mind that the cutting execution of your lathe relies on how greatly it is bench-mounted.

Frequently Asked Question

Q: Can you use a Metal Lathe for Wood?

Answer: Of course, you can. You can surely use a metal lathe to cut and drill woods.

However, the vice versa is not applicable – you can never use a wood lathe to cut down metal lathes because it’s usually smaller, weaker, and flimsier. 

Final Thoughts

Rebuilding has made tremendous success over the years, and is no more just a medium to produce welding materials, but is rapidly spreading the reputation of an artistic endeavor.

To power this huge growth in numbers of consumers, many factories of carpentry and metal-vending machines have quickly added lathes to their tool collections to keep up with increasing demands.

Be it a metal lathe or a wooden one or wood and metal lathe combo; both lathes are incredibly useful in this modern world in their respective creative ways.

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