What is a lathe, and how does it work?
A lathe is a large machine tool that looks much like a common workbench. It rotates a workpiece around a central
axis, shaping the spinning workpiece symmetrically using a single blade, which remains stationary. (A milling
machine is similar in function but uses one or more moving cutting tools.) The lathe cuts, sands, knurls, drills,
deforms, faces, and turns objects of many materials, including wood, plastics, and metal.
Lathes have followed a long evolutionary process. We know the Egyptians were using a two-man lathe in 1300
BCE. The ancient Romans made improvements, and by the Middle Ages, the lathes were pedal-operated. The
Industrial Age brought the steam engine to lathing, and today we have CNC (Computer Numerical Control)
All lathes have the same basic structure in common, namely the bed, the frame, and the main spindle, which
rotates the workpiece between the headstock and tailstock. The tool rest, below the workpiece, holds the cutting
What types of lathes are there?
Although most lathes are horizontal, vertical lathes are useful for some applications. Simple lathes are manually
operated, and others are power-driven. Some lathes are designed for specific purposes, such as producing a
certain finished product or achieving a given level of precision. The CNC lathes are guided by computer software.
There are many variants of lathes; choosing the right one for you will depend upon the material you’ll be lathing,
the size and complexity of the workpieces, whether you are a weekend hobbyist of a professional machinist, and
so on. At APT International, you will find all manner of second-hand lathes to fit your needs and your budget.
What do I need to know to operate a lathe safely?
If a lathe does not have an automatic loading system, a qualified person is required to operate it. Do take time to
acquire proper training, read the operating instructions, and acquaint yourself with the safety regulations. Use a
lathe that is suitable for the material you’re working with. Due to the fast rotational speeds and high temperatures,
protective clothing is required, and since particles may fly off the work, certified safety glasses are essential. Keep
jewelry, loose clothing, and long hair well away from the machine.
In the case of CNC lathes, the operator needs enough computer literacy to program the machine’s operation.
What are the best-known brands?
If you want to buy a second-hand lathe, you should choose one from the most reputable manufacturers. APT
International offers second-hand lathes from the following brands: EMKO, MORI SEIKI, GILDEMEISTER,
MAZAK, ERNAULT & SOMUA, OKUMA, HOESCH, TRAUB, COLCHESTER, DEMOOR, TOS, ARLO, LNS,
PINACHO, SCULFORT, GEMINIS, SCHIESS, INDEX, and more.
Completely refurbished and tested second-hand lathes
At APT International, all our lathes are completely overhauled. The machines are returned to their original
condition. Moreover, we can restore or upgrade a lathe according to your specific requests. You will buy nothing
but fully approved, like-new, and up-to-date lathing machines at APT International.
Why buy second-hand lathes from us?
We specialize in the purchase and sale of second-hand industrial production machinery, such as lathes, millingmachines, grinders, presses, and much more. We take care of the dismantling, transport, and installation of the
machinery worldwide, ensuring a seamless transaction. We have 30.000 m² of machinery in stock.
APT International has more than 30 years of experience. We are a well-established and reliable dealer in the
used machinery market, and our technicians have unparalleled expertise. Do you have questions about finding a
specific machine, finance, transport, or safety? Contact us—our friendly and knowledgeable staff are pleased to help!