Best Metal Lathes [2022] for Turning Metals

Best Metal Lathes [2022] for Turning Metals

Best Metal Lathes [2022] for Turning Metals

Metal lathes are powerful machines used to turn metal workpieces into desired shapes.

They are one of the oldest machines that can be used for various applications, ranging from manufacturing simple nails to complex turbine blades.

Metal lathes are available in different sizes and configurations, that offer different capabilities.

This article lists and reviews the best metal lathes suited for hobbyists and small businesses.

The article also provides insights on things to look for when buying a metal lathe.

MellowPine is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, I may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

Best Metal Lathes in 2022

Best Metal LathesPrice
1Eastwood Metal LatheAmazon
2TECHTONGDA Metal LatheAmazon
3Grizzly G0602Amazon
4JET BDB-919Amazon
5KENT MLX-2060TKent USA

Best metal lathes

1. Eastwood Benchtop Mini Metal Lathe

Eastwood Benchtop Mini Metal Lathe
Eastwood benchtop mini metal lathe
Eastwood benchtop mini metal lathe
Center Distance12"
Swing7"
Motor3/4hp
Spindle DirectionForward/Reverse
Variable Speed0 - 2,500 RPM
Range of thread manufacturing12 - 52 TPI
0.4 - 2.0 mm
Warranty1-year

A quick overview of Eastwood benchtop mini metal lathe

The mini benchtop metal lathe from Eastwood is a lightweight machine and weighs around 90 lbs.

It has an all-metal construction except for the gearings, which are made of high-quality plastic.

However, if your application requires working with hard metals, you can replace these plastic gears with metal gears for better strength and durability.

Eastwood mini metal lathe has a footprint of around 27.75" x 8.75" and sits on top of a chip tray that comes with the machine.

It can house metal workpieces up to 12" in length and 7" in diameter. The maximum compound travel of the tool post is 2.75" and the carriage travel is 10.5".

Eastwood mini metal lathe allows you to cut threads within the range of 12–52 TPI (threads per inch).

It has a 3" spindle mounted on the headstock, which is MT3 tapered, and the tailstock is MT2 tapered, with a travel of around 2.5".

There is a forward/off/reverse switch on the electrical enclosure. You can use it to turn the motor in forward and reverse directions.

A variable speed control knob is placed next to the forward/off/reverse switch. You can use it to regulate the spindle's speed anywhere between 0 and 2,500 RPM.

The machine comes with a 3-jaw chuck attached to the headstock. An additional set of three external jaws are provided for external diameter work holding.

List of accessories
Set of 4 Hex Keys (3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm)
Chuck key
8mm x 10mm and 14mm x 17mm Double Open-End Wrench
Morse Taper No. 2 Dead Center
External Chuck Jaws
2 Pc. HSS Cutter Set
Tool Holder
Spare Fuse
Oil Dispenser
Tooth Plastic Gear
(30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, and 65)

List of accessories that come with Eastwood benchtop mini metal lathe

Eastwood benchtop mini lathe ships as a semi-assembled kit with detailed assembly documentation on their website.

For the mini metal lathe, Eastwood provides a one-year warranty, and you can contact them via email, phone, or using the "contact us" form on their website.

Eastwood Benchtop Mini Metal Lathe
It has a center distance of 12 inches and a swing of 7 inches.
A 3/4hp motor with variable speed drives the spindle.
Eastwood provides it with a warranty of one year.

2. TECHTONGDA Inch Thread Metal Lathe

TECHTONGDA Inch Thread Metal Lathe
TECHTONGDA Inch Thread Metal Lathe
TECHTONGDA Inch Thread Metal Lathe
Center Distance11.8" - 23.6"
Swing7" - 8.3"
Motor0.8hp, 1.2hp, 1.47hp
Spindle DirectionForward/Reverse
Variable Speed50 - 2,500 RPM
Range of thread manufacturing8 - 44 TPI or 10 - 44 TPI
Warranty6 months

A quick overview of TECHTONGDA inch thread metal lathe

TECHTONGDA metal lathe is a benchtop metal lathe. It is available in three different configurations. All of them have an all-metal construction (including the gears).

7" X 12" Lathe8" X 16" Lathe8" X 23" Lathe
Center Distance11.8"15.7"23.6"
Swing over bed7"8.3"8.3"
Motor power600W (0.80hp)900W (1.2hp)1100W (1.47hp)
Range of Inch Threads10 - 44 TPI8 - 44 TPI8 - 44 TPI
Footprint27.9" x 11.8" x 13.0"31.9" x 11.8" x 13.8"38.2" x 11.8" x 13.4".
Weight99 lbs150 lbs165 lbs

Comparison of the variants of TECHTONGDA Inch Thread Metal Lathe

Note that the footprint and weight vary for each model. The base model has a footprint of 27.9" x 11.8" x 13.0" and weighs around 99 lbs.

These lathes can be used for performing threading operations within the range of 10–44 TPI.

TECHTONGDA metal lathes are powered by brushless motors having reverse turning and variable speed control capability.

A variable speed control knob is placed next to the digital screen readout that displays the spindle speed.

You can use the speed control knob to regulate the spindle's speed anywhere between 50 and 2,500 RPM.

The spindle of the 7" x 12" model is MT3 tapered, but for the 8" x 16" and 8" X 23" models, it's MT5 tapered. Although on all models, the tailstocks are MT2 tapered.

TECHTONGDA Inch Thread Metal Lathe
Parts of TECHTONGDA metal lathe

TECHTONGDA metal lathe has an emergency stop button, which, in case of an emergency, can be used to break the circuit immediately.

It ships as a pre-assembled unit that requires verification and tightening of parts and connections to ensure safe usage and good accuracy.

TECHTONGDA provides a six-month warranty for this machine, and you'll get the contact details with the machine.

TECHTONGDA Metal Lathe
It is available in three different models.
Each has different motor configurations.
TECHTONGDA provides it with a warranty for 6 months.

3. Grizzly G0602

Grizzly G0602
Grizzly G0602 metal lathe
Grizzly G0602 metal lathe
Center Distance22"
Swing9.5"
Motor1hp
Spindle DirectionForward/Reverse
Variable Speed6 speeds
(150, 300, 560, 720, 1200, 2400 RPM)
Range of thread manufacturing8 – 72 TPI
Warranty1 year

A quick overview of Grizzly G0602 metal lathe

G0602 benchtop metal lathe from Grizzly is a lightweight machine weighing around 90 lbs.

It has an all-metal construction and weighs around 447 lbs. Its footprint measures 49.25 x 22.25 x 21.25, including the bottom tray.

Grizzly G0602 can house metal workpieces up to 22" in length and 9.5" in diameter.

Its spindle is MT4 tapered, and the tailstock is MT3 tapered. The tailstock has a travel of 2.5".

The lathe is powered by a 1hp single-phase motor. It can turn the workpiece in forward and reverse directions.

There is a forward/off/reverse switch on the electrical enclosure. You can use it to turn the motor in forward and reverse directions.

You can also vary the spindle speed between six presets: 150, 300, 560, 720, 1200, and 2400 RPM.

By default, Grizzly G0602 has both plastic and metal gears installed on the drive. If you want, you can replace the plastic gears with metal gears.

The machine comes with the following accessories.

List of accessories
4-Way Tool Post
5" 3-Jaw Chuck with Two Sets of Jaws
6-1/2" 4-Jaw Chuck with Reversible Jaws
8" Face Plate
Follow Rest
MT#3 Dead Center
Steady Rest
Tool Box with Tool Kit

List of accessories that come with Grizzly G0602 benchtop metal lathe

You can also purchase optional accessories like a stand, tool sets, live center, etc. from their official website.

Grizzly G0602 benchtop metal lathe ships as a semi-assembled kit that needs to be assembled by the user.

The assembly details are provided in the user manual. In addition, they have separately documented the spec sheet and the parts list.

Grizzly offers G0602 a warranty for one year. For queries, you can contact them through phone and email.

Grizzly G0602
It has a center distance of 22 inches and a swing of 9.5 inches.
A 1hp motor drives the spindle and you can switch between 6 speeds.
Grizzly provides G0602 with a 1-year warranty.

4. JET BDB-919

JET BDB-919 metal lathe
JET BDB-919 metal lathe
JET BDB-919 (321378)
Center Distance18"
Swing8.75"
Motor3/4hp
Spindle DirectionForward/Reverse
Variable Speed6 speeds
(130 – 2000 RPM)
Range of thread manufacturing8 – 56 TPI
Warranty2 years

A quick overview of the JET BDB-919 metal lathe

JET BDB-919 is a metal lathe from JET Tools, popular manufacturer known for their metalworking and woodworking machines.

BDB-919 has an all-metal (cast iron and steel) construction and weighs around 250 lbs. Its footprint measures 41" x 22" x 20".

It has a benchtop design by default, but you can also upgrade it with JET's optional stand.

JET BDB-919 can house metal workpieces up to 18" in length and 8.75" in diameter.

Its spindle is MT3 tapered, and the tailstock is MT2 tapered with a maximum travel of 1.5".

JET BDB-919 metal lathe controls
Control switches on JET BDB-919 metal lathe

This lathe is powered by a 3/4 hp single-phase motor, which can turn in forward and reverse directions.

The top of the headstock is mounted with controls such as power button, forward/reverse switch, and an emergency stop button.

You can vary the spindle speed by switching between six presets: 130, 300, 400, 600, 1000, and 2000 RPM.

The machine comes with the following accessories.

List of accessories
7-1/4” Four-Jaw Independent Chuck
4” Three-Jaw Universal Chuck
Faceplate
Four-Way Tool Post
Steady Rest
Follow Rest
Chuck Reversing Jaws, Set of 3
MT-2 Center
MT-3 Center
Gears (56T, 52T, 48T, 46T, 45T, 44T, 40T, 38T, 32T, 30T, and 28T)
Female Chuck Key
Male Chuck Keys
Cross Point Screwdriver
Flat Blade Screwdriver
5pc Hex Wrench Set
Open End Wrenches – 8/10mm, 12/14mm
4mm T-Handle Hex Wrench

List of accessories that come with JET BDB-919 metal lathe

It ships as a semi-assembled kit with a detailed user manual for easy assembly.

JET BDB-919 benchtop metal lathe comes with a two-year warranty, and you can contact their customer service via phone or email.

JET BDB-919
It has a center distance of 18 inches and a swing of 8.75 inches.
A 3/4hp motor drives the spindle and you can switch between 6 different speeds.
JET provides BDB-919 with a 2-year warranty.

5. KENT MLX-2060T - Best Industrial Metal Lathe

KENT MLX-2060T metal lathe
KENT MLX-2060T metal lathe (Source: Kent USA)
KENT MLX-2060T
Center Distance57"
Swing20"
Motor10hp
Spindle DirectionForward/Reverse
Variable Speed12 speeds
Range of thread manufacturing2 - 72 TPI
WarrantyRequest info

KENT MLX-2060T metal lathe

MLX-2060T from KENT is an industrial-grade precision metal lathe with many safety features.

The machine has a cast-iron build, and weighs around 4,560 lbs.

It has a footprint of 115" x 39" x 63" and can house workpieces up to 57" in length and 20" in diameter.

MLX-2060T sits on top of a stand with a front pull-out chip tray and a full-length safety foot brake.

Its MT5 tapered spindle has a through-hole diameter of 3.125", and is powered by a 10 hp motor.

Control knobs and switches of MLX-2060T metal lathe
Control knobs and switches of MLX-2060T (Source: Kent USA)

You can vary the spindle speed between 12 presets: 26, 40, 60, 90, 105, 145, 205, 305, 510, 715, 1000, and 1500 RPM.

Also, you can turn the spindle in forward and reverse directions by switching a hand gear.

The headstock consists of various controls such as speed control, controls for coolant, emergency stop, power, etc.

On MLX-2060T, you can perform threading operations within a 2–72 TPI range. Also, thread and feed charts are printed beside the control switches for reference.

The tailstock has two speeds (1:1 standard and 4:1 fine speed). You can switch between them with the help of a gear toggle next to the tailstock.

The machine comes with the following accessories.

Accessories provided with MLX-2060T
Electric cabinet interlock switch
Bed mount carriage stop
3-position carriage stop
Thread chasing dial
Halogen work light
Full-length splash guard
Coolant system
4-position tool post
Main leadscrew cover
Steady rest & Follow rest
Chuck cover with interlock
3-jaw chuck (10”)
The list of accessories comes with the KENT MLX-2060T metal lathe

You can also purchase additional accessories like a 4-jaw chuck, digital readout, micro carriage stop, taper turning attachment, BTC 3-jaw chuck with back plate, and royal spindle type live center.

MLX-2060T has a chuck guard, and the machine does not operate unless the guard door is closed.

The lead screw below the bed is shielded by a cover that protects it from the accumulation of chips.

MLX-2060T uses a one-shot lubrication system for the bed ways, apron, and carriage.

For more details on price, warranty, and support, you can contact KENT USA via phone, email, or even visit their store in California.

5 Things to Look for When Buying a Metal Lathe

Carriage Bed

The carriage bed is the foundation of a lathe as it supports the rest of the moving parts such as carriage, cross slide, apron, etc.

A metal lathe should have a bed made of tough metal, like high-grade cast iron, to provide rigidity and support to other components.

Size, Build, and Capacity

The capacity of a metal lathe is defined by its “Distance Between Centers (DBC)” and the “Swing Over Bed (SOB).”

DOB defines the maximum workpiece length you can mount between the headstock and tailstock.

The SOB denotes the maximum workpiece diameter a lathe can safely house over its bed.

A rigid lathe with an all-metal build is best suited for machining hard metals as it minimizes flexing and enhances accuracy.

Its metal build will also provide enough weight to counter the vibration produced during the turning process.

Overall, the required size, build, and capacity of a metal lathe will depend on the projects you want to work on.

A benchtop lathe is ideal for machining small workpieces, whereas a full-size lathe is ideal for turning large workpieces.

Power and Speed

Metals are hard materials that require high cutting force to perform machining operations.

Generally, metal lathes have a low speed and high torque configuration, ideal for turning heavy metal workpieces.

A spindle power of above 3/4 hp is recommended for hobbyist metal lathes, whereas industrial metal lathes require a spindle power of above 10 hp.

Speed control on metal lathes can be of two types: step pulley drives and variable speed control systems.

The step pulley requires you to manually change the belt and gear configuration to switch speeds. It is time-consuming, and you need to completely halt the operation to change the speed.

On the other hand, variable speed control systems allow you to change the RPM by turning a knob. It is easy to use and allows you to change the speed during the turning operation.

Accessories

It is important to check the accessories included in the kit, as some lathes do not even include the basic accessories, such as CNC cutting fluid delivery system, forcing you to spend more money on the accessories.

Therefore, to get the overall estimate price of the lathe, include the price of additional accessories that you might need for your application, and compare it with available options.

Support

Support from the manufacturer is an important factor. Sometimes you can get overwhelmed by the lathe's features and forget to check the customer service offered by the manufacturer.

Technical support, assembly instructions, user guides, and a warranty from the manufacturer are extremely important.

A good manufacturer will provide all the necessary documents and provide customers with in-person or online support.

Final Thoughts

Metal lathes can be used for making various projects like hammers, rings, bullet castings, gun barrels, cups, nuts, bolts, car parts, and much more.

The type of metal lathe you need will depend on the projects you want to work on and how skilled you are at using a lathe.

For the best results, you should buy a metal lathe designed for your application.

You should also look at the size and weight of the machine, as well as its ease of use and safety features.

If you want to make repeated parts, a CNC lathe will be the best option. This is because they are computer-controlled and require less manpower to operate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I turn brass on a metal lathe?

Yes, you can turn brass on a metal lathe. Brass is a soft metal so most metal lathes can work on them.

Can metal be turned on a wood lathe?

Yes, you can turn metal on a wood lathe, but wood lathes have a comparatively lower torque than metal lathes, and therefore, can only be used for performing simple machining operations on soft metals.

What metals can be used on a metal lathe?

On a metal lathe, you can turn metals like steel, aluminum, brass, iron, copper, titanium, etc. As the material hardness increases, your work cycle will be slower.

About John

Hey I'm John. I talk about CNCs and Power Tools at Mellowpine. I'm a CNC hobbyist who has been making CNCs and writing about CNCs for a while. I currently also work as a consultant for business owners and hobbyists setting up their own CNCs. If you have any questions related to CNC, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at john@mellowpine.com

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John

Hey I'm John. I talk about CNCs and Power Tools at Mellowpine. I'm a CNC hobbyist who has been making CNCs and writing about CNCs for a while. I currently also work as a consultant for business owners and hobbyists setting up their own CNCs. If you have any questions related to CNC, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at john@mellowpine.com

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