Manual Machining Vs. CNC Lathe Machining – Choose One

Place a few machine operators together in a room, ask them to discuss the pros and cons of a manual lathe as opposed to CNC lathe machining, and then close the door.

What you will discover and hear is an intense discussion and much debate about which one is better!

If one doesn’t come back after five hours, the argument will still be intense when one opens that door again!

The question is not whether a CNC milling machine is fundamentally superior or inferior to a standard manual lathe machine–both are simply gears that help a technician get the job done.

The only important issue is what job that needs to be completed? It all goes back to the old adage that one must use the right tools for the job.

Right or Wrong: CNC Lathe Machining or Manual?


It’s not a matter of which is better, it’s a matter of the work at hand!  There are a sequence of instances in which it makes boundlessly more sense to use a completely automatic CNC machining center (for the record, “CNC” stands for “Computer Numerical Control,” which is an impressive way of saying CPU operated) instead of a manual mill.

If one has received an order for a high number of undistinguishable entities, then using a CNC lathe to agitate them out is the only rational technique to use: one can lock the design into ones CNC lathe device, flip a button, and then leave the engine for hours or even overnight knowing that by the morning the command will be accomplished.

Nevertheless, there are other times when using a manual lathe machine might create much more logic.

One such case is when one has only one object to make. If one works in a machining midpoint that typically deals with minor, specialty commands, then the time one spends setting up the programming of a multifaceted vertical machining midpoint to complete a one-time job may take as much time as using a manual mill!

Similarly, even if one discovers CNC lathe machining techniques at a prodigious value, they are still much costlier than manual milling machines.

Thus,a careful cost-benefit analysis must be done before deciding how to prepare ones machining midpoint. The one debatable shortcoming to using manual lathe machines over CNC lathes is if the operator is a less experienced machinist.