Can You Use a Mill as a Lathe?

Mill as a Lathe

Of course, you can use a mill as a lathe in a pinch for small parts, but to utilize it as both is not sensible work. Nowadays, in most manufacturing centers, you will see both milling machines along lathe machines. Both of them abide by the same machining terminology known as subtractive machining. This principle allows shaping a certain block of material into different desired dimensions. Moreover, few lathe machines can be used to carry out activities that require a milling machine like the CNC lathe.

Both of the machines require the use of a cutting tool to eliminate the material from a workpiece. However, the key feature that makes lathe and milling different is how the material is shaped. These two can be considered different because of their distinctive characteristics and purpose. Check out this guide below for a better understanding:



You will always find a common workbench coming along with the lathe machine along with different parts, including faceplate, headstock, carriage, bed, etc. This machine is wrapped up with the purpose of rotating a workpiece against a single-bladed cutting tool. After you have mounted the workpiece at the peak of the lathe, the machine will swiftly turn it against the single-bladed cutting equipment. 

Normally, the tool remains stationary, and the workpiece rotates against it in order to remove the material. That is why this procedure is effective for manufacturing cylindrical parts. Typical applications carried out using the lathe machine including threading, boring, drilling, grooving, and parting. It is the best choice when you desire to create repeatable, quick, and symmetrical cylindrical objects. Moreover, few lathe machines can be used to carry out activities that require a milling machine like the CNC lathes.


Using a milling machine, you can also terminate a material from the workpiece, but the procedure is different. In this case, you will have to remove the material by feeding the workpiece against a multi-bladed cutting tool. Typically, milling machines are taller than lathes, but in different manufacturing industries, you can find the shorter ones being used in smaller sectors. 

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You will observe that the cutting tool is rotating for this machinery, but the workpiece remains stationary. The cutting tool includes several blades, which allows it to grind away all the material from the workpiece.

This increases precision as the cutting tool now can approach the workpiece from different angles and allow the user to implement unique complex designs. To execute proper finishings, milling machines include cylindrical cutting tools like drills and end mills that allow you to achieve maximum satisfaction.


Rather than using both of them as a replacement for each other, why not combine lathe and milling. You will find machines that provide characteristics and features of both lathe and milling in a single piece in the market. You can achieve greater versatility for your project along with exemplary precision and magnificent experience in terms of performance and efficiency. If you are facing trouble in selecting the proper lathe mill combo machine, then the information above will help you pick the right lathe mill combo for your purpose.

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