Lathe Cutting Tools Different Types Of Tools For CNC Turning

Lathe Cutting Tools Different Types Of Tools For CNC Turning

Do you want to become more productive and proficient at lathe cutting?

In order to maximize production efficiency and precision, cutting tools have also advanced thanks to CNC technology. Modern manufacturers have more alternatives than ever before for fine-tuning their processes because of the large variety of lathe cutting equipment available.

In this article, we will take a closer look at some of the different types of turning tools commonly used in CNC applications, exploring how each type works so you can get an idea about which ones are best suited for your specific needs.

What are Lathe Cutting Tools?

What are Lathe Cutting Tools
Figure 1- Different lathe cutting tools

Lathe cutting tools are specially designed for use with a lathe, which is a machine that rotates a workpiece while allowing the user to shape it with various tools.

When it comes to machining, lathe cutting tools are indispensable. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and you can use them for a wide range of applications.

The most basic lathe cutting tool is the turning tool. This is a simple tool that can be used to create a variety of shapes and sizes. It consists of a piece of metal with a sharpened edge that is rotated against the workpiece.

Other types of cutting tools include chisels, gouges, and routers. Chisels are very sharp blades that are used for detailed work, such as trimming edges and corners off of objects. Gouges have a V-shaped blade that is designed for digging deep into the wood or other materials. Routers are large pieces of metal that have several small blades embedded in them.

Types of Lathe Cutting Tools

We can configure them in 4 different categories. Here they are:

Lathe Cutting Tools Based on Material

You can cut many different things with lathe cutting tools. It lets you use different tools for different materials that have different mechanical properties and can be worked on in different ways. Here is a list of the tools:

High-speed Steel(HSS)

The combination of tungsten, carbon, vanadium, and chromium creates an incredibly hard material that can stand up to the rigors of machining with ease. Their hardness and strength make these high-speed steel cutting tools ideal for a variety of applications, including rough and semi-finish machining.

In addition to their strength and durability, they offer superior speed compared to conventional cutting tools. This means faster cutting times, more efficient operations, and improved quality in less time.

The properties of high-speed steel also give it excellent wear and heat resistance. This makes it well suited for use with higher temperatures generated during machining processes. It also helps maintain the tool’s stability despite long periods of operation resulting from prolonged usage or larger jobs.

High-speed Steel(HSS)
Figure 2 – High-speed Steel(HSS) lathe cutting tools

High-speed steel cutters are often used in combination with coolant fluids to reduce friction and the amount of heat generated during operations. This further boosts their performance over time by helping prevent wear on the cutting surface.


Carbide lathe cutting tools are ideal for machining a wide variety of materials. This is because of their hardness and high longevity, making them suitable to work with materials that require precision and strength.

The carbide material also has a chromium-based coating, which helps protect the surface from corrosion, wear and tear, and heat. Carbide lathe-cutting tools offer savings in tool life, as well as an improved surface finish for the result part.

Figure 3 – Carbide lathe cutting tools

Although slightly more expensive than other types of cutters, carbide lathe cutting tools offer great value for their higher performance levels, combined with their more economical cost over time.

Compared to other materials such as HSS or cobalt steel, carbide is known for its greater resistance to abrasion and extreme temperatures, which increases tool life significantly.


Metals like hardened steel, aluminum, and titanium require extremely long-lasting cutting tools, and diamond lathe-cutting tools are the best option for this.

They are superior to other types of cutting tools because of their exceptional hardness, which allows them to efficiently cut through these materials with minimal wear. Additionally, they are less likely to crack or break than carbide-cutting tools and generate fewer vibrations during usage.

Figure 4 – Diamond lathe cutting tool

However, diamond lathe-cutting tools are also significantly more expensive than other alternatives and therefore tend to be used in more specialized applications where their superior performance is needed.

Cubic Boron Nitride

Cubic Boron Nitride (CBN) is a cutting tool material that provides superior durability and abrasion resistance, making it an excellent choice for use in lathe machining operations.

When cutting with CBN tools, the cutting edges remain sharp longer than standard materials, resulting in improved surface finish and higher quality parts.

Additionally, the superior wear resistance of CBN lathe tools allows repeatable performance over long periods without having to sharpen or replace them. The cost-effectiveness of CBN makes it a popular choice among professional workshops because machines can be kept running longer with fewer interruptions or downtime.

Operations-Based Cutting Tools for the Lathe

Here is the list of lathe cutting tools according to operations:

Turning Tools

Turning tools are used to create cylindrical shapes from a workpiece. The tool is mounted on the lathe’s turret and fed into the rotating workpiece.

The type of tool and its geometry will determine the size and shape of the cut. For instance, when using a single-point cutting tool, the diameter of the cut will depend on the radius at which it is inserted into the lathe’s spindle.

Turning Tools
Figure 5 – Turning cutting tool

On the other hand, when using multi-point cutting tools such as carbide inserts or form tools, multiple diameters can be achieved depending on how many points constitute the tool. In either case, there must be a suitable feed rate to ensure that adequate material removal is achieved without damaging either the tool or workpiece.

Chamfering tools

Chamfering tools are used to create a beveled edge on a workpiece. This is typically done to remove sharp edges or to prepare a workpiece for welding. Chamfering tools can be handheld or mounted on a lathe.

Chamfering tools
Figure 6 – Chamfering tools

For chamfering, turning tools must usually be set at the right angle to the workpiece to achieve the desired result. This can be difficult if the chamfer angle is high or intricate, and often leads to inefficient or inadequate results.

To overcome this difficulty, dedicated chamfering tools are available in various shapes and sizes that make it easier to create precise angles quickly and effectively.

These specialized tools offer more precision than general-purpose turning tools for complex chamfers and internal cuts, ensuring high-quality results with minimal effort.

Facing tools

Facing tools have side cutting edges with either a straight or curved profile which are used to remove material from the workpiece and create a smooth finish.

Facing tools
Figure 7 – Facing tool

The feed rate and depth of cut can be adjusted depending on how much material needs to be removed, making this operation suitable for both light and heavy materials.

Additionally, the cutting speed must also be adjusted accordingly to ensure that the correct surface finish is achieved on the workpiece.

Thread Cutting tools

These tools are used to create threads on a workpiece. This is done by feeding the tool along the workpiece in a spiral motion. The tool cuts away material as it moves, creating the desired threading effect.

Thread Cutting tools
Figure 8 – Thread cutting tools

For thread cutting, there are taps and dies that are used to create internal and external threads respectively. The tool is first mounted on the lathe and then a rotating motion is imparted to it. This cuts the threads into the workpiece.

Forming tools

Forming tools
Figure 10 – Form tools

Forming tools allow for the machining of intricate designs with greater control over the shape, size, and complexity of the final product. They are typically used in automotive manufacturing to create custom parts that have an exact fit and superior surface finish.

Grooving tools

Grooving tools are designed to create grooves with precise width and depth on a cylindrical workpiece. They typically have a V-shaped or square cutting edge which can be adjusted according to the desired groove shape and size.

Grooving tools
Figure 11 – Grooving tools

Depending on the application, grooving tools may also be equipped with special features such as adjustable heads, replaceable inserts, and coolant delivery systems, thus allowing for more precise operation and better-finished results. Grooving is widely used in machining operations such as threading, profiling, parting off, forming operations, and others where creating a groove with precise parameters is essential.

Boring tools

Boring tools are specialized for increasing the diameter of existing holes. These tools typically consist of a long, straight bar with a cutting tool attached at one end and a boring head or shank attached to the other end.

Boring tools
Figure 12 – Booring tools

Boring tools are designed for precision machining, allowing for accurate adjustment of the diameter and depth of the hole being bored. They are most commonly used in manufacturing applications such as automotive, aerospace, and medical components where accuracy is essential.

Boring tools require both skill and experience to use effectively, as they must be carefully monitored throughout each cut to ensure optimal performance and repeatability.

Knurling tools

These tools are consists of two or more metal rollers with embossed patterns that can be used to make indents in the workpiece to increase its grip.

Knurling tools
Figure 13 –  Knurling tool

It is usually done by pressing them against a rotating workpiece and moving them in such a way that the embossed pattern is transferred onto it. This process is known as ‘cold forming’ and can be used on a variety of materials including metals, plastics, etc. Knurling tools are also known for their accuracy and durability and can be used for making intricate patterns with high precision.

In addition, knurling tools are widely used in many industries like aerospace, automotive, and medical device manufacturing which makes it an indispensable tool for every workshop or machine shop.

Lathe Cutting Tools Based on Structure

Here is the list of lathe cutting tools based on structure:

Single Body tools

With their one-piece design, you will need to purchase fewer parts as replacements in the event of wear or breakage.

Single body lathe cutting tools are formed from solid pieces of high-grade steel. They are highly heat resistant and able to be used at higher speeds for longer amounts of time without wearing down or overheating.

These tools usually feature either a square or round shank, depending on the type of application they are being used for. Also, they can have replaceable tips attached depending on the job. The type of application they are being used for can have replaceable tips attached depending on the job.

Welding lathe cutting tools

Cutting tools for welding lathes consist of a head and a rod that is welded together. The carbide used to make the head is exceptionally hard and long-lasting, while the rest of the tool can be manufactured from a variety of metals.

This type of cutting tool offers less cutting force than single-body tools due to the material difference between the head and rod components. Additionally, they are generally more durable than their single-body counterparts as the joint between components is strong and resistant to wear and tear.

Furthermore, welding lathe cutting tools offer greater flexibility when it comes to size and shape due to their modular design, making them great for precision machining. They also tend to have lower manufacturing costs compared to other types of cutting tools, making them an ideal choice for mass-production applications.

Clamp lathe cutting tools

Tooling for clamp lathes consists of a cutting insert that can be swapped out and a handle. The replaceable insert is the actual cutting tool that is responsible for performing the desired task of material removal, while the handlebar serves as a support and anchor for the insert.

The shape of the insert determines its strength, durability, and accuracy when cutting, such as varying angles to match complex curves or contours. Additionally, clamp lathe cutting tools can be manipulated to increase precision by positioning the insert at different angles.

This enables them to be used in advanced applications such as fine-detail machining or intricate shaping. Furthermore, due to their dexterous nature, these tools are highly versatile and can be adapted for various purposes depending on the type of material being worked on.

Lathe Cutting Tools Based on Feed Direction

Right-Hand lathe cutting tools

These tools are used to cut and shape materials in a precise manner, making them an essential part of machining operations. With such high levels of accuracy, they can produce very precise components. The right-hand lathe cutting tools can make light cuts on a variety of materials such as wood, metal, plastic, composite materials, and more. They are also capable of performing complex shapes and features like grooves or threads.

This makes them particularly useful in manufacturing components that require high precision. Additionally, these tools help reduce material waste by making precise cuts without deforming or damaging the workpiece.

Left-Hand lathe cutting tools

The purpose of left-handed lathe cutting tools is to move materials from the left to the right as they are removed. Differentiating between right-hand and left-hand cutting tools is the position of the main cutting edge; this is the case with left-hand tools.

As such, these tools are ideal for applications where the feed direction needs to be from the left towards the right, such as when working with a lathe towards an operator. By closely following the design of a human hand, these tools provide superior control and accuracy by allowing users to keep their hands in a natural position while cutting.

Furthermore, they offer enhanced safety features by keeping the user’s fingers away from any potentially hazardous areas during operation. Left-hand lathe cutting tools can be used for a variety of tasks related to machining, such as drilling, reaming, counterboring and more.

Round Nose Lathe Cutting Tools

Round nose lathe cutting tools are often used in machining because they can be used for many different tasks and can be turned in any direction. These tools feature zero rake angles, so they leave the workpiece with a smoother surface.

They are also designed to accommodate large radius cuts with ease, making them suitable for producing round shapes such as those required for producing precision-engineered objects.

In addition, their design allows for higher levels of accuracy when performing lathing operations. The overall versatility and convenience that these tools provide make them invaluable tools to any workshop or machine shop.

Special Note: There are a few other kinds of Lathe Cutting tools that can be used in different ways. If you have a special need or aren’t sure which tool will work best for you, you can contact us.

Lathe Cutting Tool Materials

Cutting tools for lathes are an integral part of the machining process and can be made from a wide range of materials.

High-speed steel, cobalt alloys,  tungsten carbide, and cermet inlays are typical materials for lathe cutting tools. High-speed steel contains a combination of carbon and molybdenum that strengthens the tool while maintaining its hardness at elevated temperatures. Tungsten carbide is harder than high-speed steel and retains its sharpness longer, making it ideal for tough jobs that require increased wear resistance.

Cobalt alloys are made up of various metals such as chromium, molybdenum, nickel, and tungsten – making them extremely durable with good hardness at higher temperatures. Cermet inserts provide an alternative to traditional metallic tools by comprising a ceramic matrix reinforced with metal particles or oxides.

These offerings offer good wear resistance along with excellent heat dissipation characteristics for machining high-temperature materials such as titanium alloys.

So, which material will you use? It depends on which material you are going to use for your project.

How to Select the Right Lathe Cutting Tools?

You, as a manufacturer, know better than anyone how important it is to have high-quality tools for your work. For exact results on a workpiece, it is essential to use the right cutting tool for the lathe. You can find our recommendations below.

Lathe Tools Coating

Coating a lathe tool involves putting a thin layer of substance on its surface. This can be done for a variety of purposes, including increasing the tool’s electrical conductivity or making it more durable against wear and corrosion.

Lathe tools can be coated with a wide variety of materials; the optimum choice for a given task will rely on those materials and the demands of the job at hand. Titanium nitride, Chromium Oxide, and Titanium Carbide are all commonly used coatings.

Workpiece Material

The hardness, ductility, and strength of the material will all impact the selection of tooling.

For example, harder workpiece materials will require tools with a higher cutting speed and those that are less ductile will need tools with a higher feed rate.

On the other hand, if the workpiece is too soft, then a more durable tool will be necessary. The density of the material will also affect the choice of tool. A heavier workpiece will require a stronger tool, while a lighter workpiece can be cut with a weaker tool.

Desired Turning Operation Types

Turning tools come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on the desired results. Facing tools are typically smaller and more delicate than turning tools. Boring tools are designed specifically for enlarging holes and may not be suitable for other operations.

When choosing the right tool for your lathing operation, it’s important to consider the material you’re working with and the desired finish. With the right tool and some practice, you can produce high-quality results that meet your expectations.

Required Part Shape

Depending on the shape of the part you need to create, certain tools will be better suited than others. For example, if you need to create a cylindrical part, then a round cutting tool would be the best choice. Conversely, if you need to create a square or rectangular part, then a square or rectangular cutting tool would be more appropriate.

Components Of A Lathe Cutting Tool

The following components are standard across all lathe cutter designs.


The shank is the portion of the tool that fits into the chuck of the lathe. It is usually made from high-strength steel or carbide, and it has a variety of different shapes and sizes depending on the type of tool it is. The shank also has a cutting edge on it, which is used to remove material from the workpiece.


It is the surface that makes contact with the workpiece and provides support for the cutting edge. There are many different types of faces, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. The most common type of face is the flat face.


The size and shape of the flank will determine how well the tool can cut, and how much material can be removed. The angle of the flank will also affect its performance. A sharper angle will result in a finer finish, but may not be able to handle as much material removal.

Cutting Edge

There are a variety of different materials that can be used for the cutting edge, including high-speed steel, carbide, and diamond. The material that is best for a particular application will depend on factors such as the hardness of the workpiece, the type of cut being performed, and the speed at which the lathe is operated.

Tool Nose

Tools nose helps to guide the tool along the Turning Center spindle and also supports the cutting edges. The nose can be either round or square in shape and is typically made from high-speed steel, carbide, or ceramic.

Side Rake Angle

The side rake angle is the measurement of the distance from the cutting edge to the tool’s side. It is measured in degrees and affects the amount of material that is removed from the workpiece.

Side Relief Angle

When viewed from the front, the side relief angle of a lathe cutting tool is the angle by which the major flank of the tool deviates from the horizontal. This angle guarantees that the cutting edge alone makes contact with the workpiece and that the major flank does not rub against it. Most of the time, the angle of side relief is between 5 and 15 degrees.

End Relief Angle

This angle is important because it determines how much clearance there is between the cutting edge and the workpiece. If there is too much clearance, the cutting edge will not be able to cut into the workpiece. If there is too little clearance, the cutting edge will rub against the workpiece and cause friction.

Back Rake Angle

The back rake angle is the degree to which the cutting tool’s face deviates from the plane that is perpendicular to the surface of the workpiece. How much help the cutting tool gives the workpiece is determined by this angle. A more supporting cut can be achieved by increasing the back rake angle, while an increased amount of clearance can be achieved by decreasing it.

End Cutting Edge Angle

A cutting tool’s end cutting edge angle is the degree at which the main flank and the end of the tool are at right angles to one another. An important function of this angle is to prevent the major flank from contacting the workpiece. The tool will wear out fast from rubbing against the workpiece if the angle is too small. To cut properly, this angle must not be too large.

Side Cutting Edge Angle

The side cutting edge angle refers to the degree of deviation from a line perpendicular to the tool’s body that is made by the side cutting edge. As a result, it has a profound effect on the cutting force and chip thickness in lathing operations.

Available Cutting Tool Operations For A Lathe

You can perform various operations with a lathe. We have listed some of the most common operations.

Turning Tool Operations

Most manufacturing processes involve some form of turning. Through the use of a cutting tool and a turning process, the workpiece is shaped as it rotates. This process is used to form cylinders or to hollow out areas of the workpiece. However, although manual labor is usually required for other methods of lathing, CNC turning automates this process.

Facing Operation

Facing is used to create a flat surface on the end of a workpiece. This operation is typically used to prepare a workpiece for other machining operations, such as drilling or tapping. Facing can also be used to create a smooth finish on the end of a workpiece.

Chamfering Operation

Chamfering is one of the available cutting tool operations for a lathe. It involves cutting an angled surface on the workpiece. This operation is often used to prepare the workpiece for welding or to remove sharp edges.

Knurling Operation

This operation is performed by using a special tool that has ridges or teeth on its surface. The tool is pressed against the workpiece and rotated, which cuts grooves into the surface of the material.


Each type of tool has its own specific purpose and is designed to work with a particular material. When choosing the right tool for your project, it is important to consider the type of material you will be working with and the desired outcome of your project. With the right tool, you can achieve professional results and complete your project with ease.

Kemal: Will Meet Your Various Machining Needs

Kemal is a full-service machine shop, providing both lathe cutting services and a wide range of other machining services to meet your needs. We have a wide variety of lathes, including CNC lathes, to handle any size or type of job, from small parts to large ones.

We also have a complete range of other machining equipment, including milling machines, drill presses, and surface grinders. This means that we can provide just about any type of machining service you might need.

If you would like a free quote and DFM analysis, all you have to do is upload your CAD files right now. Also, we have a dedicated customer service team to assist you in finding the best lathe cutting tool for your project.


Lathe cutting tools have a few different functions. One is to actually cut the material that you’re working with. You can do it with a variety of different tool shapes, depending on what kind of finish you’re looking for.

Another common function is to create threads. This is done by using a tool with a specific profile that matches the threads that you want to create.

Moreover, you can use lathe cutting tools for finishing work. This might involve creating a smooth surface or polishing the material to give it a shine.

In the industrial business, cutting tools are used to eliminate unwanted parts of a workpiece. Sawing, filing, grinding, or milling are all viable options for accomplishing this.

The most efficient way of cutting will depend on the nature of the material being cut and the specific cutting tool being used.

When it comes to lathe cutting tools, the material you choose can have a big impact on performance. Here are some things to consider when making your selection:

  • Hardness: The harder the material, the longer it will stay sharp. Hardness is measured on the Rockwell C scale.
  • Toughness: This is a measure of how well the tool can withstand impact. The tougher the material, the less likely it is to chip or break under heavy use.
  • Wear resistance: This is important for keeping the cutting edge sharp and preventing premature wear. Tool life can be greatly extended by choosing a material with good wear resistance.
  • Heat resistance: Higher temperatures can cause soft materials to lose their shape or even melt. If you’ll be doing a lot of cutting in high-heat situations, choose a tool made from a heat-resistant material.

There are a few different materials that can be used for cutting tools, but diamond is definitely the best option in terms of quality.

Diamond is extremely hard and durable, which makes it ideal for cutting through tough materials. It also retains its sharpness for a long time, so you won’t need to replace your cutting tools as often.

In addition, a diamond is a very efficient cutter, so you’ll be able to get the job done quickly.

Put your parts into production today

Content in this article

Request A Quote

*We respect your confidentiality and all information are protected.