Finding a good cnc wood lathe is hard work. There aren’t that many manufacturers out there and even the few available are quite scattered. I’ve searched high and low to bring you the best places to go and get the best cnc wood lathe machine for turning wood. Here we go:
Motioncat cnc lathe – This 2-axis cnc wood turning lathe is designed to turn a whole range of wooden products, such as baseball bats, spindles and posts. It is available from cncmotion.com (with customer service based in the U.S. and Canada). The great thing I like about this lathe is that it comes with a screen to prevent parts from flying out onto the worker.
ColumnMaster cnc lathe – This heavy-duty 3-axis cnc lathe is a monster and can really do anything.. For the budget hobbyist, this can be a little overkill, but for the person or company that needs something industrial that will turn larger wooden products (16 ft capacity between centers!) then this is your dream cnc machine. This one is also available from cncmotion.com.
Hyundai Wia – Hyundai Wia has a ton of different cnc wood lathe turning centers. They have a very comprehensive range and a great website. I would definitely give them a shot at their site here.
Mighty USA – These guys have some larger, industrial sized cnc wood lathes, they have 6 lathes to choose from, but they are all mid-large application sized. Be sure to check them out here if that is what you are going for.
Milltronics – Milltronics has many different turning centers for every size and every application. They have a big variety of different lathes to choose from and have an easy number that you can call too (these guys are based in the U.S.), advertised on their site.
Can I use a cnc metal lathe instead of a wood lathe?
You could possibly use a cnc metal lathe depending on the cutting and gouging you need done. The massive down side is that wood dust dries out the oil needed on metal lathes, so may not work as well, as it may have consequences on your machine’s performance later down the line.
Outsourcing your cnc work
This is a great alternative, but unfortunately wood products made on lathes are generally fairly large. Because of this, shipping and outsourcing overseas may be too expensive, so you may have to look local. This may mean paying a higher price for someone with a cnc wood lathe machine locally. This is entirely up to you and your possible ROI on buying a cnc wood lathe compared to just outsourcing your cnc work.
Buying a hobby lathe
Pen lathes, hobby lathes or a cnc mini wood lathe is a great idea and can be worth it, only if you projects are going to be small. Anything too big will not be able to fit, making this category out of the question for most.
DIY wood cnc lathe
This can definitely be done. You can scrape together different parts and cnc software to make a machine, but this is quite hard as diy cnc wood lathes aren’t really that popular, so finding tutorials or cnc wood lathe plans and support online would be hard.
I recommend checking out the forum at cnczone.com or Popular Mechanics to see if there are members there that may have had experience with a diy cnc wood turning lathe in the past.
Shop around for a used wood lathe cnc machine
You could purchase a used machine to save on cost. Check some of the recommendations above that have used options. You could also try machine auction sites or contacting people in the above forums to see what you find.
Remember to shop around new and used, as well as diy to see what you can find that will best suit your individual project needs. Good luck on finding that great cnc wood lathe for sale.