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Classification of Turret Lathes

written by: Ricky • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 6/26/2009

Turret lathes could be classified in a variety of ways depending on their construction, working and usage. Learn about a few important types in this article

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    Introduction

    We know from our previous studies that a turret lathe is a special kind of metal working lathe which is used to perform repetitive tasks with ease, and hence a boon for the manufacturing industry. Basically there are two main types of turret lathes namely the Ram type and the Saddle type and they have been explained as follows.

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    Ram type turret lathe

    This is a special kind of a turret lathe in which the turret or the tool mounting platform is mounted on a slide or ram, which is in turn mounted on a saddle that is clamped on the machine bed. When the tool needs to be changed there is no need to move the whole saddle but the turret can be adjusted within the saddle itself. The saddle can be adjusted and locked at any convenient position of the machine bed.

    Another popular name for a Ram type turret lathe is Capstan lathe and I am sure many of you would have heard this name and more familiar with it, rather than the name Ram turret lathe. The main advantage of this machine is that it is lightweight in construction and is quite easy to operate. The turret in the case of Capstan machines is not hexagonal but usually circular in shape, having six holes for holding the tools which do not necessarily require flat faces due to their relatively small work handling capacity.

    The picture below clearly shows one such type of capstan lathe which can be used to identify the various parts and the overall arrangement of the turret and other systems.Capstan-Lathe 

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    Saddle type turret lathe

    The machine mentioned previously is lightweight but is not aptly suited for heavy chuck works; hence another version of the arrangement known as the saddle type turret lathe is used for heavy duty purposes. This allows for jobs having diameter even 5 times of those that can be handled with the former type. Basically the hexagonal turret is rigidly fixed onto the saddle and cannot move about it unlike Ram type lathe. The whole unit can be moved in the back and forth direction in relation to the machine bed for adjustment purposes. This machine is bit heavier than the Ram version but at the same time can be used for heavy work, hence the drawback gets covered here.

    Other Types

    Apart from these two main types of turret lathes, there are several other varieties of turret lathes such as bar turret lathes, vertical turret lathes and so forth which are used for special purposes and have their own unique features apart from the generic features of turret lathes.

    Regarding the parts of the turret lathe, most of the parts are similar to those used in normal lathe machines, with the only exception that the controls used in a turret lathe are somewhat more sophisticated than the other lathes and the parts are heavier.

    As we know by now, the various types of operations that can be carried out on turret lathes depend on the types of attachments that can be configured for various purposes. In the next article we will take up this issue and learn about the different attachments used in a typical turret lathe.

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    Image Credits

    Image of Capstan Lathe: http://product-image.tradeindia.com/00124563/b/0/Capstan-Lathe.jpg