How to Train on a Lathe Machine

Written by christian mullen
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How to Train on a Lathe Machine
CNC lathe training is a bit more complicated than manual lathe training (lathe image by Tomasz Plawski from

There are several options when considering training to use a lathe machine. Lathes come in manual and computer numerical controlled (CNC) versions and are used to cut various materials including, but not limited to, wood and metal. You can perform on-the-job training or online training, or go to a local trade school to learn all you need to know to run a lathe in a wood shop or metal machining shop as a career that is both creative and rewarding.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Contact local technical schools in your immediate area. They often offer classes in industrial industries including plumbing, electrical contracting and machining. You can learn lathe and mill machining in one of these programs. They often have day and evening classes with experienced instructors who can teach you basic and advanced techniques on CNC and manual lathes.

  2. 2

    Take online classes on lathe work at Tooling U. This online school offers video and text courses on how to run and operate all sorts of machinery including CNC and manual lathes. Although you will not get hands-on experience with an online course, you can watch the machine in action and learn all you will need to know in order to operate one in a machine shop environment.

  3. 3

    Find an apprenticeship program in your area. You can become a machinist's apprentice and work alongside an experienced machinist. They can teach you how to set up and operate a manual lathe as well as a CNC lathe. They can also show you the finer points of the programming process of a CNC lathe, which is more advanced application, but can be useful to you as you move along in your machining career.

  4. 4

    Contact your local machine shops and ask if they have a training program. Machinists are often hard to find, so many shops will train you on how to work a lathe. Unlike apprenticeships, on-the-job training can be a little more stressful as you will responsible for making parts or operating the machine as you would an experienced machinist.

  5. 5

    Seek training at a local wood shop. Many wood shops use lathes to turn table legs, bats, lamp and other wooden parts for their customers. Although more simplistic than metal lathe work, woodworking on a lathe will give you a basic understanding of lathe work in general and can help you transition to that type of work if you desire. Working at a wood shop will teach you how to use hand tools and the proper set-up of raw material on a lathe, as well as safety information using this type of machine.

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