A metal lathe is general description for a hard machine device made to remove mateiral for a workpiece, by the way of a cutting tool. They were intentionally intended to machine metals; any how, with the start of plastics and other substances, and with their inherent versatility, they are used in a huge varieties of applications, and a broad range of materials.
You can find might variations of lathes within the metalworking field. You will feel that some variations are not really that obvious, and other are more to a niche area. For example, a centering lathe is a double head machine where the work stays fixed and the heads move towards the workpiece and machines a center drill hole in every end. The appearing workpiece might then be used between centers for another operation. The usage of the term metal lathe might as well measured to some extent outdated these days, plastics and other composite materials are in huge use and with appropriate modifications, the same principles and methods might further be applied to their workholding machining as used for metal.
A center lathe is other called engine lathe it might be considered the basis for the metal lathe and is the kind of most normally used by the general machinist or hobbyist.
The fresh name for a capstan lathe used in workholding industry is a ram-style turret lathe. A capstan lathe is a manufacturing machine, which combines the features of the basic lathe along with a capstan style tailstock.
A turret lathe is a manufacturing machine, which to all appearances is alike as the capstan, any how the turret slides straightly on the bed rather than being fixed.
A combination lathe might introduce drilling or milling operations into the plan of the lathe. These machines uses the carriage and topslide as the x and y axis of the machine.
CNC lathes are now fast replacing the older production lathes such as multispindle, etc) due to their simple method of setting and operation. They are intended to use modern carbide tooling and fully uses modern processes.