What Factors Affect the Price of a Lathe?

Lori Kilchermann

Many factors affect the price of a lathe, from the size of the work that the lathe is able to produce to the number of automatic functions the machine is equipped with. The number of speeds that the device is able to operate at is also a factor in the price, with lathes that have a higher number of speeds typically costing more. With all things even, the price is centered around the number of options the machine is equipped with. Automatic feed controls and multi-angle tool holders all contribute to higher prices and make the operation of the machine more complex.

The price of a lathe is directly proportional to the size of the machine.
The price of a lathe is directly proportional to the size of the machine.

The price of a lathe is directly proportional to the size of the machine. A lathe that is capable of turning larger stock will typically be more expensive than a machine that is limited to turning smaller items. The entire lathe must be made larger to accommodate larger stock, so all aspects of the machine require more material in their construction. A larger lathe allows for more accessories to be incorporated into the design as well, such as automatic feed tool rests and automatic reversing tool feeds. The style of the chuck can also affect the price, with a four-jaw chuck commonly costing more than a three-jaw design.

Some of the higher-costing lathes are equipped with several automatic functions, including automatic taper settings and tool rests that can be programed to run back and forth over a piece of stock until a desired size has been achieved. The speeds available to the lathe operator commonly affect the price, with the cost rising in concert with the number of speed choices offered. Extra added options such as lighting and automatic oilers contribute to how much the lathe will cost.

Lathes with higher-quality motors typically cost more than a similarly equipped machine with a lesser-quality motor installed. The number of wire windings inside of the motor directly affects the durability of the motor, with a higher winding count being more reliable and durable than that of a lesser wound motor. Options such as digital readouts and computer programing key pads influence the price as well, with the electronic controls costing more than the manual versions. Some lathe designs also incorporate automatic feed functions, which add a little more to the price of the machine when compared to the cost of a manual feed model.

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