Tips for Maintenance of CNC Lathe Machines

A CNC lathe machine is widely used in manufacturing projects such as woodturning, metalworking, metal spinning, thermal spraying, parts reclamation, and glass working. In this machine, the workpiece is held in place and rotated by the main spindle, and the cutting tool that works on the material is mounted and moves on various axes. Although designed for precision, accuracy, and repeatability, these machines may break down, leading to long downtimes. These downtimes can affect the productivity and reputation of the CNC machine shop. Thus, like any other industrial equipment, timely maintenance must be performed on these machines to avoid downtimes. This post gives insights on how you can maintain your CNC lathe machines.

Maintenance of CNC Lathe Machines

The maintenance of CNC lathe machines can be divided into three types depending on the time period.

Daily/Weekly Maintenance: 

You can conduct a daily visual inspection of the machine and its parts to ensure your production remains unaffected due to errors such as machine stoppage due to less lubricant, chips overflow, poor air supply, drop of coolant levels below the limit, resulting in overheating and damage and so on. Although daily maintenance may not be possible in some cases, the operator must check for visible signs of damage. If any part looks out of sync or broken or damaged beyond control, then it must be replaced before starting the machine. A weekly maintenance plan must be devised under which the operator can check on the following: 

  • Levels of coolant
  • Condition of cutting tools
  • Hydraulic systems for any leakage 
  • Air supply to make sure that it is clean and dry.
  • Leakage or strange sounds

Quarterly/semi-annual maintenance: 

Quarterly and semi-annual maintenance would help you focus on bigger things. For instance, you can:

  • Check if the coolant tank is cleaned of sludge, chips, and oil.
  • Take out chuck and jaws off the machine and clean them.
  • Check the leveling of your machine and adjust if necessary.
  • Clean the radiator to ensure that the radiator fins are straight and not damaged
  • Inspect all-way wipers for any damage
  • Drain hydraulic tank
  • Replace existing hydraulic oil with fresh hydraulic oil, drain, clean, and refill the lubrication unit.

Yearly Maintenance: 

During the annual maintenance of CNC lathe machines, you should focus on machine beds, hydraulic systems, and spindle lubrication systems. In addition to the above, you can perform the following:

  • Ensure your machine tool accuracy and machine tool level meets your requirements.
  • Check the spindle for radial and end play issues.
  • See if the chuck cylinder has run out.
  • Check the tailstock for misalignments and quill functions.
  • Check for turret parallelism and inclination.
  • Clean all oil holes and felt pads
  • Check the drive belt of the spindle, Z-axis belt, and X-axis drive belt.
  • Check leakages in the electrical box.
  • Ensure the condition of contacts is safe and reliable
  • Check whether the ground connection is reliable.
  • See if the X and Z-axis require some adjustment.

Benefits of Regular maintenance of CNC Lathe Machines

Maintenance of CNC lathe machines can be beneficial in many ways:  

  • It helps steadily increase the profitability of your company by reducing machine and production downtime. 
  • Regular maintenance helps improve the productivity of the machine tool. 
  • It helps extend the lifespan of your machines and cutting tools.
  • It helps minimize or eliminate crashes or accidents that can be dangerous for operators. 
  • Regular maintenance helps reduce the wastage of materials.  
  • You can reduce and avoid hefty repair costs from unexpected breaks down of your machines.


Modern CNC lathe machines feature tools that can work on multiple axes. These tools can be set to perform milling, drilling, and tapping operations and meet the targets of the complex part design process. It becomes important to take care of CNC machines by keeping a check on their maintenance. If you wish to partner with a trusted CNC machining service for your next project, you can consider BDE Manufacturing Technologies. The company has been successfully serving clients in the aerospace, medical, military, and oil, and gas industries for several years now. You can get in touch with the experts at the company to discuss your specific requirements.

Your CNC Machine Shop in Portland, Hillsboro Oregon