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Tooling on Slant bed lathe - Stupid newby question


Feb 13, 2021
Hi guys

This is going to sound like a really stupid question but here it goes.

I was just looking at the tools required for some new components we are going to be producing on a CNC lathe we have recently purchased.

The lathe is slant bed and is recommended to be used with left handed tooling ideally. I know this isnt hard set and many people use normal right handed tooling.

Here comes the stupid bit!!!

With the left Handed tooling the spindle direction will be opposite. What do you do when it comes to drilling with U drills etc. Do you reverse the spindle direction, or use Right handed tools for all other operations (basically not requiring left handed tooling) to keep the spindle spinning the same direction.

I would have thought keeping the spindle turning the same direction would be the best practice.

It would be great to get your advice/ thoughts on this.




Jan 12, 2003
There's a compromise either way.
IF you do a lot of heavy roughing, I'd set up with left hand. Also easier to see/change inserts.
I can also tell you that the idea that running tooling upside down throws the chips down is 90% BS. Spindle rotation + lots of coolant has a habit of throwing a lot of them chips over the work toward the door/tool setter. (I've not really played with up vs down when it comes to parts catcher though, but I suspect gravity works either way)

Although I current run mostly right hand, I have a few things I run left hand and the lathe simply stops and restarts the spindle the other way... but if you were running a lot of parts or at max rpm it does add time. I mostly do stainless so it's going from a few hundred rpm one way to a few hundred the other.