Oil Country Lathes are Big, Robust, Powerful, and Precise

Mar 18, 2022
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There’s nothing magical about the term Oil Country Lathes. That is unless your company has the need to machine massive parts with equally massive metal removal requirements. For these applications, Oil Country Lathes are indeed magical. Named for their widespread use in processing oil and gas components, these heavy-duty machine tools are now found in a range of industries. Aerospace, agriculture, printing, timber, and mining—these are just a few of the markets where the term Oil Country is now commonplace.

What are Oil Country Lathes?

But what exactly are Oil Country Lathes? And how are they different from other lathes? For starters, Oil Country Lathes are quite large. Some manufacturers offer models boasting a 78-inch swing and up to 320 inches between centers. The spindle bore on these lathes is also quite large, so as to accommodate the tube and pipe used in the oil and gas industry. The lathe just mentioned, for example, might have a through-hole of 15 inches. This gives Oil Country Lathes an alternative handle, namely Big Bore Lathes. Do check out our other blog about the things to consider when shopping for an oil country lathe.


What to look for in Oil Country Lathes

Because their users ask them to remove huge amounts of material quickly, Oil Country Lathes must be both rigid and powerful. As such, look for a design with a single-piece bed and base. The best ones also have a third rail for additional support during heavy cutting. Also, a tool post that locks in place is a must-have to eliminate deflection. Auto lubrication systems assure precision and easy maintenance for the long haul. And for very long parts, a steady rest system will be needed, and possibly even a secondary chuck where the tailstock normally sits.

If you’re going to make big heavy parts, it goes without saying that the lathe should be equally heavy. A high-quality Oil Country Lathe can easily weigh between 30,000 to 50,000 pounds and have a spindle with 30 horsepower or more. Sometimes way more. Massive steel rollers, large diameter flanges, long shafts for ships and power generation—these are but a few examples of parts turned on a typical Oil Country Lathe.

There’s lots more to discuss about these amazing machine tools. We at Kent USA have some of the largest, highest-quality Oil Country Lathes available. What’s more, we have many of them in stock. If you’d like to hear more, send us your part drawings or give us a call. We’ll have you “turning big” in no time.

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