The Different Types of Glass Lathes

worker blowing glass in workshop

Historically speaking, the very first lathe is believed to date back to 1300 BC and was used by
the Ancient Egyptians. It was not used with glass, but it utilized the same principles that are
even used today. It wasn’t until around 1924 that the first ‘modern’ glass lathe was created to
make vacuum tubes. Glass blowing lathes, at their core, have not changed much since then but
have dramatically changed the way medical and scientific glass pieces are made.

Traditional Glass Blowing Vs. Glass Blowing Lathe

Traditional glass blowing can be such a beautiful thing, but in some ways, it can be
temperamental and prone to human error. When blowing glass in the traditional way, you rely
on an inefficient system of heating and shaping, which can be a significant drawback when
dealing with medical and science-related pieces. That inefficiency can cause flaws in the final

With a glass blowing lathe, the glass heating source is much more efficient and even. This
reduces the possibility of flaws caused by the heating and cooling of the glass.

Lathe construction, regardless of whether it is for woodworking, metalworking, or glass, is pretty
standard across the board. It consists of a stationary upright piece called a headstock and a
matching piece on the other end that is called a tailstock. The tailstock is mounted on rails
connected to the headstock, which allows it to be moved back and forth. This adjustment allows
for different-sized projects. In both the headstock and the tailstock are grooved pieces, or jaws
called chucks that grasp onto the project. The headstock and tailstock move together to turn the

Glass Blowing Lathe Uses

The consistency of heating and how the lathe turns makes glass blowing lathes perfectly ideal
for any project that can benefit from uniformity. This can include art pieces but is more befitting
of glass blowing medical pieces, such as glass tubing, laboratory flasks, beakers, and many
more things.

However, many industries can benefit from a SEAM lathe, which opens up different avenues for
glass blowers. In fact, the practical applications of a SEAM lathe are only limited by your
imagination and your skill level. With practice, you can create SEAM lathes both beautiful and

SEAM Lathes

In order to create medical and scientific grade glass-blown pieces, you need a scientific grade
glass blowing lathe, which SEAM lathe machines are. We offer two styles of glass blowing
lathes, the floor model lathe, and the bench top lathe. Both styles work the same for your glass
blowing needs, and the type you choose depends on:

  • Size of your working space
  • Size of your project
  • The sturdiness of your floor
  • Price point

Bench Top Lathe

Benchtop glass blowing lathes are more compact lathes and are definitely much better suited
for smaller spaces, smaller projects, and workspaces on upper floors. We offer three bench top
lathe models:

50-MM Bench Top Lathe

  • Weight: 500lbs
  • Size: 43x18x24 inches
  • Swing: 7×2 inches
  • Motor: 110v

This is the smallest glass blowing lathe we offer and has a bore size of 50mm and is 20.5” from
chuck to chuck.

85-MM Bench Top Lathe
The 85mm bench top lathe is our medium-sized lathe with a bore size of 85mm, and a generous
36 inches from chuck to chuck.

  • Weight: 800lbs
  • Size: 59x19x29 inches
  • Swing: 9 inches
  • Motor: 110v

85-MM Bench Top Longbed Lathe

  • Weight: 900 lbs
  • Size: 65.5x20x30 inches
  • Swing: 8.5 inches

As the largest bench top lathe we have, the 85 mm longbed is very similar to the regular 85 mm
lathe. It is only slightly larger and heavier but features a shorter swing but the same length from
chuck to chuck.

Floor Model Lathe

Floor model lathes are ideal for ground floor workspaces because upper floors may not have the
floor support to handle the 1200 to 1800 pounds of a floor model lathe. Because of their size,
these floor lathes are more suited to larger projects and large workspaces. However, they do
feature a higher price point. We also offer three floor model lathe models:

85-MM Floor Model Lathe

While it has the same bore size as the previous two models mentioned above, this smallest floor
model glass blowing lathe is much larger. Not only is it heavier, but it is also much taller.
However, the chuck-to-chuck length is 3 inches shorter.


  • Weight: 1200 lbs
  • Size: 60x24x50 inches
  • Swing: 9×2 inches
  • Motor: 110v

110-MM Floor Model Lathe
Our mid-size floor model glass blowing lathe is longer and taller than the smaller one and has a
drastically larger chuck-to-chuck length while not weighing more. It is great for larger projects
without taking up an excessive amount of floor space.


  • Weight: 1200 lbs
  • Size: 91x19x52 inches
  • Swing: 12 inches
  • Motor: 220v

130-MM Floor Model Lathe
By far the biggest model and the highest price point, this SEAM glass blowing lathe is definitely
big enough to handle anything you need it to.


  • Weight: 1800 lbs
  • Size: 60x24x50 inches
  • Swing: 9×2 inches
  • Motor: 220v

Who We Are

When you buy a SEAM lathe, you aren’t just buying one of our scientific-grade machines. You
are buying the hard work and dedication that we put into our U.S.-assembled glass blowing
lathes. We have been providing quality lathes and supplies for over ten years and plan to do so
for many more years to come. Our reputation is something we are proud of, and we hope to
work with you to achieve your glass blowing goals.

At SEAM, we take pride in everything we do, from assembly to technical support. If you have
any questions about what size lathe to buy, one you’ve bought, or anything related to our
products, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can help you find exactly what you need and help
you understand the best way to use it. Types of Glass Lathes

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