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Citizen K16E Swiss Lathe Review


Smaller can be better. In this video, Mike from Kremin Inc. reviews the Citizen K16E, a Swiss Lathe designed to only work with smaller raw materials but with impressive results.

Video Transcript:

“All right, everybody. Welcome back to Kremin Inc. I’m going to give you my review of the Citizen K16E.

As I mentioned in my last review of the Citizen L32, we have 5 different models of swiss style lathes in our facility. If you haven’t seen the L32 review, you’re going to want to click the link below and check it out.

I have no idea what the “K” means in the Citizen lexicon. I know we have As, we have Ls, and now we have a K unit. But I do know that what the 16 means, and that’s the max diameter material in metric that the machine is designed to handle. So 16 millimeters is 25 point-something millimeters in an inch. 16 is about half, I’m not the best at math. About 0.5 to .6″ diameter material is what this machine will take.

So I know what you’re thinking: “Mike, your L32, your A20, your A32: they can all run material that’s as small, so why would you have a machine to run just 16 millimeters or less?”


We want parts running on this machine that are 20 seconds or less [per cycle]. We want a much smaller work window to give us the most optimized cycle time when we’re quoting small parts. So if we look inside the K16, the first thing you notice if you compare it to our L32 video, is it’s much more compact. This machine is designed a little bit differently with the turning tools kicked on an angle. We have 4 live tools on the arm that can turn, mill, and drill. We have one live tool for the sub spindle on the bottom, and we have 4 static holders next to the sub at the pickup. Much closer space, much more compact, much less time moving between tools and moving between sub and main spindle. Seconds matter when we’re running quick parts, and this machine gives us those extra seconds to be more competitive when we’re running small diameter material.

The K16 comes with a 12-foot automatic bar loader. One piece of advice: really small diameter material will tend to “spaghetti up” on you and get jammed up. Make sure your bar loader is set correctly, and make sure you have the right channels in it. Finally, make sure the rollers are set correctly so it’ll auto load smoothly and you can keep it running all night/”lights out.”

We like running “lights out” just as much as the next guy and we do a lot of that here at Kremlin Inc, but the one thing we don’t like about this machine is there’s no lights within the operator area. It’s completely dark. There’s a couple windows that try to get exterior lighting in, but it’s not really effective–especially when you’re talking about tiny tools in a compact workspace. We really wish Citizen would have put some lights inside this machine.

I really like the small compact space on the K16. The rapid movements, the ability to run small parts even faster than some of the larger machines. I like the 12-foot auto feed bar feeder. I wish it’d be a little easier to run really small diameter material because it can get “spaghetti’d up,” and I wish Citizen would have added a light inside the work cabinet.

All in all, 4/5 stars. The Citizen K16E is a solid machine. Talk to your dealer if you’re interested. Take care!”