What is CNC Turning?

The Basics Of CNC Lathes

A CNC lathe machine, also called live tooling lathes, is ideal for cutting any symmetrical cylindrical or spherical parts. Characteristically, a lathe spins a workpiece on a vertical or horizontal axis, while a fixed shaping instrument moves around it on a more or less linear path. The act of cutting a workpiece on a CNC lathe is called turning.

 

How CNC Turning Works

CNC lathes use a subtractive method to create the desired shape. With the G-Code created, a blank bar of stock material is loaded into the chuck of the lathe’s spindle. The chuck holds the workpiece in place while the spindle spins. When the spindle is up to speed, a stationary cutting tool is brought into contact with the workpiece to remove material until the desired geometry is achieved.

 

There are many operations that can be performed on a live tooling lathe, including facing, threading, knurling, drilling, boring, reaming, and taper turning. Different operations require tool changes and can increase cost and set-up time.

 

When all machining operations are completed, the part is cut from the stock for further post-processing. The CNC lathe is then ready to repeat the operation with little-to-no set-up time in between.

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