A CNC lathe machine might be the only machine you need!

Posted on Jul 7, 2020

A CNC lathe machine might be the only machine you need

New in CNC machining and would like to learn more about CNC machining? In fact, there were so many types of CNC machines, and today we will deal with only one type, that is, CNC lathe machines.

What is a CNC lathe machine?

A CNC lathe machine is considered to be the only universal CNC tool because a lathe can do all the parts needed for another lathe. The lathe rotates the workpiece in the spindle, and the fixed cutting tool approaches the workpiece to cut off chips. Due to this geometry, lathes are ideal for parts that have symmetry around a certain axis that could get caught in the spindle.

CNC lathes have at least the ability to drive a cutting tool under the control of g-code on 2 axes, referred to as X and Z. They can also have a significant number of other functions, and there are many varieties of lathe machines, such as Swiss lathes.

Read More: The Basic Concepts of CNC Lathe


Cutting an object on a lathe is called "turning".

Due to technological advances, CNC lathe machines are quickly replacing some older and more traditionally used production lathes, such as multi-spindle. CNC lathes have many advantages. They can be easily configured and operated. They offer great repeatability as well as the highest accuracy in production.

CNC lathes are usually designed to use modern versions of cemented carbide tools and processes. The part can be designed for customization, and machine tool paths are often programmed using CAD or CAM processes. However, the programmer can also manually design a part or tool path. The resulting encoded computer file is then sent to the CNC machine, and then the machine automatically produces the desired parts for which it was programmed.

Read More: Lathe machining is versatile and one of the most widely used machine tools, Turning and Milling Make the Best Lathe Machining


CNC lathe applications

In CNC lathes, the workpiece is slowly sheared. The result is a beautifully finished product or a complicated part. Because these machines are so versatile, they are used by many industries, including automotive, electronics, aerospace, firearms, sports and many more.

A CNC lathe can be used to produce flat surfaces and threads or, in the case of decorative lathes, three-dimensional products that are quite complex. In any case, the workpiece is firmly held by one or two means, at least one of which is horizontally shifted. However, the material can also be secured with clamps or collets.

Some prime examples of finished items as a result of using CNC lathe machines (lathe machining) include:

●     Baseball Bats

●     Bowls

●     Auto Camshafts

●     Engine Crankshafts

●     Cue sticks

●     Dining Room Table and Chair Legs

●     Gun Barrels

●     Musical Instruments

A lathe is a machine that rotates the workpiece on the spindle to cut off excess material, using cutting tools and drills of different diameters that are applied to the workpiece to produce a symmetrical workpiece. These machines are able to produce various shapes, cuts and details on the rotating working part. On a CNC lathe, the mechanic can program the machine to make difficult cuts on hard materials and quickly produce high-quality components. CNC lathes come in either vertical or horizontal form. In this article we will discuss the differences and uses of the two.

CNC horizontal lathes

The CNC horizontal lathe is made using horizontally configured lathes. These machines rotate the workpiece cylindrically like a rotisserie chicken, and the tooling shapes the piece, cutting off excess material. Because workpieces must lie vertically, horizontal lathes usually have a larger surface area or space, making them best reserved for use on smaller or medium-sized workpieces. Similarly, because the handle on these machines holds the workpiece vertically, despite the gravitational pull of the object downwards, these machines are best suited to lighter materials, otherwise there is a risk of damage to the handle. This information is particularly important to keep in mind if you are buying a used CNC lathe and be sure to ask your dealer about the past of the machine.


CNC vertical lathes

On a vertical CNC lathe, the workpiece rotates vertically, like a potter's wheel, allowing the spindle to be cut at hardly accessible angles. As a result, vertical lathes naturally have a smaller surface area than horizontal lathes, which makes them ideal for the production of very large and heavy objects, including those that have to be loaded with a crane. The smaller size also allows you to work with two spindles per piece without compromising the extra floor surface and makes them a good choice for tweezer operation. In addition, gravity works in favor of the vertical design of the machine, keeping the workpiece stable throughout the entire machining process, which allows stable spindle movement and more accurate cutting. Considering these advantages, it should be noted that vertical lathes are usually more expensive than their horizontal counterparts.


Choosing the right lathe

No matter what type of lathe you get, make sure it has high quality clamps and chuck. Chucks keep the object stationary, and tooling removes excess material. Poor quality clamps tend to move during operation, which can lead to inaccurate measurements. In addition, if you are buying a used lathe, you need to ask about the tolerance of the CNC machine, in this way you will not have to perform many finishing operations to finish the piece. Both types of lathes have different advantages and disadvantages. For example, horizontal lathes are usually cheaper than vertical lathes, but are better suited to machining smaller workpieces. Vertical lathes usually cost more than horizontal lathes, but take up more space and can work on larger components. The best machine will depend on business and production needs. Because of their multiple uses and complex features, it is best to speak to an expert before committing to a particular lathe machine.


Types of lathes:

Like any other machine, the lathe also has different varieties that are used to meet different working requirements. Let's take a look at the main types of CNC lathes:

Engine lathes
A motor lathe that is very popular among manufacturers and is perfectly suited to low-power operations. But this does not mean that it cannot be used for high power operations. This device is very reliable and versatile, works in a wide range of speeds and feed rates. This type is ideal for manufacturers looking for a machine that works with a variety of metals.

Central lathe
A central lathe is a type of lathe in which the spindle speed is managed using a set of gears operated by a lever.

Gap bed lathe
This type of lathe includes a removable bed section to accommodate the larger workpiece diameter, hence the name of the vane lathe. In principle, the part next to the headstock can be removed.

Speed lathes
A simpler version of the lathe, a speed lathe only has a headstock, a tailstock and a turret. This type is usually used for light machine operation because it can only work at three or four speeds.

Bench lathe
Smaller table lathe can be mounted on a workbench for lighter work.

Tool lathes
This type is known for providing the best finish. The tool lathe is very versatile, works with many speeds and feeds.

Turret lathes
A turret lathe is ideal for fast and sequential work. Thanks to the tool holder nearby, performing many operations on one part becomes easier to assemble.

Special-purpose lathes
These special purpose lathes are used to manufacture heavy identical parts. Some of the popular special purpose lathes include CNC automatic lathes, crankshaft lathes, table type jewelry lathes, copying lathes and multi-spindle lathes.

Read More: CNC Lathes Are the Workhorse of Any Machine Shop


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