An Introduction to CNC Slant Bed Lathe

Posted on May 6, 2021

CNC Slant Bed Lathe

CNC slant bed lathes offer the user a much larger, heavier, stationary machine but with a smaller footprint. The structure of the CNC slant bed lathe not only provides excellent rigidity and thermal stability but offers the casting of the machine tool great overall mass and stability.

What Is a CNC Slant Bed Lathe?

The CNC slant bed lathe is the modern CNC turning machine that features the true slant bed design, providing stable and high precision machining operations. The slant bed design is one classic and popular lathe configuration design today, which can be distinct from the flatbed with a flying wedge design. The CNC bed lathe achieves the slant design through the employment of a bolt-on wedge, which is installed on the cross slide, and the casting of the CNC lathe machine is critically produced with the slant built-in. 

CNC slant bed lathes offer the user a much larger, heavier, stationary machine but with a smaller footprint. The structure of the CNC slant bed lathe not only provides excellent rigidity and thermal stability but offers the casting of the machine tool great overall mass and stability. With exceptional rigidity, the CNC slant bed lathe can be utilized to handle and cut difficult materials or various heavy-duty applications. In general, the CNC slant bed mounted in two common slant angles, including 30° or 45°, there are also some lathes with a 60° slant angle design in the market.

CNC slant bed lathe uses various cutting tools to cut and shape difficult metals and also some other sorts of materials like plastics at a high speed. Under the CNC control, which stands for computer numerical control system, and easy setups, the CNC slant bed lathes which provide larger X-axis rails can remove the materials through the rotating workpieces on the axes, creating unique and accurate profiles and dimensions of the metal components. Accommodating a wide range of cutting tools, the rigid CNC slant bed lathe machine can be used to complete machining jobs including drilling, milling, tapping, sanding, facing, knurling, drilling, and other metal deformation processes.

Benefits of Slant Bed Design

The slant bed design of the CNC slant bed lathe machine provides numerous advantages, making the rigid turning machines the most common and demanding solution in the modern metalworking environment. 

● Chip Evacuation:

One strong strength of the CNC slant bed lathe is the excellent chip evacuation performance. In a large range of metal machining tasks including turning, drilling, milling, and more, the metal chips are formed during the cutting process inevitably. In a CNC slant bed lathe, the chips can be washed down toward the “chip bed” right away simply due to gravity and the cooling system’s flows. 

The structure prevents the created metal chips from accumulating on the working area, the flat surfaces, and therefore effectively regulates the chips and the condition of the CNC lathe machine in mass production applications. The ideal chip evacuation of the CNC slant bed lathe machine can also help lengthen the overall life spans of the modern machine tool since the tool wear is reduced on the ways and other components of the CNC slant bed lathe.

● Longer Guide Rail Length:

Secondly, the slant bed designs enable the CNC slant bed lathe machines to have a larger guide rail length, allowing more flexible X-axis travels. Compared to slant bed lathe, the conventional lathe machines typically have a flatbed design and shorter guide rail length, which is affected by the horizontal depth of the lathe casting. 

To understand the structure, you can imagine there is a square box where the straight sides have fixed lengths. While the “angular distance” that is measured from one corner to another will be much larger, the design allows the CNC slant bed lathes to have longer axis rails. The advantage indicates that the CNC slant bed lathes are better suited for larger pieces, which may be more challenging in other types of lathe machines. 

● Thermal Stability and Less Vibration: 

Another feature of the CNC slant bed lathe is the ideal thermal stability, which is advantageous during various machining operations, especially for heavy-duty applications. The angular structure of the base casting and the extended guideways of axes can bring great rigidity and exceptional part accuracies. 

As mentioned earlier, the linear axes are longer in CNC slant bed lathes, and the base saddles that carry the turret with the cutting tools also come in longer form, ensuring sufficient support for the tools and turret. 

Also, the spindle of the CNC slant bed lathe works relatively smoothly, so the high-performance part and rigid structure lead to minimum cutting vibration. On the other hand, the general flat-bed CNC lathe has the cutter and the cutting force formed by the workpiece is 90° to the gravity, making the operations easier to generate vibration. 

Basic Elements of CNC Slant Bed Lathes

In addition to the slant bed design, there are basic elements in CNC slant bed lathes that are essential to provide rigidity and high precision machining operations, including the headstock, the tailstock, and the carriage. The design and the material of the parts will be focused on the stability and durability to achieve the universal goals of the lathe machines.

For starters, the headstock is the part that contains the turn spindles, which hold the workpieces to be machined. Many headstocks of CNC slant bed lathe have speed change systems, either automated or manual, and several gears for adjustment. The headstock is produced to accommodate the great cutting forces, otherwise, the force may distort the component and cause great vibrations to the workpieces, or even reduce the tool and machine’s life.

Secondly, the tailstock is an essential component, which the lathe center is installed with. It is used to support the free end of the work during machining tasks in CNC slant bed lathe machines. In some cases, tailstock also holds the tools for forming holes. With the tailstock, the CNC slant bed lathe is preferred to use for cutting, drilling, reaming, creating holes, and machining some longer and slender products. Different from the operations on a drill press, the workpieces are typically rotated, and the holes can be cut along the linear axis with high precision.

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