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What Is CNC Turning and Milling?
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Posted on Dec 15, 20200
CNC turning is used as a manufacturing process to produce precision parts. CNC turning centers, sometimes synonymous with CNC lathes, are typically more flexible, offer more tooling and design options, and can produce more parts per day. As one of the most basic machining processes, CNC turning is a practical manufacturing process for many types of parts manufacturing. Like other CNC technologies, CNC turning uses computer-aided drawing (CAD) files to recreate parts with high accuracy and precision.
Precision turned components are produced by CNC turning, which can be made with CNC screw machines or CNC lathes. CNC screw machines are multi-spindle, which allows the processing of several parts at the same time while achieving high production capacities. In this article, we'll address the turning process that is used to produce precision parts.
CNC turning is used as a manufacturing process to produce precision parts, such as medical parts or mechanical parts. CNC turning centers, sometimes synonymous with CNC lathes, are typically more flexible, offer more tooling and design options, and can produce more parts per day. As one of the most basic machining processes, CNC turning is a practical manufacturing process for many types of parts manufacturing. Like other CNC technologies, CNC turning uses computer-aided drawing (CAD) files to recreate parts with high accuracy and precision.
In CNC turning, material bars are held in a chuck and rotated (spun) while various tools are "pressed" against the blank to remove material and obtain the desired shape and properties. When a workpiece requires both turning and milling, the rotation of the bar can be stopped to allow milling (usually a flat surface). This technique allows for a wide variety of shapes, sizes, features, and even types of turned materials and parts.
CNC turning centers have tooling mounted on the turret for proper placement on the sleeve. When live tooling is used, it allows users to program a wide range of functions on a single element, such as drilled holes, grooves, and milled surfaces. Live-tool CNC turning centers would be limited to the number and types of features that can be performed on the part.
Machines like the leverage Swiss CNC screw machining, CNC turning, and multi-spindle screw machines can all be used to manufacture precision turned components, with additional value-added functions include sourcing, machining, heat treatment, metal finishing, packaging, and inventory management. In terms of applications, turned parts can be used in industries such as electronics, automotive, household appliances, HVAC, marine, medical, telecommunications, petroleum, and optical. Precision medical parts are intricate components that are formed with tight tolerances. They are composed of sanitary-grade materials such as titanium and stainless steel to ensure adherence to medical standards.
Thanks to new turning processes that provide design possibilities and structural benefits that cannot be profitably reproduced with any other production method, turned parts offer exceptional precision in terms of depth and dimensions. Turning on CNC machines begins after attaching a round, square, or hexagonal blank to the spring sleeves of the spindles. This blank then begins to rotate as the multiple automated cutting, drilling, notching, and knurling tools attached to the machine the blank into precision turned parts, removing excess material, smoothing, and drilling. The main drive shaft of the Swiss screw machine supplies power to the main work shaft of the machine bed and controls the two front camshafts.
The turned parts made from the machine's engine, located in the base of the machine, are the central power source for all operations and will vary in power depending on machine size, speed, and material being processed. A CNC lathe is a computer-controlled machine tool capable of shaping precision turned parts by holding and rotating a blank, also called a workpiece, on a single spindle while the drill bit performs the cutting operation.
In a more recent development, CNC lathes are quickly replacing the older type lathes as they are generally considered easier to set up and operate as less detailed lathe knowledge is required. Typically, manufacturers of precision turned parts have the operator and setter as the same person.
As with CNC milling, a CNC lathe holds a block of material and the mechanism rotates while the material is removed to give shape. CNC turning is typically used to make cylindrical molds and is a simple process:
● The CAD model is drawn on a computer by an engineer or designer.
● The CAD file is transferred to the CNC reading program, also known as G-code. The G code is used to configure the CNC turning center.
● The stock is rotated on the metal bar while the CNC cutting tool removes the material to the shape specified by the software.
● Parts can be left unchanged by CNC turning (with more visible machine marks) or sandblasted and finished smooth.
For more complex shapes and finishes, CNC turning can be combined with CNC milling and other processes.
What part types can CNC Swiss Turning produce?
CNC swiss turning uses many different operations to create parts including facing to produce a flat surface, threading (internal and external) knurling for regular roughness on a cylinder shape, drilling and boring to make holes, and more.
Virtually any type of cylindrical, gear, or rounded part can be created using CNC turning. The operation is used to manufacture parts for automotive, aerospace, agriculture, and other industries. CNC turning is used for shift knobs, auto parts, knobs, pulleys and shafts, toy parts, flywheels, hubs, disc cam, crankshafts, and more.
As a staple in precision parts manufacturers, if a part can be made using CNC turning it will result in the highest quality part against traditional or manual methods. Buyers can count on a high accuracy of each surface, stable precision regardless of the production run, fine finishing, and high quality for fine details.
CNC turning is a great technology for functional prototypes, end-use parts, cylindrical features, and parts with holes, flats, grooves, and slots. The process works quickly, efficiently, and is typically cost-effective for buyers looking for large quantities. Because CNC turning is so efficient, there is minimal waste.
Like all CNC machine types, CNC turning can process almost any type of material. CNC turning can produce parts from wood, plastics, or metals.
Materials that can be used with a CNC milling process include:
● Plastics: polyvinyl chloride (PVC), acrylic sheets, nylon, polycarbonate, polypropylene, PTFE, and more
● Metals and alloys: steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, brass, and more
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