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In many workshop practices, questions have arisen regarding the purchase decision between an alloy wheel lathe, horizontal lathe and a vertical lathe. The fact is, CNC lathes come to the market in a variety of sizes and are available in both horizontal and vertical versions. When using a vertical lathe, the operator must work UP and DOWN. Using a horizontal lathe, the mechanic works sideways.
The question about which type of lathe works better as a CNC wheel repair machine
An alloy wheel lathe is a horizontal lathe providing the operator with the most comfortable working positions. One vertical type CNC lathe is designed for wheel restoration work. All work must be performed in the UP and DOWN positions.
The working position and space is very convenient for the wheel repair machine.
For a CNC lathe for repairing diamond grinding wheels, the choice is very simple and clear depending on the workshop application. With the lathe positioned horizontally, it is easy to install and remove the alloy wheels. It is easy to digitize the wheel, it is easy to make a trial run and it is easy to machine the wheels on a diamond CNC lathe.
In many wheel repair shops, the number of wheels to be machined from one CNC wheel repair machine can exceed 100 per day. Thanks to the horizontal positioning, the assembly or disassembly of the wheels is very easy, much easier and much faster than assembly on any vertical lathe.
The operator can easily lock and secure the wheel on the lathe chuck. Thanks to the horizontal positioning of the lathe, the operator can very conveniently visualize and check all details during the working procedure. Optimized position setting for digitizing on Lehigh wheel repair CNC lathe machine with horizontal type.
The operator can easily check all details in front of his eyes without constantly bending over. The digitization process requires the operator to carefully observe during the entire process to ensure that the probe remains on a solid surface all the time. With many alloy wheels, the typical path is NOT a straight line. Instead, it can be curved quite often. The operator may have to pause digitizing and move the wheel slightly to make sure the probe is on a hard surface of the wheel. On a horizontal lathe, the operator can easily check the digitization procedure step by step as everything is under his observation looking ahead. And everything is within his reach if he has to turn and adjust the position of the rim during this procedure.
In comparison, this procedure would be very difficult if someone was working on a vertical lathe. The probe hardware is now on the other side of the machine, away from the operator. It is much harder to work with this kind of setting.
Another very important step for this type of CNC lathe with aluminum rims is to perform a trial run before the actual machining process. The operator should watch carefully during this process to ensure that the cutting insert will follow the digitized profile from the start point to end point without any deviation. If so, the operator should make the adjustment there. To perform this procedure, the operator naturally sees the wheel mounted vertically, which is perfect for a horizontal lathe. However, it will not work on a vertical lathe that has an aluminum rim instead.
After adjustment, the tip of the cutting tool is perfectly aligned with the profile of the wheel surface during a test drive before actual machining.
The rear lip area can be machined with a clear view from the operator station on a horizontal version CNC wheel repair lathe.
When test driving on a CNC lathe, when the operator sees a gap between the cutting tip and the rim surface (see first photo above left), he should adjust so that the cutting insert touches the wheel surface (see image above right) and continue this test drive until to the end point. Everything works perfectly again on a horizontal test run machine. This will be very difficult for a vertical lathe.
Departure from the probe after digitizing the second section. The latter mileage is also recorded.
The cutting insert shows the coordinates of the end position of the second digitized section
One common rim repair application is to restore the rear lip after welding. Some people call it lip cutting, which is needed in all production wheel repair shops with welding capability. Again, it is natural to do it on a horizontal lathe.
However, this would again be a very difficult task on a vertical lathe as the cutting tool would be on the opposite side of the operator. The fact that the cutting tool insert would be below the wheel surface prevents the operator from safely cutting the edge.
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