Alloy Wheel Lathe

What is an alloy wheel lathe?

An alloy wheel lathe deals with the repair of the diamond cut wheel, which refurbishes and provides it with new and sharp surface. A diamond cut wheel is an alloy wheel that is made by means if diamond cutting. This process is done on the alloy wheel lathe, which comes in horizontal and vertical form. We will go through the detail of this machine in the following paragraph.

The diamond cutting process

Similar to a conventional lathe, the operation process of alloy wheel repair relies on contact between the diamond cutting tool and the diamond cut wheel. As the wheel rotates along with the spindle and the tool is advanced, the tool can help create a shiny alloy finish on the wheel. By doing so, it stabilizes the diamond cut wheel and prevents it from easily corroding. 

This diamond cutting process is conducted with the CNC system, which digitizes the parameters regarding the result of the output into programs. This helps the alloy wheel repair becomes standard and leaves better quality of the wheel. In other words, it is the alloy wheel lathe that makes the process of alloy wheel repair precise and efficient. 

Horizontal or vertical version

However, in many workshop practices, questions have arisen regarding the purchase decision between a horizontal and a vertical alloy wheel lathe. To begin with, when using a vertical lathe, the operator must work UP and DOWN. Using a horizontal lathe, the mechanic works sideways.

● Attainable operation methods
As far as we know, the difference between the horizontal and vertical version is in the arrangement of the tool and workpiece. The former places the wheel vertically and the tool parallel to the horizontal surface, while the latter reverses the orientation between them. Both horizontal and vertical versions are attainable for the alloy wheel lathes, but depend on the choice by the manufacturer.

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, make a trial run, and machine the wheels on a diamond CNC lathe.

● Easy installation with alloy wheel lathe
Now that we got the picture of the appearance of the horizontal and vertical alloy wheel lathes, let’s look more precisely regarding the installation of this device. The reason why most manufacturers choose horizontal units over the vertical counterparts is that the former is easier to install. 

Although there comes in different sizes of lathes that can handle different sizes of workpieces, the rigid diamond cut wheel still requires stable support that allows it to be machined. With a horizontal unit, the loading and unloading of the wheel are not restricted to the space limit like that on the vertical unit. This not only makes the installation easier, but also enables the operator to check if the wheel is firmly clamped or not.

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.

● Easy digitization with alloy rim repair equipment
Thanks to the horizontal positioning of the lathe, the operator can visualize and check all details during the working procedure. This helps optimize the position setting for realizing the CNC technology by digitizing the alloy wheel lathe with the horizontal type.

That is, the horizontal orientation reinforces the easiest way to make the optimal efficiency during the machining process. On the one hand, the operator can easily check all details in front of his eyes without constantly bending over. On the other hand, the digitization of the process prevents any possible deviation.

Besides, 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.

● The machining capability
In addition to the surface of the wheel that faces the tool, the rear lip area can be machined with a clear view from the operator station on a horizontal version CNC wheel repair lathe.

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 is below the wheel surface prevents the operator from safely cutting the edge.

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