CNC Lathe OverviewPosted: February 1, 2016
A CNC lathe is a machine that can spins material to do a variety of operations like sanding, drilling, cutting or sanding. Usually a lathe is used for more intricate cuts and Today, they replace the older multispindle lathes because they are easier to set up and operate.
A CNC lathe will use carbide tooling and is designed using a CAM process which creates a file that can be uploaded to the machine at a later time. The reason these are so popular is because you can set the machine once to do several pieces and it will continue to do them until you have programmed it to stop.
Each CNC lathe has a computer control that allows the machine to be controlled electronically, and this program can be modified to do a variety of things. When an operator runs a CNC lathe they have to have a lot of skill to understand the programs and how the programs to do the work.
You can work with wood when you use a CNC wood lathe or various metals depending on the project you are doing. The wood lathe can be used for wood but also for brass and Aluminum. There are also metalworking CNC lathes or milling machines that cut metal. You can do tapered work with these, drill holes, and create screw threads and more with these lathes.
Some CNC lathes are portable and others are stationary. In many shops for people who do woodwork for a hobby you would find a lathe because it is capable of making a lot of different designs and intricate cuts for things like stair railings, trellis’ or table legs.
The point of using a CNC lathe is to make a piece of material that is symmetrical and beautiful. This is done by placing the material in a machine and allowing that piece to be spun until it reaches the specification that was programmed into the computer. The cutting tools then move around it on the Z and X axis to cut away the material that isn’t needed to make the piece.
The process that the CNC lathe does is called turning and it can do a variety of shapes when it goes through the full process. Many machines are used to create a plain surface to make contour shapes, to taper the ends of some pieces and it makes threaded surfaces. You can also turn metal so that you can create rods bushes, pulleys or other shapes that are needed. In some industries they use a CNC lathe to fabricate parts that may have a cross section that is to move in a circular motion.
Any material can be used as long as it will hold up during the turning process while the software program is continuing its revolutions.
CNC lathes are best used when you want to turn out several pieces of the same size and shape and where you don’t want a lot of decoration. They do have their limitations but for the most part you can create nice pieces with this type of machine.
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