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What is a CNC Lathe and How Does it Work?

To better navigate an object, having basic knowledge regarding its background (such as – what it is, its purpose, types, and outcomes) is important. CNC Machines, such as CNC Lathes, are required to be programmed to produce results. These machines can be programmed in two ways – either by using the CAD/CAM system or directly through the CNC machine. These machines are highly preferred by manufacturing industries as it provides these advantages:

  • Speedy Production (production is time-bound)
  • Easy swapping of tools (versatile and flexible)
  • Produces items that are accurate to the required measurement
  • Cost-Efficient and Dependable(produces less material waste)

CNC Lathes: Process and Outcome

Designed mainly to perform CNC Turning services, such as – Drilling, Grooving, Parting, Tapping, Facing, and Milling.

CNC Lathe machining performs several processes to produce work-pieces. The most basic thing to do before everything else is to upload the program (G-code programming) through the CAD/CAM software to provide instructions to the machine tool so it would know what or how to shift in order to produce work-pieces that are accurate to the required shape and dimension.
This type of CNC machine is commonly utilized by industries such as:

  • Commercial
  • Automotive
  • Electronics
  • Medical
  • Oil and Gas
  • Aerospace
  • Mining

Items produced by CNC Lathes include everyday objects such as bowls, legs of your dining table, baseball bats, musical instruments and a lot more.

Types of CNC Lathes

In terms of classification, Lathes are segregated based on its spindle, number of movement axes, and work requirements. The most common, however, are through its spindle and axis –

There are 2-axis, 3-axis, 4-axis, and 5-axis CNC Lathes. There is also a newer innovation, a 6-axis lathe – also dubbed as, “Multiple Spindle Machines” – this type of CNC lathe is more flexible and packed with advanced features in contrast to its predecessors. These lathes perform differently depending on the number of axes.

CNC Lathes are also classified based on its spindle or its “axis of rotation”- it could either be Horizontal or Vertical. For bigger work-pieces, Vertical CNC Lathes are more recommended.

How to Navigate CNC Lathes

When navigating CNC Lathes, there are five basic steps that you should follow to ensure safety for both worker and machine. Below are the steps to follow –

Note: Above everything else, be sure to understand – study and familiarize the program – failure to do so could lead to inaccurate work-pieces which results to additional expense

  1. Power DOWN your CNC Lathes – To avoid unnecessary workplace accidents, be sure that the machine is completely powered down (meaning, there should be ZERO chance that it might accidentally run or else this could harm workers and damage the machinery).
  2. Place the part SECURELY – Tighten the screws properly.
  3. Choose and place your preferred tool – This type of CNC machine is able to utilize and perform a variety of machining techniques. To do so, you need to use tools and this machine is able to cater a wide range of tools. All you need to do is to identify the tools that should be used for that design and load it to the tool turret.
  4. Check if the tools are neatly and properly placed – Before turning the machine on, be sure to check thoroughly – adjust the tools accordingly if needed. Check it through the machine’s learning eye. Warm the machine first before proceeding – test its speed and accuracy. Once the tools are positioned correctly, rest assured that the operation will go smoothly as expected. Remember, incorrect positioning of the tools could lead to collision and in turn, damage the tools.
  5. Upload the program to the CAD/CAM System – Once everything is secured – and is technically safe to operate – load up the program and allow the machine to execute the uploaded instructions. If it is properly maintained, you will be guaranteed with a timely production with accurate and precise work-pieces.

During the production process, be sure to remain alert for possible adjustments or troubles that could lead to accidents. After the production, routinely remove or dust-off chips and debris from the CNC Lathe’s surface to avoid clogging and degrading the performance of your machine. Arrange your tools properly and make sure that none are missing. Once satisfied, you may turn off your machinery.

If you’re interested in purchasing a lathe machine, browse our extensive inventory of used vertical lathe machines and used horizontal lathes. Contact us at Tramar Industries and we’ll help you find the right machine for the job.

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