Deconstructing the CNC Lathe
Computer Numerical Control, or CNC, has been connected to various new machinery and technologies. The CNC lathe is one of those machines which is used in a variety of production processes.
Due to the growing numbers of advanced technologies, CNC lathes are replacing some of the traditional production lathes, such as the multi-spindle.
CNC lathes have many benefits. First of all, they can be operated easily. They provide vast repeatability, along with its impressive accuracy in production.
The CNC lathe is usually designed to use advanced versions of carbide tooling and procedures. A component can be designed for modifications, and the tool paths of the machines can be programmed often through the use of CAM or CAD processes.
However, the tools or parts can be manually designed by a programmer as well. The coded computer file will then be uploaded to the CNC equipment, and the machine will then create the desired components automatically, for which it was instructed to design.
A menu-type connection on the computer will control the CNC lather. The operator who organizes the process will have full access to the visual simulation of the way the machine will work during the production phase.
Because of this technology, there is no longer the need for the machine operator to know all the specifics of the equipment. Back in the days, the operator had to be fully informed about the old lathe versions since some processes needed to be operated manually.
The Primary Parts of the CNC Lathe
CNC lathes are created in different ways, depending on the manufacturer designing the equipment. However, most of them have a substantial correlation in their configurations.
• The turret is the part of the CNC machine that clutches to the tool holders and arranges them accordingly.
• The spindle is created to hold the workpiece.
• Slides are added to enable the turret to move in different axes simultaneously.
Typically, CNC machines are entirely enclosed for safety and health purposes of any machine operators present during the production phase.
There has been a momentous progress in the CNC machining business, especially in the fields responsible for the layout and use of CNC lathe equipment. Various lathe manufacturers use various user interfaces, which could be challenging for some operators. However, these systems mostly follow the same principles since CNC lathes are programmed to perform resembling features, in terms of what they’re intended to produce.
Like many CNC machines, the lathes have become an essential part of the manufacturing business in the past several years.
So, it’s anticipated that the performance of these machines will continue to develop and bring significant impact to the industry.
The Functions of CNC Lathes Machines
Using CNC lathe machines will slowly shave the material being worked on. The result will be a sophisticated part or product. Since these machines are flexible, they’re being used by various industries including sporting, firearms manufacturing, aerospace, electronics, automotive, and so much more.
The CNC lathe can be utilized to create screw threads and plane surfaces, or in cases like the ornamental lathes, three-dimensional, complex products.
In any situation, the workpiece is firmly held by one or two centers, with one being horizontally moved. However, the materials can also be held in place using clamps and collets.
Here are some excellent examples of finished products through using CNC lathe machines:
• Musical instruments
• Baseball bats
• Gun barrels
• Cue sticks
• Legs of dining room tables and chairs
The Different Forms of CNC Lathes
CNC Vertical Lathes
When using the CNC vertical lathe, the workpiece will rotate upright, like how a pottery wheel operates, enabling the spindle to cut at angles that are difficult to reach. This provides vertical lathes a naturally small footprint, making them perfect for producing massive and heavy workpieces, which includes those that required to be loaded using a crane.
Moreover, the small footprint enables the choice of dual-spindles to work on material without having to compromise more floor space.
CNC Horizontal Lathes
The horizontal lathe machining is done through the use of horizontally-designed lathes. The equipment will rotate the workpiece, similar to how a rotisserie chicken is reeled, while the tooling will mold the piece by shaving away excess materials.
Since the workpiece has to lie vertically, the horizontal lathes have big footprints and will take more floor space. This means that it’s best to keep them reserved for use on small and midsize workpieces.
Also, since the chuck holds the workpiece vertically and against the natural gravitational pull of the material, the CNC horizontal lathe is ideal for light materials. Else, you increase the risk of damaging the chuck of the machine.
This information is essential and must always be kept in mind when buying a used CNC lathe machine. In addition, it’s best to ask the dealer about the past work history of the machine.
Selecting the Right Lathe Machine
Regardless of what form of lathe machine you decide to get, you must make sure that your equipment has high-quality clamps. These clamps will hold the workpiece securely while the tooling gets rid of the excess materials.
If you have low-quality clamps, there’s a chance that they will move around while work is still on-going, which will cause erroneous measurements.
Also, if you’re looking for used lathe equipment, you need to learn about its tolerance. Through this, you won’t need to perform numerous finishing procedures to complete a workpiece.
Each of the lathe types has their upsides and downsides. For instance, the horizontal lathe is usually cheaper compared to the vertical one. However, both of them are ideal for working on small workpieces. The vertical lathe is usually costly, but it’s efficient when it comes to floor space, and it can work on large workpieces.
The ideal CNC lathe machine for you will depend on what type your business is and what your manufacturing requirements are.
Due to their many functions and compound features, it’s in your best interest to discuss with an expert before deciding on which lathe machine to buy.
There’s no need to worry too much; most sales representatives have years of experience and vast knowledge when it comes to lathe machines.