What is a CNC Lathe and how does it work?
A lathe is a machine that shapes an object called a workpiece into the desired shape by rotating said workpiece and removing the excess material with cutting tools or drill bits.
A CNC lathe does this shaping of the workpiece automatically by reading a set of programmed instructions inputted into its computer by the operator.
A quick overview of CNC lathe machines and what they are used for?
CNC (Computer Numeric Control) lathes have been around since the 1940s. These were however a far stretch from where they are now as those machines depended on punched tape for their instructions. They were far more limited than the highly computerised machines available today.
Lathes are a staple in the manufacturing industry and CNC technology has allowed them to become even more efficient and precise than usual.
Uses of CNC lathe machines
A CNC lathe is a very versatile piece of equipment and can be used across a wide range of industries to fabricate parts, finished products, prototypes, moulds, etc.
They can also work with many different materials including metals, glass, wood, plastics, and even do thermal spraying.
Types of Lathe Machines
There are two main types of lathe machines available for sale:
1. Horizontal lathe machines
In horizontal lathes, the workpiece is held horizontally in the machine. The tool, therefore, interacts with the workpiece in a side-to-side motion when working.
Horizontal lathes are ideal for working with long, narrow material and therefore take up more floor space.
2. Vertical lathe machines
The workpiece is held vertically in a vertical lathe. This offers more stability as there is no gravitational bending force acting on the workpiece. The tool interacts in an up-and-down motion with the workpiece.
Vertical lathes are suitable for wide, heavy materials. They have a relatively small floor print but are not able to work with long workpieces.
Lathes can also be classified by the number of axes they operate in.
A standard 2 axis lathe operates in the x and z axes. A 3 axes lathe operates in the x, y, and z axes.
There are also 4 and 5 axis CNC lathes that may bring the A, B, and C axes into play.
Main parts of a Lathe machine
The main parts of a lathe machine are:
- The bed
- The headstock assembly
- The chuck
- The carriage
- Tool turret
- CNC control panel
Types of Lathe operations
There are many types of CNC lathe operations. The main ones are:
How to choose the right CNC lathe machine?
It is most important to consider your required finished product when deciding on the right CNC lathe machine for you to purchase. You will need a machine that can handle the sizes and types of products that you want to produce.
You will also need to consider your budget and compare it to the initial cost of procuring that machine as well as to the operational cost of owning such a lathe.
The best advice is to get in touch with a reputable dealer and distributor of CNC lathes, who can assist you in purchasing one that best suits your requirements.
Applied Machinery is a reputable sales and servicing company that provides only reliable and affordable brands of CNC lathes. They have both new and used affordable CNC lathes for sale from brands such as Doosan, Hwacheon, Hyundai, Myday, and more. Get in touch with them today to find out more.