CNC Turning

Our Cnc turning equipment consists of three HAAS CNC turning centers and a Hardinge super precision lathe. These machines allow us to produce very accurate turned components that otherwise would be impossible. Our HAAS turning center is equipped with an automatic bar feeder which allow us to run production quantities light-out without any human intervention.

Our Machines

  • HAAS ST-20Y

  • HAAS  SL 20 + Servo Bar 300

  • Hardinge super precision lathe

What is a CNC Turning?

Computer Numerical Control or CNC turning is a machining process in which bars of material in a chuck are rotated while a cutting tool is fed to the piece to give the desired shape to the material. A turret with attached tooling is moved to the material bar and remove material until the desired shape is achieved. Since the desired shape of the material is achieved through the material removal process so it is also called subtraction machining. CNC turning is primarily used to cut materials like metal, wood, and plastic to manufacture parts that are cylindrical in shape. The CNC turning process is carried out with the help of a CNC lathe or turning center that cuts the materials to create the programmed result. Businesses in need of such components can avail CNC turning services from Gold Scales.

Use of CNC Turning

CNC Turning is typically used to create rotational and axis-symmetric parts like threads, holes, grooves, steps of various diameters, and even contoured surfaces. It is also used to create parts that are used in limited quantities as prototypes like custom-designed shafts and fasteners. Turning is also used as a secondary process to modify features of parts that are manufactured using a different method. It is also used for including precision features in parts whose basic shape has been formed. CNC turning is preferred over other processes because it is able to quickly make multiples of the same part from a single stock piece of material. The metals on which this process is used are alloy steel, carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron, aluminum, copper, zinc, and magnesium. In addition to this CNC turning is used to create parts that are used across medical, automotive, aerospace, optical, and power industries. CNC Turning is used to conduct operations such as:

  • Boring
  • Drilling
  • Facing
  • Grooving
  • Knurling
  • Parting

Difference between CNC Milling and CNC Turning

CNC turning and milling may seem exactly the same as these are relatively similar processes carried out to achieve similar results. Perhaps knowing the difference between the two will help people to decide the best process that perfectly fits their project requirements, saving them a lot of time and money. The basic difference between CNC turning and milling is the part that actually moves the machine or the raw material. In the CNC milling process the material is held in a place while the cutting tools rotate around it whereas, in CNC turning, the tool is in the same place while the material is rotated at speed to give the material the desired shape. This is the major difference between the two, however, some of the other major differences between CNC Turning and Milling include:

  • In CNC Turning, the cutting tool is single point whereas in CNC Milling the cutting tool is multi-point.
  • CNC Milling is ideal for machining flat, complex, and irregular surfaces while CNC Turning is best for creating cylindrical or conical surfaces.   
  • CNC turning involves continuous cutting while the tool maintains constant contact with the workpiece whereas CNC milling uses intermittent cutting in which the cutting teeth continuously engage and disengage from the raw material.
  • Discontinuous chips are produced by CNC milling whereas CNC turning produces continuous, discontinuous, and fragmented chips.

What is CNC Turning Process?

In the CNC turning process, a CNC lathe machine feeds the cutting tool in a linear motion along the rotating workpiece surface to remove material around the circumference to produce cylindrical parts such as slots, tapers, and threads having internal and external features. In the CNC turning process, the material is secured to a spindle within a CNC machine and a cutting tool in a linear manner is moved to act upon the material and remove the unwanted material till the desired shape is achieved. In the CNC turning process, a cutting tool which is a non-rotating part of the lathe is used to remove material from a rotating rigid material. CNC turning process is used to create parts of different shapes and sizes depending upon the used turning operations. Basically, it is a computer-controlled industrial machining process that is carried out on equipment that turns a lathe or a turning center. This process occurs with the axis of rotation in either horizontal or vertical orientation.    

What is a CNC Turning Machine?

A CNC turning machine is a sophisticated and automatically operated machine that is used to produce precision parts and components used across diverse industries. The CNC machine is given directions through a software program using Computer Numerical Control and the production is managed by an operator. The CNC turning machine comes with the attached cutting tool that produces precision parts and components made up of metal, wood, and plastic. The CNC machine cut and shapes a wide assortment of precision products ranging from automobile parts to general machine parts. This machinery includes machining tools like lathes, multi-axis spindles, milling, and boring machines. This machine is partially or completely enclosed by metal enclosures equipped with thermoplastic vision panels and is either hand loaded or automatically fed.

The Benefit of CNC Turning

CNC turning comes with a number of benefits, as it produces higher-quality results in a highly cost and time-effective manner. This process not only increases production speed but also results in enhanced production efficiency, more cost-effectiveness, and safer industrial operations. The precision turned components made by CNC turning are far superior compared to parts that are made by manual machining. This process offers companies a competitive edge by having high-quality, zero-defect products. Some of the other major benefits of CNC turning include:

  • Accuracy – The components made with this process are highly accurate, as this machining process creates a consistent and accurate cut ensuring the quality of the product. Besides the process can be repeated over and over exactly in the same manner.
  • Cost-effectiveness – The parts manufactured with this process are highly cost effective compared to parts that are made by manually operated machines. The CNC machine can run 24/7 without any break which will result in both time and cost-effectiveness.
  • Speed – CNC turning has the ability to churn out hundreds of parts while maintaining the quality and accuracy of the end product.

CNC Turning Machine Components

The main components of the CNC turning machine are discussed below:

  • Headstocks – It is the front section of the machine that has the driving motor along with the mechanisms to power the spindle. It acts as a holding device for the other components of the lathe-like gear chain, spindle, and driving pulley.  
  • Chucks – This component of the CNC turning machine is directly attached to the spindle and it grips the component that has to be machined and has a different number of jaws to hold the workpieces.
  • Control Panel – It is the brain of the CNC turning machine that is just behind the panel where the program is stored. The entire lathe is controlled by the keys on the panel which include starting and stopping a project, moving the axis, and entering new programs.
  • Tailstocks – It is located opposite the headstock, a tailstock directly attached to the bed, and is used to provide support for longer workpieces. It is a non-rotating center mount that provides support by hydraulic force and is used for boring.
  • Spindles – It is the rotating axis of the machine having a shaft at its heart. Spindles are found in both the headstock and tailstock.
  • Lathe bed – It is a base plate that rests on the table and provides support to other machine parts and is used for the sliding action. It can be extended for larger workpieces or to function as a conveyor belt.
  • Cutting tools – It is basically used to remove materials in different ways depending upon the shape and size of the tool.
  • Tool Turret – Turret is a component of the latest CNC machine that carries tools for the machine that was earlier handled by the carriage. The turret is capable of holding more tools and can even make switching from one operation to the other less time taking.   
  • Foot pedals – It is used to open or close the chucks or tailstock.

How to Operate CNC Turning Machine

CNC turning was earlier carried out manually and was quite a time-consuming task that requires an operator to closely monitor the process and there was a more likely chance of errors. Due to advancements in technology, turning is now carried out through a computer. An operator writes a computer program in this process to write a program specifying the essential dimensions. The file is transmitted to the lathe machine that controls the cutting tool to produce the part. Compared to the manual process, this process is highly accurate and efficient. Though CNC turning is a complex process but it can be explained in the following three simple steps:

  • Designing of the Piece – In the first step, the design is translated into CNC turning machine language. The drawings made of the part need to be captured electronically in software like AutoCAD or SolidWorks and convert this CAD file into the proper format CAM file that can be easily exported by the software.
  • Cutting Speed and Feed Rate – Two variables are required to be kept in the turning process, one is turning speed which is the velocity of the rotation of the workpiece and the other is the feed rate which is the velocity at which the cutting tool moves along the rotating workpiece. An expert need to determine these values as improper estimation will affect the results and in some materials, it may cause an uneven finish or irreparable damage to the workpiece. A higher feed rate and lower turning speeds are used for roughing out the shape and a high turning speed combined with lower feed is used to create a smooth finish and to produce parts that meet precise tolerance requirements.
  • Raw Materials – The type of material used determines the properties of the produced part. The same part made from different materials like wood, plastic, or metal will differ in functionality and finished surface.

CNC Turning FAQs                           

What Shapes Can CNC Turning Make?

Turning is a versatile machining process that makes a wide range of profiles depending on the turning process used. CNC turning is capable of producing a wide range of shapes such as cylinders, cones, squares, disks, or a combination of those shapes. Some turning service providers can even produce polygonal turning with the help of special rotating tools that facilitates in production of a hexagonal shape along the axis of rotation.

What Do You Need to Make A CNC Turned Part?

CNC turning is a complex process that can be simplified by having all the required things ready that are required to make a CNC turned part. First, you will need an electronic design of the part captured in software like AutoCAD that you have to make using the CNC turning process. Then you will need to keep in mind two variables, the first is turning speed, which is the velocity of the rotation of the workpiece, and the second is the feed rate which is the velocity at which the cutting tool moves along the rotating workpiece. The third thing that is required to make a CNC-turned part is the raw material with which the part will be made. The material can be wood, plastic, or metal.

Should You Use CNC Turning?

CNC turning is the most appropriate and ideal manufacturing process for creating axially symmetric precision parts for both mass production and small batches. This process is highly effective in producing accurate turned components that are otherwise hard to produce. The CNC turning process has emerged as the cornerstone in the manufacturing industry that reduces the cost as well as the production time that helps businesses stay ahead of the competition.  

Why take CNC turning services in the USA, and Canada from Gold-scales.com?

CNC turning is a precision machining technology that has gained immense popularity over the years in the product manufacturing sector. Gold Scales precision technology company offers CNC turning services in the U.S. and Canada for over ten years.  Some of the reasons to avail of CNC turning services from Gold Scales include:

  • ISO9001 certified and SGS verified manufacturer of CNC turned components
  • Hold specialization in high precision CNC machining services
  • Supplying precision machined parts for industries like Medical, DC Motor, Auto Suspension, Green Energy, and Hydraulic
  • World-class engineering customer support