CNC Turning Lathe Projects, Plans, Ideas, Files, Applications
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Selecting the Best Size CNC Lathe
When selecting the best size CNC lathe, youll want to consider the part sizes O.D. that you will be making. Just as the axis movement, live tooling, and a number of tooling positions drive the complexity of parts that can be produced, the bar capacity outer diameter size determines the size parts. Bar feeders push the stock through the collets for production runs. The maximum collected and chucked sizes possible are very different. The best efficiency comes from machines that are closest to the size parts you need though you can turn something very small from a very large stock. Some CNC lathes may already come with barfeeders, Make sure to ask the seller if it includes a barfeeder at the current price.
2 Axis Lathes
A standard 2-axis CNC lathe has X and Z axes. Bar stock is either fed or inserted into the Z-axis through the collet and a tool cuts as the stock rotates. This is used for round parts.
3 Axis Lathes and CNC Turning Centers
When a third axis (Y) is added perpendicular to X and Z, curves can be machined. These are driven by ball screw actuators. The Y-axis slides on linear guides or box ways. Many manufacturers have added other ways to move the tools, evolving the 3-axis machine into turning centers to be more descriptive. The line between 3-axis and 4-axis turning can be blurred as manufacturers add features to a 3-axis that allow for more machining angles but may not provide a full range of motion in the 4th axis.
In a 3-axis CNC turning center, tools are arranged on a round turret with tooling slots. The bar stock is fed through a bar feeder and the turret is programmed to rotate and articulate on to meet the bar stock to cut the material. Certain CNC turning centers have more than one spindle. In a dual spindle CNC turning center, the part is fed from the originated spindle to the secondary spindle where the other side of the part can have additional machining performed. The turrets on dual-spindle CNC turning centers have tool slots on both sides of the turret and can make more complex parts than those with a single spindle. The tool (on the turret) is programmed to move to the bar.
4 Axis Lathe
To orient a workpiece accurately for live tooling (like a drill), a rotary C-axis can be employed, creating a 4-axis machine. Tiny motors in the tooling mounted on the turret convert the lathe into a conventional milling machine. These servomotors hold position to allow for contouring motion in 4-axis CNC lathes. In this way, the machine can make profiling cuts using simultaneous X, Y and Z axes motion with the C-axis.
The complexity of the parts that can be made on these 3-axis turning centers is driven by the live tooling capabilities as well as the number of tooling slots on the turret. Some manufacturers mount independent milling heads with tool change capabilities make this machining center even more efficient.
5 Axis Lathes
The fifth axis to be added is usually the A or B axis. The machine has either an XYZAC or XYZBC toolpath. Its this B-axis capability that sets apart this kind of CNC lathe. This rotates around the Y axis making compound angle cuts possible. Its possible to do all milling and turning operations in one setup because the machine supports the entire range of milling and turning operations. This is the most versatile of all the lathes. We have 5 axis lathe listings available.