What is CNC Turning?

CNC Lathe

What is CNC Turning?

What is Geomiq's CNC Turning Service?

This article delves into the workings of CNC Turning – a subtractive manufacturing process – by discussing the operations of CNC Turning machines, the types of parts that can be produced through turning, and the optimal design practices for maximising the benefits of CNC machining.

CNC turning involves the use of fixed cutting tools to eliminate material from a workpiece, which is held in place by a revolving chuck. This process is particularly suited to creating parts with symmetry about their central axis, and generally results in quicker and more cost-effective production than milling.

CNC turning, or lathing, is a common technique for producing cylindrical components. However, contemporary multi-axis CNC turning centers, fitted with CNC milling tools, can now fabricate non-cylindrical parts as well. By combining the efficiency of CNC turning with the versatility of CNC milling, these systems can generate an extensive variety of rotational symmetric geometries

How do CNC Turning Machines work?

1. Producing a CAD model

Design software, such as Solidworks and Autodesk Fusion 360, is used by engineers and machinists to produce a CAD model of their specific components.

2. Convert CAD model for CNC machine

The CAD model is then imported into the computer-aided manufacturing system. With proper execution, this process generates a sequence of digital instructions referred to as G-code, which dictates the CNC machine’s actions. These G-code commands specify the machine’s movements and velocities, enabling it to fabricate the desired component accurately.

3. CNC Milling Machine preparation

Firmly Secure the workpiece or block of material into the lathe chuck, and perform all of the necessary steps for configuring the turning machine.

4. Starting the turning process

Commence the CNC turning process by loading the program. Specialised cutting tools, either rotating at high speeds or set to a fixed revolution per minute, are utilised to remove material from the workpiece until it precisely duplicates the desired component.

What is the difference between CNC milling & turning

Cnc milling and turning

CNC turning is primarily used to construct cylindrical or conical surfaces. In contrast, the turning procedure necessitates the use of a lathe, which is a machine tool capable of revolving a workpiece around an axis of rotation, of executing various operations, including cutting, drilling, turning, and threading. Furthermore, it utilises a single-point turning tool that stays in direct contact with the workpiece throughout the process.

CNC milling, on the other hand, is utilised to generate flat surfaces using a milling machine. This process involves a multi-point cutting tool or a milling cutter. In contrast to turning, the milling process depends on intermittent cutting and multiple machine steps. 

A brief description of the procedure by which a CNC Lathe  creates components

To begin, the operator generates G-code using a CAD model and sets up the machine with a cylindrical stock material, or blank.

The workpiece commences rotating at a high velocity, while a fixed cutting tool tracks the desired profile, steadily eliminating material until the intended geometry is achieved.

If necessary, internal cutting tools and center drills can be employed to create holes along the workpiece’s central axis. In case the part requires flipping or relocation, the process must be repeated.

Otherwise, after the material has been removed, the component is ready for use or additional post-processing steps.

Are you ready to supercharge your manufacturing utilising Geomiq’s revolutionary Ai-powered platform? Click the button below to request a CNC quote through our platform.

March 31, 2023

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Geomiq. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world analytic products as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of any Geomiq Employee.