This is the CNC lathe at work

Así es el torno CNC trabajando
parallel cnc lathe

Computer numerical control lathes, CNC , are the most used machine tools in machining workshops. This machine offers multiple benefits for the industry, they are very easy to use, safe and, in addition, the working CNC lathe does not require the constant presence of an operator, so these costs are also reduced.

CNC lathes, a revolution for the machining industry

The lathe is one of the machines used for machining parts by removing chips. This type of device is considered a revolution for the machining industry thanks to computer numerical control, CNC.

These lathes carry out machining work using computer software; The software uses alphanumeric data that follows the as well as the execution of the chosen turning program.

The turning

Turning is a type of machining through which surfaces of revolution can be created through the removal of chips or small debris. The piece is placed on the lathe chuck and rotates on its own axis; This is when the lathe cutting tool, which is mounted on a turret, moves directly towards the piece to remove excess material and following a specific path.

The turning process is characterized by the large amounts of material that can be removed, as well as by well-defined and precise finishes. Numerically controlled lathes are capable of doing all the jobs that multiple types of lathes would do separately. On a CNC lathe you can do any task that a copying, parallel, vertical, automatic or revolver lathe carries out.

The different types of CNC lathes

In the machining industry you can find different types of CNC lathes. So we have:

  • Flat bed lathes , which can, in turn, be classified into two: There are those with a glass safety door and a cooling system and are used for the machining of small-sized parts or on which very complex work is to be carried out. . On the other hand, there are lathes that have a cooling system and a programmable electrical system with four stations. They are used for precise work on larger pieces.
  • Inclined bed lathes : thanks to this bed, the work is very precise and the piece has greater durability and rigidity. On this machine it is possible to carry out work, in addition to turning, milling and drilling.
  • Vertical CNC lathes : they have square guides on their axes to improve cutting quality. They are ideal for machining large parts.

CNC lathe working

The CNC lathe is a very easy tool to use and does not require expert turners. All you need is a person who knows how to use programming software and places the parts when necessary. In a CNC lathe working, the machine's X and Z axes are started simultaneously, at the same time interleaved; This allows creating conical or spherical pieces.

The tools must be placed in a tool holder and inserted into the lathe headstock. In this head it is possible to place several pieces at the same time and use them within the same machining process to give different finishes to the worked piece. The vast majority of CNC lathes can store up to 20 different tool holders that are rotated according to machining needs.

From the computer, the operator can control the cutting speed, the advance of the carriages, the rotation of the headstock and, in general, the entire turning process. This type of machine tools represent a great advance for the industry, since the jobs are not only easier, but also reduce their execution times; CNC lathes operate at high cutting and feed speeds that make manual lathes obsolete.

numerical control

Numerical control on a CNC lathe working is the key piece. Without it, the machine simply could not function. This technology dates back to the 1940s and is a system that allows machines to be automated using numbers, symbols and letters. But in order to program the machine, two special software are required, CAD and CAM.

CAD works on a computer, where a design of the part is made and saved. Subsequently, this design is passed through the CAM software , which is responsible for translating it into CNC language and establishing the parameters that the lathe must follow for machining the part. The CNC language, as well as those used by CAM software , are governed by DIN 66024 and 66025 standards. Here the characters of the programming language are established, such as N, which is used as a block number and is accompanied by a number between 1 and 999. We can also find the letters X, Y, Z that refer to the coordinates and axes; In the case of the lathe, only two axes are used.