The Process of a CNC Lathe

The CNC lathe is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment used in manual or CNC manufacturing. This results in the presence of a lathe in almost every shop. At its core, the lathe is a piece of equipment that rotates a workpiece on an axis and removes material with a variety of cutting tools perpendicular to the part. The process of a CNC lathe operates according to a program written and uploaded to the machine, allowing for highly precise and repeatable production.

We will look at some common operations, as well as some tips for the overall approach in the process.

How to Use a CNC Lathe

There are several steps in understanding how to operate a lathe correctly. The computer-programmed aspect of the CNC lathe, as well as the complexities of this highly versatile machine, means that training and skill are required. With this overview, you will understand the basic mechanics.

  1. Be sure the lathe is powered down. Safety always comes first.
  2. The cutting tool is loaded first. This single-point cutting tool is held by bolts, the tool holder is typically attached to the tool post with a quick-release lever, and the tool post is mounted on the lathe machine with a T-bolt.
  3. Load the part in the chuck securely. Since in many operations the part is in movement, both the design and tension of the chuck are important.
  4. Check alignment and tolerances with the “learning eye”. This checks alignment to guarantee the program will run in sync.
  5. Make adjustments, as needed, to the part placement to be sure the cutting tool will contact the part at “zero” for smooth, clean cuts.
  6. Enter and execute the program.

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Rapid Enterprises is a full-service CNC precision machine shop located in Toronto, offering machining solutions across 5 axis machining.

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Rapid Enterprises

Rapid Enterprises

Rapid Enterprises is a full-service CNC precision machine shop located in Toronto, offering machining solutions across 5 axis machining.

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