What is the Process of CNC Turning?

November 19, 2018

Despite the label, CNC Turning tools don’t spin when there’s cutting work to be done. In reality, metal workpieces are mounted and set spinning. Like a clay turning table, the metal part receives its shape. Only, it’s a cutting tool, not a sculptor’s hands, that imparts the encircling cut profiles. To apply that shape, the cutting edge moves linearly, with its servo motors responding to the smallest CNC directed input.

CNC Directed Cylindrical Profiling 

Computer Numerical Control technology provides the directional control inputs. It’s a simple enough principle to describe. As a general rule of thumb, the initial shape is two dimensional. The line arcs and turns. It also adds intricate outlines, which run top to bottom. That’s the job of the CNC controller, which is managed by a microprocessor or a computer that’s running CNC Turning software. Still, that shape is just that, a set of outlines, a silhouette, in other words. To add a third dimension to the outlines, the tool cradle sets the workpiece spinning.

It’s a Linear Cutting Process 

Or maybe it should be labelled a two-part object sculpting technique. Either way, the process doesn’t work without the spinning mechanism. Remember, the CNC Turning tool head can only move in lines, forward and back, then up and down when the tool moves along the part that’s being worked upon. Loaded with “Turning” software and motion translating Computer Numerical Control codes, the tool moves incrementally inwards and outwards. The two-dimensional component silhouette is being laid down. Even before the tool begins its finite journey, though, the workpiece has begun rotating. This is where the third dimension is accrued. With the cutting tool scribing its way around the circumference of the cylinder, the computer-stored outlines expand to encircle the entire cylindrical form.

Above And Beyond the General Principles 

It’s basically a digitally controlled lathe, this CNC Turning apparatus. Materials are diametrically subtracted, the tool and spin velocity are predetermined at the start, and the process only ends when the desired profile encircles the metal part. The process is also used on plastics and wood, but metal turning technology uses higher cutting tolerances. Lubricating and cooling fluids chase the tool. The equipment described above suggests a standard lathe, but modern CNC Turning equipment is a tad more capable than those old-style machines.

Indeed, CNC Turning tools can impart outside workpiece profiles. They then turn back to work on the inside surfaces of the component. Applying curves and notches, grooves and every other imaginable profile edge, the gear can also add geometry to flat panels, tubular components, and grooved workpieces. Long story short, this circumferential cutter subtracts material outlines to create pretty much any conceivable component form.

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