Manual and CNC Lathes and Turning Centers
This website is dedicated to the sale of new and used turning equipment. We will discuss several types of metalworking lathes and also woodworking lathes on this website. The turning lathes are categorized by type and size for easy reference. You can click on the link above to view new and used turning lathes from all over the world, but mainly the southeastern United States.
Manual Engine Lathes:This type of turning equipment is used primarily to turn the O.D. of a round shaft between centers to a desired diameter, but may also be used to cut threads, face, knurl and a few other operations by manual skill. The main specifications in selecting an engine lathe are the swing over the ways or cross slide and center distance. Manual lathes range in swing from approx: 8 to 36 are most common.
Manual Turret Lathes: These turning machines are designed to operate like a normal engine lathe but have typically a 6 or 8 station turret on the compound that hold several boring tools. These machines are great for semi-production turning of internal threads and bores. Once very common before the advent of cnc turning technology, they have now become less common. For the right application in turning however, they still have a useful place.
CNC Lathes: 2 & 4 Axis, Multi-Function:
2-Axis Turning Centers:
Without any doubt, the 2-axis lathe or turning center as they are known, are the most prevalent type of CNC lathes by far. They have a single turret, which can usually hold between 8 and 12 tools with 12 being most common and all axes i.e. turret, X, Z and sometimes C (spindle orientation) are CNC controlled lathes.
4-Axis Turning Centers:
Originally developed to reduce cycle times in high volume automotive production applications, the 4-axes turning centers have found their way into the small to medium job shops where reduction in cycle time and change over times are very important.
A 4-axis turning is basically a 2-axis turning center with an additional lower turret added carrying. This turret, carrying between 8 and 12 tools, is independently controlled by the CNC controller. This means we can now have 2 tools in the cut at the same time. This can reduce cycle time enormously but at the same time, can reduce change over time drastically as we now have double the amount of tools available in the machine. These extra tools are kept resident in the machine and are set up and ready to go for a multitude of turning applications.
Multi-Function Turning Centers:
This usually refers to either:
Ψ The addition of live tooling, sometimes referred to driven tools or M function tooling
Ψ The addition of a Sub-spindle or W function
Ψ The addition of a Y Axis which is usually mounted as a compound axis on top of the X axis
Ψ Or any combination of any or all of these functions.
The advantages of Multi-Function turning centers are that features such as cross-holes, tapped holes, slots and grooves can now be machined on components in one set up.
To do this type of feature, the M function is required. To do these features on both front and rear of a component, the M and W functions are required and to do these features that are offset from Zero, the Y function is required. These multi-function turning centers improve speed through the shop, reduce work in process, improve accuracy and at the same time, reduced overall costs.
Multi-function turning centers are available in either 2 or 4-axes versions.
CNC Lathes; Swiss Type:
Originally designed to make very small components and screws for the Swiss watch making industry (hence the name Swiss turning), this type of specialty lathe is now used throughout industry with a concentration in the electronics, electrical and medical industries.
Other than size, the concepts of Swiss turning do vary from standard lathes, particularly in the work holding area. Work pieces in standard lathes are either, held in a chuck (chucker), held between centers (using chuck and tailstock) or fed as bars through a hollow spindle (bar feeders) and cut off as needed. These are all well used processes but all have great limitations when small and long, thin intricate components need to be produced.
A Swiss type lathe, although having basically the same features as the standard lathes, will automatically feed a bar through the spindle as a controlled axis during the cut. This means the cut is always very close to the chuck/holding device so length is not a problem and accuracy, in general is improved because of lack of deflection of the workpiece.
When coupled with multiple tools (static and driven), sub-spindles, Y-axis and other features, the Swiss type machine will always be the machine of choice for high volume, high accuracy, high complexity, small part production.
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