What is CNC Lathe & Types of CNC Lathe Machines – How Does CNC Turning Lathe Work | CNCLATHING


CNC lathes are transformed and evolved from the conventional lathes with the Computer Numerical Control technology, and derived a variety of types. As a custom CNC turning manufacturer, CNClathing.com will introduce how does CNC turning lathe work and what types of CNC lathe machines are used.


What is CNC Lathe or CNC Turning Machine?

A CNC lathe is a computer controlled machinery mainly for CNC turning services and process, including tapered turning, hard turning, spherical generation, facing, parting, knurling, drilling, grooving, etc. These operations can be carried out like conventional lathe machine, while CNC turning lathe is designed to utilize modern technology and tooling to improve the productivity and quality of CNC turning parts.

Benefits of CNC lathes:

– Stronger capacity

– Higher precision

– Improved efficiency

– Shorter turnaround time


Components of CNC Lathes

Different types of CNC lathes will different configuration, but a CNC turning lathe are basically composed of several of the following parts: machine bed, main spindle, sub-spindle, chuck, guide way, headstock, tailstock, tool turret, monitor, carriage, CNC control panel and drive motor.


Modern CNC lathe machines often mounted with live tools that can work in multiple axis, like both X and Y-axis, a second turret with different tools, and more.


How Does CNC Turning Lathe Work?

CNC turning lathe are used to produce precise turned parts with round or cylinder shapes, the finished product is complete, and does not need second operation on other CNC machining equipment. The CNC controller works with drive motor and make multiple components work together and move the shaft to complete designed motion according to the CNC programming.
1)Check out whether there is any faults and abnormal situations, make troubleshooting.

2) Upload the G-Code computer file to the CNC lathe.

3)Install a cylindrical material block and secured in the chuck.
4)Set the spindle at required speed, then to rotate the chuck and workpiece.
5)Check the rotating workpiece and spindle speed, ensure there is no discrepancy.
6)Move the tool turret and carriage to locate the cutting tool as specific feed
7)Move the carriage to perform the cutting operation, remove all excess materials to get final CNC lathe part.


Types of CNC Lathe Machines

As the typical CNC turning machine, lathes can be classified as different standards.
– Based on the number of axes:
1)2-axis CNC Lathe: can perform outer/inner diameter machining, facing, drilling and tapping.
2)3-axis CNC Lathe: X and Z axis, C axis and live tool system, allowed to perform milling, boring, etc.
3)4-axis CNC Lathe: add Y-axis based on 3-axis machine, for off-center machining operation and complex part
4)5-axis CNC Lathe: add a second turret, allows two tools work at the same time


– Based on the work requirements:
1)Speed Lathes: simple design, composed of headstock, tailstock and tool post, can operate in three and four speeds.
2)Engine Lathes: most common lathe machine, can operate with diverse metals at a wide range of speeds, length up to 60 feet.
3)Turret Lathes: many different types of tool holders can be mounted on it
4)Tool Room Lathes: produce parts with good accuracy and finish


– Based on the position of lathe spindle
1)Vertical CNC lathe: the lathe spindle is perpendicular to the horizontal, with a large diameter circular table used to clamp workpiece
2)Horizontal CNC lathe: can be divided into flat guide rail CNC lathe and slant guide way CNC lathe, the slant guide way structure can make lathe more rigid and easy to discharge chips