CNC Turning

CNC Turning

Turning is a subtractive machining process that uses a cutting tool to remove material for creating cylindrical parts. The tool itself moves along the axis of the machined part while the part is rotating, creating a helical toolpath.

The term turning refers to producing parts by cutting operations on the external surface. The opposite of turning is boring, whereby lathe machines are used for creating hollow parts, for example.

The lathe machine is historically one of the earliest of its kind for producing parts in a semi-automated fashion. Today, most companies provide CNC turning services. This means that the process is largely automated from start to finish.

CNC refers to computer numerical control, meaning that computerised systems take control of the machinery. The input is digital code. This controls all the tool movements and speed for spinning as well as other supporting actions like the use of coolant.

CNC Turning Process

What does the turning process actually comprise of? While the cutting itself is pretty straightforward, we are going to look at the whole sequence here which actually starts from creating a CAD file.

The steps of the process are:

  • Creating a digital representation of the part in CAD
  • Creating the machining code from the CAD files
  • CNC lathe setup
  • Manufacturing of the turned parts