CNC Turning Service

What Is CNC Turning and How Does It Work?

Computer numerical control (CNC) turning is a highly precise, completely automated subtractive machining process in which material is removed from metal, plastic, or wooden bars in order to create a specific shape. In most cases, this is accomplished using a computer-controlled CNC lathe, which works at a much faster rate than a CNC mill or 3D printer.  Using a single-point cutting tool, the material is rotated at varying speeds as the tool creates cylindrical cuts set to specific measurements. A CNC turning center that possesses both CNC milling and turning capabilities can stop the rotation to let other shapes be milled out. Depending on the project, there are several different types of CNC lathes that can be used to create parts:

  • Horizontal turning centers: An enclosed lathe that combines milling and drilling capabilities. It can also include coolant flooding, tooling axes, and in some cases, a conveyor belt.
  • Vertical turning centers: Combines the horizontal turning center with a CNC milling machine.
  • Horizontal CNC lathes: Most popular type. Very similar to conventional lathes, except for the fact that they are controlled via computer.
  • Vertical CNC lathes: Spins the workpiece and holds it from the bottom. Used in workshops with limited space and good for more cumbersome or wide workpieces.

When Should You Use CNC Turning?

CNC turning is a process that you should use when you have a part that has a diameter. If you decide to use secondary CNC turning, the finished part can have a number of different shapes or features depending on your preferences or needs. A few examples of parts that have diameters are shafts, bellows, knobs, and pulleys.

Is My Part a Good Fit for CNC Turning?

The amount of parts you need and the question of whether you are engaging in long-term or short-term manufacturing are the first two factors you need to consider. If you are creating a prototype of a part or only producing a limited amount of a certain part, then CNC turning is a good fit for your project. Your part may also be a good fit for CNC turning if you are planning on manufacturing it for a long-term project.  Another factor to take into consideration is exactly how many of these parts you are planning to make, regardless of whether you are making them for a short-term or a long-term project. If you are planning to create large quantities of a part for long-term production, then your part might be a good fit for CNC turning. If you’re looking for a company that is experienced with CNC turning, get in touch with us for a free quote. At Rapid Axis, we offer CNC machining services that are both affordable and highly efficient. If you need to alter some raw material into a certain shape with quick lead times, we’re here to help.