When it comes to making small, intricate parts in medium volumes and high precision, it’s hard to overlook the power of a CNC turning machine. For CNC turned parts, it’s possible to get the best possible results at the fastest speeds.
In this guide, our experts will discuss 6 major benefits of CNC turned parts as compared to other manufacturing styles. Take a look.
What Is CNC Turning?
CNC turning is a type of machine used in manufacturing. It fabricates parts by pushing a tool against a spinning piece of material. A common example of this is using a CNC lathe to cut a part. The outside diameter can be shaved away to create a very specific dimension (typically so the part can assemble with other parts).
For a more in-depth answer about CNC turning, view our full guide here.
6 Benefits of CNC Turned Parts
If you wonder why people choose to use CNC turning for their production parts, take a look at this section. We’ll talk through six of the major benefits when it comes to CNC turning. More specifically, we’ll look at why a shop might prefer CNC turning parts for a customer.
Compared to other manufacturing options, CNC turning is very safe. Of course, any kind of rotating machinery can be dangerous. The difference with CNC turning machines is that they can be very hands-off. Short of loading material and installing the cutting tools, the machinist has very little interaction with the part.
The further you are from the tool, the better. Making CNC turned parts allows the operator to rely on automation through the CNC. In some cases, it’s as easy as setting up a program, hitting “run”, and walking away from the machine.
Efficiency Is Improved
With any CNC machine, efficiency is improved by a lot. When you need to manually measure, move, adjust, and run machines, there’s a lot of room for error. It’s a simple fact that computers can help us be more efficient than ever.
This means saving time, getting better results, and getting more done each day. These points will come up in later sections.
Higher Precision Is Unlocked
A machine’s precision refers to how well it can hit a given number. If you want to create a part that’s 1-inch wide, long, and tall, the machine’s precision determines how close it can get to 1.000 inches.
If you use a tape measure and handsaw to cut a beam of wood, the precision will be very poor. With CNC turning, the precision is much higher than other options. On a typical CNC machine, it’s not rare to achieve precisions with tolerances as low as 0.0002 inches. The thickness of one strand of human hair is about 0.002 inches for reference.
With higher precision, shops can create more intricate parts and generate more impressive assemblies. When we use our CNC turning machine, we create high-precision parts that would be otherwise impossible to make.
Improved Repeatability and Accuracy
What happens if a machine shop gets an order to fabricate 100 identical units? 3D printing would be too slow, injection molding would be too expensive, and manual machining would be the worst of both worlds. This is where CNC turning really comes in handy.
With large orders, accuracy and repeatability are among the biggest concerns. If a machine can create a lot of nearly identical parts very quickly and hit small tolerances, then the customer will get the best results. CNC turned parts are some of the most accurate and repeatable when it comes to manufacturing.
As we mentioned earlier, there’s an ability to set up a program, and then let the machine do all the work. When it comes to making medium-scale production runs, the same program can be repeated 100 times to make 100 parts.
With the right setup and material choices, each of the parts will be within the customer’s specifications, given the allowable tolerances.
It’s a Versatile Method
When a unit needs to be made from a cylindrical piece of stock material, there are few better operations than CNC turning. It can create something as small and intricate as the hands of a pocket watch, or it can craft massive wind turbine shafts.
It all depends on how large the turning machine is, and how the shop is equipped. At its core, the principles behind CNC turning are very simple and apply to countless different applications.
Throughput Is Increased
Another big benefit of CNC turned parts is that they can be fabricated much quicker than if you used other methods. If you wanted to make a dozen sleeves that had a certain ID, OD, and length, it could realistically be done with a single piece of material and three cutting operations.
All-in-all, CNC turning machines allow operators to make parts very quickly. The added precision and accuracy mean that inspection goes quicker, and rejection happens less often. As a result, the shop has a higher throughput of whatever parts they CNC turn.
We just covered 6 of the biggest reasons why CNC turned parts are so great. They allow you to get more parts faster and at a lower price while upholding tight tolerances. If you want to learn more about CNC machining, reach out to our experts at Rapid Axis. We are a fully-equipped machine shop that can handle CNC turning and countless other operations. We would be honored to handle your project and deliver exceptional results.