CNC machining is a rapid manufacturing process that turns digital 3D designs into plastic or metal parts by selectively cutting away material. Many companies require CNC machining services to make parts, and many industries use versatile technology.
But CNC machining comes in various forms. Although all CNC machining technologies follow a similar workflow — software turns the digital design into machine instructions, which instruct the CNC machine to cut material — the hardware for cutting material can differ greatly between machines.
What is CNC Turning?
CNC turning is a form of CNC machining that machinists use to make rounded, cylindrical, and conical parts. Although it is less versatile than CNC milling, it is one of the most popular CNC machining services.
Machines that carry out CNC turning are called CNC lathes or CNC turning centers. They are different from CNC mills in that they rapidly rotate the workpiece in a chuck but do not rotate the cutting tool. The cutting tool, affixed to a turret, moves towards the spinning workpiece under computer instructions and removes material where necessary.
A CNC lathe can cut the outside of the workpiece or bore through the inside to create tubular CNC machined parts. The turret of the machine may have multiple cutting tools that can be individually engaged as required.
Advantages of CNC Turning
The biggest advantage of CNC turning is its ability to create round profiles. It is much more difficult to achieve perfect roundness using other CNC machining services like CNC milling or CNC routing. CNC turning is also highly accurate, which makes it a valuable technology for boring holes of precise dimensions with set tolerances.