As CNC machinists, we apply our skill, knowledge and experience to manufacture the best looking and most accurate parts that we can. We take a great deal of pride in the products that we produce, and we want others to see that pride in the finished product. But what do we do when we aren’t getting the results that we want? When dimensionally the parts meet blueprint specifications, but the surface finish and overall appearance is less than desirable? When this happens, we need to go back to the basics and ensure that we are using the best machining practices that we know to be correct.
Posts about Lathe Tooling:
In this article, I discuss the ins and outs of the two main bed designs for CNC lathe machines: the true slant bed and the flatbed “flying wedge” configurations.
When purchasing a CNC lathe, there are several questions to ask yourself before you begin the process. Some of these questions will be quite obvious: how much axis travel do I need? What size chuck should I look for? How many tool stations are on the turret? What is the spindle bore size? Etc.
However, there are other specifications that are just as important but not always so obvious: what is the maximum swing distance that my work will require? What is the maximum turning diameter necessary for my family of parts? What kind of spindle horsepower and torque will my type of work consume? The first set of questions above is relatively easy to answer, but the second group requires a better understanding of lathes in general.
Previously, I published a two-part series on the basics of mill-turn technology, where I cover topics such as: axis configurations, the orientation of live tooling holders, mill-turn terminology, instances when a Y-axis might be necessary, etc. In this article, I discuss the differences between the driven tool mounting configurations and offer my opinion on the benefits and challenges associated with each.
As machinists, we are all aware of the standard tools of our trade. However, there are other non-standard tools available that not everyone is aware of and could be very helpful in our day-to-day life in the job shop. Just like any other industry, if there is a time consuming and mundane procedure that must be completed, you can bet that somewhere there is someone who has already invented a tool or device that would make that task easier.
Here is a list of helpful products for machinists that addresses workholding, fixture building, part and tool setup, coolant nozzles and more:
On a regular basis I am asked to explain something pertaining to live-tool machining on a lathe, or "mill-turn," as it is commonly referred to in the industry. Even people with a CNC turning background are sometimes a little confused, especially in the areas of tooling and when the use of an additional Y-axis is necessary.
In this article, I will shine some light on the basics of live-tool machining and the application of the optional Y-axis.