Woodturning is the craft of using the wood lathe with hand-held tools to cut a shape that is symmetrical around the axis of rotation. The wood lathe is a simple mechanism which can generate a variety of forms. The operator is known as a turner, and the skills needed to use the tools were traditionally known as turnery.
In pre-industrial England, these skills were sufficiently difficult to be known as ‘the misterie’ of the turners guild. The skills to use the tools by hand, without a fixed point of contact with the wood, distinguish woodturning and the wood lathe from the machinist’s lathe, or metal-working lathe.
Items made on the lathe include tool handles, candlesticks, egg cups, knobs, lamps, rolling pins, cylindrical boxes, Christmas ornaments, bodkins, knitting needles, needle cases, thimbles, pens, chessmen, spinning tops; legs, spindles and pegs for furniture; balusters and newel posts for architecture; baseball bats, hollow forms such as woodwind musical instruments, urns, sculptures; bowls, platters, and chair seats.
Industrial production has replaced many of these products from the traditional turning shop. However, the wood lathe is still used for decentralized production of limited or custom turnings. A skilled turner can produce a wide variety of objects with five or six simple tools. The tools can be reshaped easily for the task at hand. In many parts of the world, the lathe has been a portable tool that goes to the source of the wood, or adapts to temporary workspaces.
21st-century turners restore furniture, continue folk-art traditions, produce custom architectural work, and create fine craft for galleries. Woodturning appeals to people who like to work with their hands, find pleasure in problem-solving, or enjoy the tactile and visual qualities of wood.
CNC Turning is a manufacturing process in which bars of material are held in a chuck and rotated while a tool is fed to the piece to remove material to create the desired shape. A turret (shown center), with tooling attached, is programmed to move to the bar of raw material and remove material to create the programmed result. This is also called “subtraction machining” since it involves material removal. If the center has both tuning and milling capabilities, such as the one above, the rotation can be stopped to allow for milling out of other shapes.
What is a CNC lathe machine used for?
With CNC lathe machines, the material being worked is slowly sheared away. The result is a beautifully finished product or intricate part. Because these machines are so versatile, they are used by many industries to include automotive, electronics, aerospace, firearm manufacturing, sporting, and much more.
A CNC lathe can be used to produce plane surfaces and screw threads or in the case of ornamental lathes, three-dimensional products that are quite complex. In any case, the work piece is held firmly in place by one or two centers, with at minimum one being moved horizontally. However, material can also be secured with clamps or collets.
Some prime examples of finished items as a result of using CNC lathe machines include:
- Baseball Bats
- Cue sticks
- Dining Room Table and Chair Legs
- Gun Barrels
- Musical Instruments
Cnc Turning Lathe Samples:
What is CNC turning process?
- The starting material, though usual round, can be other shapes such as squares or hexagons.
- Depending on the bar feeder, the bar length can vary. This affects how much handling is required for volume jobs.
- CNC lathes or turning centers have tooling mounted on a turret which is computer-controlled. The more tools that that the turret can hold, the more options are available for complexities on the part.
- CNC’s with “live” tooling options, can stop the bar rotation and add additional features such as drilled holes, slots and milled surfaces.
- Some CNC turning centers have one spindle, allowing work to be done all from one side, while other turning centers, such as the one shown above, have two spindles, a main and sub-spindle. A part can be partially machined on the main spindle, moved to the sub-spindle and have additional work done to the other side this configuration.
- There are many different kinds of CNC turning centers with various types of tooling options, spindle options, outer diameter limitations as well as power and speed capabilities that affect the types of parts that can be economically made on it.
Safety when operating cnc turning lathe:
When woodturning, it is important to wear certain personal protective equipment (PPE). When working with spinning objects, loose clothing should not be worn; all jewelry should be removed, and long hair should be tied back. Since loose rags may also transfer color to the piece, paper towels should be used to avoid snags and accidents. Wood shavings generated during turning will need to be periodically removed.
Cnc Turning Lathe Techniques:
Complex forms made on a wood lathe develop from surprisingly few types of cuts: parting, planing, bead, cove, and hollowing. Parting separates the wood from the holding device, or establishes depth cuts. Planing is done with a tool in which the bevel below the cutting edge supports wood fibers, just as in a typical wood planer. Beads are a convex shape relative to the cylinder, and coves are a concave shape. Hollowing techniques are a combination of drilling and scooping out materials. The woodturner is at liberty to choose from a variety of tools for all of these techniques, and the quality of the cuts improves with practice wielding the tool selected. Turners rely upon three points of contact making any type of cut: the tool presses down on the tool rest, and against the woodturner’s body before contacting the surface of the wood, most often with a bevel edge riding the surface of the wood. The objective is to position the tool correctly so that the wood comes around to the cutting edge, generating a thin shaving without chipping or tearing out sections of the wood. Woodturners prefer to use very clean cuts to minimize the time spent with abrasives. When it is necessary to sand the piece, they do so on the lathe, using abrasives held by hand, in an inertial sander which revolves with the wood’s own rotation, or with power tools—drills or right-angle drills. The lathe also becomes a useful holding device for carving, burning, texturing, coloring, and finishing the form.