A Quick Guide To CNC Turning Centers


There is a vivid and wide difference between lathes and CNC Turning Centers. While you are moving into the manufacturing industry or want to get into the printing of prototypes, you must have quick CNC Turning Centers knowledge.

So, refer to this quick guide below for the enhanced knowledge on CNC Turning Centers and different machines.

What is the meaning of CNC Turning?

This is a subtractive manufacturing process. When you learn about CNC Turning, know that the machine rotates the material pieces. They are constantly put into the machine until a part completes its formation after multiple turning or rotations.

This subtractive manufacturing process is primarily for the manufacturing of multiple cylindrical parts.

A brief note on the CNC Turning process:

A CNC machine will have a spindle used to cut down the material linearly. Its usage process is called the CNC Turning process. In this process, undesired material is let go of. Later, the focus is put on the key piece of the entire material.

What is a CNC Turning Center?

As per the quick CNC Turning Centers’ guide, this is an advanced machine, numerically controlled through computers. These machines can possess 3 to 5 axes generally. Along with that, they have multiple developed cutting capabilities.

These cutting steps include:

  • milling
  • drilling
  • tapping
  • turning
  • threading
  • reaming
  • knurling
  • taper turning

These machines often can be added to an enclosed set-up, used to store the remaining part of the coolant, material, or component.

The significant difference between CNC Turning Centers and CNC Lathes:

CNC Turning Centers, in comparison to CNC Lathes, are more advanced in cutting the material linearly. Both of these machines cut the material to the bare minimum piece—the desired one.

However, in CNC Lathe, you find only 2 axes and 1 spindle. In contrast, CNC Turning Centers are versatile in cutting techniques. These machines possess up to 5 axes also at a time. Besides that, Lathe machines won’t have the provision of adding enclosed set-ups for collecting the remaining parts of the material.

All in all, CNC Turning Centers are more functional, useful, and faster in subtracting unused or unwanted pieces from one material.

Types of CNC Turning Centers:

There are two most common types known to the manufacturing industry concerning the CNC Turning Centers.

These are:

  • Horizontal Turning Centers
  • Vertical Turning Centers

Manufacturers use Horizontal Turning Centers (HTC) more in comparison to Vertical Turning Centers (VTC). That is in general terms as the former one is easier to use even if both the machines are similar.

The Vertical Turning Centers are better suitable for cutting parts that heavy but small. These machines are more specific for the tailormade purpose of cutting a different type of material.

Whereas, Horizontal Turning Centers are more common and used widely as the CNC Turning Centers.

Quick CNC Turning Center Operator Details:

  • Cuts around the corner effortlessly. 

The multi-axis in the CNC Turning Centers is leveraging enough to cut material at corners effectively. This would not be easy with lathes having only 2 axes.

  • Live-tooling features possible.

Features like drilling, boring, and reaming are possible one after another using the CNC Turning Centers. It’s possible to even for the most stationery materials. This process makes the entire cutting and fixing job easier in just a few steps.

  • Knurling for a better grip.

The CNC Turning Centers are beneficial for the manufacturers when they need their parts to have an excellent grip. With the help of knurling, the desired materials can have a surface that is not slippery. Through knurling, a pattern presses basically on the handles or the surface of the material. It makes it sturdier and more robust.

  • Time saved with threading along the way.

The modern CNC Turning Centers allow for the cut piece to be threaded inside the machine. There is no need for the manufacturer to remove the carved-out material piece and thread it separately—on another assembly line. Thus, a lot of time is optimized for the betterment of the manufacturing and production process.

Is there any difference between a CNC Turning Center and a Machining Center?

A Machining Center would operate a rotating spindle task. Whereas, a CNC Turning Center performs modern and complex cutting and turning operations with perfection.

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