What is a Turning?(light metals Clyde)

  • Time:
  • Click:5
A turning is a machining operation that is performed on a lathe or turning center to create cylindrical parts. In turning, the workpiece rotates at high speeds while a cutting tool moves linearly relative to the axis of rotation to remove material from the outside diameter of the workpiece. This produces the cylindrical shape with precise dimensions and surface finish. Turning is an essential process in manufacturing and is one of the most common metal cutting operations along with milling, drilling, boring etc.
How Does Turning Work?
The turning operation is performed on a machine called a lathe. The basic components of a lathe are the headstock, tailstock, carriage, chuck, and tool post. The headstock contains the spindle, bearings, and drive system that spins the workpiece. The tailstock provides support on the other end of the workpiece and can hold centers, drills etc. The carriage houses the cross slide and compound rest which hold and position the cutting tool. The chuck is mounted on the spindle and grips the workpiece while its rotated. Finally, the tool post holds the cutting tool like a turning insert or tool bit which cuts the material.
The general turning procedure is as follows:
1. The workpiece material, usually a cylindrical bar, is loaded into the chuck or collet on the spindle.
2. The spindle rotates the workpiece at a defined cutting speed while the chuck holds it firmly in place.
3. The cutting tool is mounted on the tool post and positioned close to the rotating workpiece.
4. As the workpiece spins, the cutting tool feeds linearly into the work and engages the outer surface of the material.
5. The controlled movement of the tool against the workpiece paired with the rotation cuts away material and reduces the diameter to the desired dimension.
6. The tool follows the program path along the workpiece length to complete the turning operation resulting in a precisely machined part.
7. Common turned features include straight outside diameters, tapers, grooves, undercuts and profiles. The part is then removed from the chuck once complete.
What Are the Main Types of Turning?
There are several different types of turning operations:
- Outside Diameter (OD) Turning: The most common type that reduces the outer dimension of cylindrical parts. OD turning produces straight outside diameters and contoured profiles.
- Facing: Machining the flat end surface of the workpiece. This squares up the end and creates a uniform edge surface.
- Boring: Enlarging existing holes to achieve accurate internal dimensions and finish quality. Boring uses single point boring bars fed into a stationary workpiece.
- Parting/Cutoff: Separating a part from the bar stock by cutting through its diameter. Parting tools provide a thin kerf to slice through the material.
- Grooving/Undercutting: Machining internal or external grooves for specific design features like threads, splines and recesses. Form tools and inserts perform grooving operations.
- Taper Turning: Shaping conical or tapered contours by offsetting the tool position. Done by adjusting compound slide angle or tailstock set over.
- Threading: Single or multi-point tools that cut external screw threads for bolted connections. Threading requires gears to coordinate tool motion with spindle rotation.
What Are the Main Turning Tools?
The common types of tools used for turning include:
- Turning Inserts: Made of carbide, ceramic or CBN, these detachable cutting tips come in various styles for light and heavy turning. Popular options are 80° rhombic, 55° rectangle, and 35° diamond inserts.
- Tool Bits: High speed steel bits that are ground with angles to form the cutting edge. Single point tool bits allow changing the cutting geometry.
- Boring Bars: Rigid bars that hold removable boring heads to bore internal surfaces. Boring heads contain indexable inserts or CBN tips.
- Form Tools: Shaped tools Made to cut specific profile features. The contour of the form tool matches the required part feature.
- Threading Tools: Special 60° inserts and cutters for both external and internal thread cutting. Single or multi-start variations.
- Parting & Grooving Tools: Thin insert tools that slice or plunge into the workpiece to cut off parts or create grooves. Carbide inserts excel at parting and grooving.
- Drilling Tools: Twist drills, counterbores, and center drills to pre-drill starting holes and prepare workpieces for turning.
The variety of turning tooling allows handling different materials, machining requirements and complexity of part features. Proper tool selection optimizes the turning process.
What Are the Advantages of Turning?
Here are some of the main benefits and advantages of turning:
- High Production Rates: Turning is extremely fast and generates parts in seconds or minutes. Heavy roughing cuts quickly remove material.
- Precision: Modern CNC lathes hold extremely tight tolerances down to +/- 0.005" on dimensions, location and surface finish.
- Low Cost: Turning is an economical process due to fast cycle times, basic fixturing and inexpensive tooling. It results in very cost effective parts.
- Flexibility: Turning can produce a wide range of part sizes and geometric features. Quick change tooling further increases flexibility.
- Surface Finishes: Fine cutting tools, speeds and feeds allow turning to achieve surface finishes under 10 Ra microinches.
- Setup Ease: Workpieces chucked in CNC lathes require minimal setup relative to other processes like milling. Reduced setups increase productivity.
- Automation: Lathes have built-in automation with bar feeders to enable unmanned production. Robot tending is also possible for turning centers.
Turning is an essential machining process that will continue growing in application across manufacturing industries. With advancements in machine tools, cutting tools and automation, turning becomes faster, more precise and economical for large scale part production. Understanding the fundamentals of turning positions engineers and machinists to successfully apply turning operations. CNC Milling