Acutech logo

What is turning engineering?

Clients regularly ask us for an exact definition of what turning is – often, people have heard the term but don’t fully appreciate what it means. In this blog, we aim to give a clear, simple explanation.

What is CNC Turning?

Essentially, turning is a machining process in which a single point cutting tool moves along a toolpath as the workpiece turns. The process creates rotational parts by cutting away all the material which you don’t want. It’s also often a secondary process which adds or refines features on parts which were originally made using a different process. Plus, it’s ideal if you want to add precision features to a part whose basic shape has already been created.

How is CNC Turning done?

It’s possible to do this process manually, with a traditional lathe – thought of now to be an older type of machine, but this does require constant supervision. Today, the most commonly found type of turning machine is CNC, or computer numerical control. These are often used alongside other kinds of CNC machines to create the finish component.

A workpiece is commonly secured in a 3 or 4 jaw chuck on the lathe and then rotated at high speeds. The cutter is typically a single-point tool although multi-point ones are also sometimes used. The tool cuts away material as small chips until the desired shape has been created.

What are the advantages of this process?

With turning, you can achieve short lead times, making it ideal if deadlines are tight. You do need a highly skilled engineer to program and set the CNC machine in the first instance, but it can then be run by an operator. The level of tolerance – or permissible limits of variation can be large or small but both achievable. Equally, you can use a wide range of materials, including metals from cast iron to stainless steel, copper and aluminium, as well as ceramics and thermoplastics, among others.

And what are the applications?

This process is used to create machine and engine components, shafts and much more. It can also produce rotational, axisymmetric parts including grooves, holes, threads, tapers and complex contoured surfaces.

In terms of shapes, these can be thin-walled or solid cylindrical bar. The diameter of the component can range from small to large.

CNC turning from Acutech Precision Engineering

Here at Acutech, we have specialised in this area for two decades. Our CNC lathe with C-Axis and live driven tooling allows for cutting multi-sided polygons and drilling PCD holes, or even cross holes, in a single operation. We know this gives our customers more options and makes things more cost-effective.

In addition, our second CNC turning lathe allows for larger and smaller-volume production runs as well as one-off prototypes. We can also make components with a range of surface finishes.

Get in touch with us today to discuss what you need – we’ll be glad to chat to you about your CNC turning requirements.