The technology has exponentially increased, become more and more advanced every decade, and today, lathes are used to create everything from artisan wooden bowls to large parts for heavy machinery.
Lathe: Lathes are machines that shape material by rotating a drive, which turns the piece being worked on against cutting tools that can be switched out to obtain the appropriate cut. Turning: Turning is the act of cutting a part on a lathe. Tool: The tooling is the cutting mechanism affixed to the machine to build parts. Turning Center: A turning center is a lathe with computer numerical control (CNC). Headstock: The headstock holds the workpiece, provides power to various parts of the machine, and rotates the spindle. Carriage: The carriage supports the cutting tool, guiding and feeding it against the workpiece.
Traditional lathes spin material, while a cutting tool gently takes material away to create something circular. There are many operations that can be performed on a lathe, but even more can be performed on a turning center.
Turning centers drill, bore, and ream with ease. These operations occur in the center of the piece’s axis as it spins. There are also live-tooling features that can perform these operations on pieces when they are stationary. The tools drill and finish holes wherever the specifications require them. This feature eliminates the need to perform extra steps at different stations.