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Overview: What is CNC Turning?

The Basics Of CNC Lathes

CNC turning machines are able to provide low cost parts for simple cylindrical geometries. Live tooling is available for more complex geometries and is assessed on a case by case basis.

How CNC Turning Works

Use a single-point cutting tools to remove material from the rotating workpiece. In CNC turning, the CNC machine, typically a lathe or turning machine, feeds the cutting tool in a linear motion along the surface of the rotating workpiece, removing material around the circumference until the desired diameter is achieved. Most CNC lathes consist of two axis, X and Z.

CNC turning
Common Applications
  • functional prototypes and end-use parts
  • parts with cylindrical features
  • parts with axial and radial holes, flats, grooves, and slots
Types Of CNC Turning

There are many types of CNC turning operations for CNC lathe services can be performed on a live tooling lathe in CNC turning factory, including Hard turning, Parting, Facing, Boring, Reaming, Taper turning, Drilling, Knurling, Threading, Grooving, etc., comes in varying tools, cost and set-up time.

  • 1.Tapered turning: produce a cylindrical part of which diameter decrease from one end to another.
  • 2.Hard turning: suited for materials with a Rockwell C hardness greater than 45, typically performed after heat treated.
  • 3.Spherical generation: create a spherical finished surface, turning around fixed rotary axis.
  • 4.Facing: a turning operation in which the workpiece is machined to its center.
  • 5.Parting: create deep grooves that remove a completed or part-complete component from its parent stock.
  • 6.Grooving: similar to parting, but only cut to a specific depth from outside or inside of workpiece.
  • 7.Drilling: remove materials to drill holes from the inside of a workpiece with drill bits held stationary in the tail stock or tool turret of the lathe. Boring: enlarge or smooth an existing hole.
  • 8.Knurling: cut serrated pattern onto the surface of workpiece with knurling tool, to change or enhance visual effect or hand grip.
  • 9.Reaming: remove a small volume of materials from a drilled hole, for highly accurate diameters.
  • 10.Threading: turn standard and non-standard screw threads, generally means single-point threading.
  • 11.Polygonal turning: non-circular forms machining operation without interrupting the rotation of the raw material.

Features of CNC Machining

Advantages
Rapid Turnaround
Using the latest CNC machines, PCBWay produces highly accurate, quick turn parts in as fast as 2 day. We also instantly quote CNC machined parts, cutting days off of your RFQ process.
High Precision Tolerances
Offers high-precision tolerances ranging from +/-0.001″ – 0.005″, depending on customer specs. We are the experts in making parts that are truly custom and ready to use.
Scalability
CNC Machining is perfect for prototyping and production production parts. PCBWay's massive scale can help you scale up from testing phase to production runs of 100,000 parts of more.
Custom Surface Finishes
Suitable for many different kinds of substrates, make your parts just the same as real products.
Material Selection
Choose from over 50 metal and plastic materials. CNC Machining offers a wide variety of certified materials.
Cost Saving
Low investment in tooling and preparation costs, economical for parts with simple structure.
Drawbacks
Structure Limits
Interlocking and hollowed structure is difficult to be machined with CNC.
Scale Effect
The unit cost and lead time will not be reduced as much as injection molded parts.

Maximum capabilities for CNC turning

Part size limitations Metric units Imperial units
Maximum part diameter 431 mm 17 in
Maximum part length 990 mm 39 in
Maximum swing over the carriage 350 mm 13.7 in

CNC Machining Materials

Aluminum Steel Copper / Brass / Titanium / Zinc
2A12 201 Copper
5052 303 Brass
7075 304 Titanium(Ti)
6061 316 Zinc(Zn)
others 430 Mild steel(Low Carbon Steel)
- others Alloy steel
- - Tool steel
Plastics Others
ABS Bakelite
Transparent ABS Rubber
Polycarbonate (PC) FR4
Acrylic (PMMA) Others
Delrin/Acetal (POM) -
Polyethylene (PE) -
PTFE (Teflon) -
PEEK -

Custom Sourced Materials

A variety of CNC machined metal and plastic part options are available for an instant online quote. If you do not see the material stock you are looking for, please choose "Custom" under the material drop-down on your quote page and submit for an expert engineering review once you have specified features, tolerances, inspection needs, and quantities required.

Our standard surface finishes

Here is a list of standard surface finishes. For custom surface finishes such as electroplating or polishing, please contact sales@pcbway.com.
As-Milled
The finish option with the quickest turnaround. Parts are left with visible tool marks and potentially sharp edges and burrs, which can be removed upon request. Surface finish is comparable to 125 uin Ra finish.
As-Milled
Bead Blast
Abrasive blasting, more commonly known as sandblasting, is the operation of forcibly propelling a stream of abrasive material against a surface under high pressure to smooth a rough surface, roughen a smooth surface, shape a surface or remove surface contaminants.
Requirement Specification
Grit #120
Color Uniform matte of raw material color
Part masking Indicate masking requirements in technical drawing
Bead Blast
Anodized (Type II Or Type III)
Type II creates a corrosion-resistant finish. Parts can be anodized in different colors—clear, black, red, and gold are most common—and is usually associated with aluminum. Type III is thicker and creates a wear-resistant layer in addition to the corrosion resistance seen with Type II.
Requirement Specification
Grit #120
Color Uniform matte of raw material color
Part masking Indicate masking requirements in technical drawing
Anodized (Type II Or Type III)
Bead Blasting + Anodizing color or clear (type II)
Type II anodizing is mainly used to produce parts with a uniform, aesthetically pleasing surface and provides good corrosion and limited wear resistance. Parts are bead blasted to #120 grit prior to anodizing.
Requirement Specification
Thickness 8 - 12 μm (clear), 4 - 8 μm (color)
Color Black, clear or any RAL code or Pantone number
Part masking Indicate masking requirements in technical drawing
Bead Blasting + Anodizing color or clear (type II)
Powder Coat
This is a process where powdered paint is sprayed onto a part which is then baked in an oven. This creates a strong, wear- and corrosion-resistant layer that is more durable than standard painting methods. A wide variety of colors are available to create the desired aesthetic.
Requirement Specification
Thickness 18 - 72μm
Color Black or any RAL code or Pantone number.
Part masking Indicate masking requirements in technical drawing.
Powder Coat
Electropolished
Electropolishing is an electrochemical process used to polish, passivate and deburr metal parts. It is useful to reduce surface roughness.
Requirement Specification
Color Natural metal color.
Part masking Indicate masking requirements in technical drawing.
Electropolished
Brushed
Brushed or dull polished metal is metal with a unidirectional satin finish. It is produced by polishing the metal with a 120–180 grit belt or wheel then softening with an 80–120 grit greaseless compound or a medium non-woven abrasive belt or pad. Commonly brushed metals include stainless steel, aluminium and nickel.
Requirement Specification
Surface roughness 0.8 - 1.5 μm
Grit #80-120
Part masking Indicate masking requirements in technical drawing.
Brushed
Custom
Don’t see the finish you need? Submit an RFQ and we’ll look into a finishing process for you.

CNC General Tolerances

Unless we have agreed to other tolerances in your Quote, we will work to achieve and hold the tolerances noted below, which will vary per the primary manufacturing method you select.(eg.:Round hole 10mm, tolerance +0.01—0.03mm)

Part size / Dimension Tolerance Angularity
< 12’’ (300 mm) ± .005’’ (0.125 mm) ± 0.5°
< 24’’ (600 mm) ± .010’’ (0.250 mm) ± 1.0°
< 36’’ (900 mm) ± 1/64’’ (0.400 mm) ± 1.0°