If you’re in the market for lathe services, it’s more than likely you’ve heard the phrase “turning and boring” used interchangeably during your search for a manufacturer. Regardless of the terminology used, the goal remains the same: to remove large amounts of material efficiently, affordably, and precisely.
The term “turning” is often used in reference to the process of cutting into the external surface of the part. In contrast, “boring” uses a similar method but is applied to the internal surface of the workpiece. Together, turning and boring make up the overarching process of lathe manufacturing.
Traditional Versus Automated Lathes
Lathe manufacturing can be accomplished both manually and automatically via computer numerical control, better known in the industry as CNC. Both traditional and automated turning and boring can use a carbide cutting tool to remove material with meticulous precision.
As you can imagine, CNC machines have many advantages over manual lathes. Between exactitude, ease of reproduction, and continuous operation, there is no question that automated lathes have become the industry standard. However, while many manufacturers have CNC machines, many lack the ability to take on large diameter turning and boring.
Large Diameter Turning & Boring
As the name may imply, large diameter machines can shear off substantial amounts of material quickly and accurately from a large piece of aluminum, steel, cast iron, etc. Using advanced design and manufacturing software like Esprit, Solid Works, and Shoptech, projects can be completed with impeccable accuracy from concept to fulfillment.
In addition to large diameter capabilities, high-end manufacturers have multitasking machines that can not only take on multiple parts at a time, but can also turn and bore simultaneously.
Inlet Tool uses a state-of-the-art five axis multitasking machine with a large 47.24” turning diameter, 48” diameter four jaw chuck, 59.06” swing diameter by 48.40” turning length, Y axis travel 48.81”, H1 milling head with 225 degree rotation (B Axis), and a CAT50 Big Plus spindle.
What Can Be Made With A Lathe?
While the possibilities are nearly endless, common products that are manufactured using a metal lathe include:
- Automotive Parts
- Spare Parts
- OEM Parts
- Ball Joints
- Bar Material
- Flanges Flywheels
- Hydraulic Parts
- [Shift] Knobs
- Motorcycle Parts
- [Precision] Shafts
- Suspension Arms
- Threaded Parts
- [Lug] Nuts
- Valve Bodies
The Versatility of a Large Diameter Lathe Multitasking Tool
A lathe is an incredibly unique piece of equipment. The combination of the cutting tools used and the axis at which they’re being traversed allow for a wide array of products. This versatility not only serves to manufacture a diverse set of parts, but also can provide customers with cost-effective, efficient, high quality solutions.
Colloquial language can get confusing, as the multitasking machines may be referred to as a horizontal/vertical lathe, toolroom lathe, turn-mill, CNC milling machine, or the more recently dubbed “hybrid machine” (which generally refers to the combined power of a lathe’s chucks and spindles and the milling power of a machining center).
Lathe operations may include but are not limited to:
- Gear Cutting
- Key-Way Cutting
- Thread Cutting
Industries That Use Large Diameter CNC Lathes
Very few manufacturing industries could endure without the products that are turned and bored on a CNC lathe. High quality machined parts are used in small-to-large businesses, monster Fortune 500 companies, and even today’s trendier start-ups. With the multitasking power of the lathe, job shops can accommodate extremely complex projects with astonishing efficiency.
For instance, Inlet Tool has worked with industries including, but not limited to:
- Custom Hardware
- Liquid Control
- OEM Parts
Whether your job involves creating one part or you’re in need of thousands of pieces, Inlet Tool will match your individual needs and create a solution that’s tailored to you. In conjunction with our contract machining services, we also provide custom indexable cutting tools to fit nearly any application.
When it comes to large diameter turning, Inlet Tool can tackle the biggest of projects. As a premier manufacturer, we can accommodate up to 50” diameter parts on our OKUMA five axis mill-turn machines. From threading and fixturing to turning and boring, Inlet Tool is your go to for CNC lathe services.