CNC turning is a machining process that creates exact parts with cylindrical shapes, like shafts and sleeves.
A pre-programmed computer program controlling the cutting tool enables high accuracy levels, making CNC turning capable of everything from simple to intricate parts. Another advantage is that this technology is compatible with almost any material – including a wide range of polymers and metals.
How CNC turning works
Turning is a subtractive manufacturing process also known as lathing. Like milling, turning machines also operate with a geometrically determined cutting edge. Instead of the tool, the workpiece is moving in a rotary way. Additionally, the cutting tool can move horizontally.
Three of the most commonly used turning operations are step turning, facing, and threading.
CNC turning use cases
Turning is particularly beneficial if the shape of the part is centrally symmetric (i.e., resulting in conical end parts). Turning has high accuracy and surface finish standards, resulting in high repeatability and comparably short lead times.
CNC turning by the numbers
Max Build Size: 400 x 1000 mm (standard size)
Minimum Wall Thickness: 0.2 mm (depending on material and geometry)
Dimensional Accuracy: ISO 286 Tolerance grade 7 (0.015 mm for a 6mm diameter)
Lead Times: Starting at 14 days
Key feature: Diverse range of materials
CNC turning materials are suited for a wide range of use cases. The materials, including metals and polymers, offer different properties, such as strength, durability, heat resistance, and electrical conductivity, which can be tailored to specific applications and requirements.
Using a wide range of materials means you can choose the most cost-effective option for your projects.
Source industrial-grade CNC turning parts
MakerVerse gives you the flexibility to source parts however you need. Get instant quotes and quickly order parts with on-demand manufacturing. Our team of experts will work with you for large or complex orders to develop, align, and supervise a manufacturing quality plan from start to finish.
This electrochemical process increases the thickness and toughness of the natural oxide layer on the surface of metal parts. Anodizing provides a protective, corrosion-resistant, and decorative finish.
Also known as blackening, this process creates a black oxide coating on the surface of metal parts. Black oxidizing provides a durable and corrosion-resistant finish.
A heat treatment process that improves the strength and durability of metal parts by heating them to a specific temperature and then rapidly cooling them. Hardening increases the parts' wear resistance and fatigue strength, making them more durable.
Additional color is applied to the printed part, often by a professional spray painting system. The part is properly prepared through accurate cleaning and a clearcoat to get the desired output.
Abrasive sand is applied to the component under high pressure. This provides functional benefits (achieving a certain surface roughness) and optical advantages (polishing the surface).
The metal part is heated to a specific temperature and then slowly cooled to achieve the desired level of hardness and toughness. Tempering improves the strength and toughness of the metal parts, making them more resistant to impact and wear.
Popular CNC turning materials
The MakerVerse platform offers 100+ different materials for your CNC machining projects. Here are some of the most popular metals and polymers.
A good balance of strength, hardness, and dynamic properties values characterizes aluminum and its related alloys. It's a lightweight, malleable metal that is easy to machine and has good corrosion resistance.
Aluminum is commonly used in the aerospace, automotive, and electronics industries for parts such as housings, brackets, and heat sinks.
Brass is a corrosion-resistant alloy made from copper and zinc. The main benefits are that its easily machinable and has good thermal and electrical conductivity.
Brass is often used for decorative applications and in plumbing, hardware, and electrical components.
PA (Polyamide), also known as nylon, is a strong, lightweight polymer. It offers good wear resistance and low friction.
This polymer is often used for gears, bearings, and structural components in various industries, from automotive to consumer goods.
PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene), also known as Teflon, is a highly heat-resistant and low-friction polymer. This material also offers excellent chemical resistance.
PTFE is commonly used in applications that require non-stick properties, such as bearings, seals, and electrical components.
POM (Polyoxymethylene), also known as Acetal, is a strong and stiff polymer. It offers good dimensional stability combined with low friction.
Various industries often use POM for gears, bearings, and electrical components.
Steel is characterized by high yield strength and strong corrosion resistance. It's a multi-purpose metal offering both good weldability and machinability.
Steel is widely used for everything from vales to fittings to medical instruments. Many industries, from aerospace to food processing, use stainless steel.
Superalloys are high-performance alloys offering excellent heat resistance, strength, and corrosion resistance.
Superalloys are commonly used in the aerospace and energy industries for heavy-duty parts such as turbine blades, exhaust systems, and heat exchangers.
Titanium is used extensively due to its high strength and low weight ratio. It also offers high corrosion and oxidation resistance.
Due to titanium's biocompatibility, it is used for medical and dental applications. Its high strength and comparatively low weight make it appealing for high-performance parts like gearboxes and connecting rods in racing cars and bionic brackets in the aviation industry.
Tooling steel is characterized by a high tensile strength and a high toughness. It can be used in higher temperatures since its mechanical properties remain stable at high temperatures. Heat treatment can further optimize mechanical properties.
This metal is often used for tooling inserts for injection molding, extrusion tool inserts, or for functional prototypes. Furthermore, this tooling steel can be used for tooling and fixtures.
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Resources: CNC machining
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