Zone: Turning Machines

OVERVIEW: “Turning” defines the work that is traditionally done on a lathe. In basic turning, unlike in milling or drilling, the workpiece spins while the cutting tool does not. The cutting tool feeds along the length or diameter of the rotating part. A “turning center” may also include spindles for the cutting tools to accomplish non-turning operations such as milling and drilling. Another term, “turn/mill machines,” describes machines that can be thought of as being just as capable at milling and drilling parts as they are at turning. If this is the case, the machine stops the workpiece from spinning in order to perform these operations within the same machining cycle as the turning work. Lathes, turning centers and turn-mill machines can have horizontal or vertical spindles. Horizontal spindles are more common. If the machine has a vertical spindle, then the spindle may locate below or above the machine. If the workpiece rests on a table driven by the spindle, then this machine is generally called a vertical turret lathe, or VTL. If the workpiece is held from above by the vertical spindle, then this type of turning machine is generally called an inverted vertical lathe.

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