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Usually the term "turning" is reserved for the generation of external surfaces by this cutting action, whereas this same essential cutting action when applied to internal surfaces (that is, holes, of one kind or another) is called "boring". Thus the phrase "turning and boring" categorizes the larger family of (essentially similar) processes known as lathing. The cutting of faces on the workpiece (that is, surfaces perpendicular to its rotating axis), whether with a turning or boring tool, is called "facing", and may be lumped into either category as a subset.
Turning can be done manually, in a traditional form of lathe, which frequently requires continuous supervision by the operator, or by using an automated lathe which does not. Today the most common type of such automation is computer numerical control, better known as CNC. (CNC is also commonly used with many other types of machining besides turning.)
When turning, the workpiece (a piece of relatively rigid material such as wood, metal, plastic, or stone) is rotated and a cutting tool is traversed along 1, 2, or 3 axes of motion to produce precise diameters and depths. Turning can be either on the outside of the cylinder or on the inside (also known as boring) to produce tubular components to various geometries. Although now quite rare, early lathes could even be used to produce complex geometric figures, even the platonic solids; although since the advent of CNC it has become unusual to use non-computerized toolpath control for this purpose.
The turning processes are typically carried out on a lathe, considered to be the oldest machine tools, and can be of different types such as straight turning, taper turning, profiling or external grooving. Those types of turning processes can produce various shapes of materials such as straight, conical, curved, or grooved workpieces. In general, turning uses simple single-point cutting tools. Each group of workpiece materials has an optimum set of tools angles which have been developed through the years.
The bits of waste metal from turning operations are known as chips (North America), or swarf (Britain). In some areas they may be known as turnings.
The tool's axes of movement may be literally a straight line, or they may be along some set of curves or angles, but they are essentially linear (in the non mathematical sense).
A component that’s is subject to turning operations can be termed as a “Turned Part” or “Machined Component”. Turning operations are carried out on a lathe machine which can be manually or CNC operated.
Turning specific operations include:
The general process of turning involves rotating a part while a single-point cutting tool is moved parallel to the axis of rotation. Turning can be done on the external surface of the part as well as the internal surface (the process known as boring). The starting material is generally a workpiece generated by other processes such as casting, forging, extrusion, or drawing.
Facing in the context of turning work involves moving the cutting tool at right angles to the axis of rotation of the rotating workpiece. This can be performed by the operation of the cross-slide, if one is fitted, as distinct from the longitudinal feed (turning). It is frequently the first operation performed in the production of the workpiece, and often the last—hence the phrase "ending up".
This process, also called parting off or cutoff, is used to create deep grooves which will remove a completed or part-complete component from its parent stock.
Grooving is like parting, except that grooves are cut to a specific depth instead of severing a completed/part-complete component from the stock. Grooving can be performed on internal and external surfaces, as well as on the face of the part (face grooving or trepanning).
Non-specific operations include:
A lathe is a machine tool used principally for shaping pieces of metal, wood, or other materials by causing the workpiece to be held and rotated by the lathe while a tool bit is advanced into the work causing the cutting action. Lathes can be divided into three types for easy identification: engine lathe, turret lathe, and special purpose lathes. Some smaller ones are bench mounted and semi-portable. The larger lathes are floor mounted and may require special transportation if they must be moved. Field and maintenance shops generally use a lathe that can be adapted to many operations and that is not too large to be moved from one work site to another. The engine lathe is ideally suited for this purpose. A trained operator can accomplish more machining jobs with the engine lathe than with any other machine tool. Turret lathes and special purpose lathes are usually used in production or job shops for mass production or specialized parts, while basic engine lathes are usually used for any type of lathe work.
The various angles, shapes, and sizes of a single-point cutting tool have direct relation to the resulting surface of a workpiece in machining operations. Different types of angle such as rake angle, side rake angle, cutting-edge angle, relief angle, nose radius exist and may be different with respect to the workpiece. Also, there are many shapes of single-point cutting tools, such as V-shaped and Square. Usually, a special toolholder is used to hold the cutting tool firmly during operation.
The relative forces in a turning operation are important in the design of machine tools. The machine tool and its components must be able to withstand these forces without causing significant deflections, vibrations, or chatter during the operation. There are three principal forces during a turning process:
Speeds and feeds for turning are chosen based on cutter material, workpiece material, setup rigidity, machine tool rigidity and spindle power, coolant choice, and other factors.
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