CNC Lathe Machine Parts and Components

There are many components of a CNC lathe machine and they are important to the function of the process. Your machine will differ depending on what type of CNC lathe machine you have and what you are using it to do.

All CNC lathe machines have at least a headstock, carriage, bed and tailstock. Many have stable bearing surfaces that are broad and they work with excellent precision. When the machine is stable it can manufacture parts that meet the requirements for both repeatability and tolerance.

Here are the major parts of the CNC lathe and the function of each:

Headstock: There are many parts to the headstock and this is where many of the functional pieces of the machine reside. Here you will find the main spindle, the change gears and the speed change mechanism. Within the headstock you will have a strong design because it has to cut with a variety of force. If it were light it would create problems with vibration that would distort the finished piece and destroy its quality.

Bed — the bed is actually the base of the headstock and it allows connects to it. The bed helps set the carriage and the tailstock in perfect parallel alignment to the spindle axis. A part called a way holds the carriage and the tailstock onto the track. The carriage travels along the machine using a rack and pinion system. It also includes a leadscrew that keeps it on am accurate pitch or it has a feedscrew.

Feed or Leadscrew — both of these helps with the gears of the CNC lathe machine. The feedscrew is the drive shaft for the machine and works with the gears to drive the mechanism of the carriage. The feedscrew is also driven by either the quick change gearbox or the change gears. There are other gears that allow for the correct ratio so that the parts that are made are accurate. The feedscrew and leadscrew work together with the spindle to make the correct amount of screw threads on the work that you are doing.

Carriage — within the carriage is the tool bit that turns either in a perpendicular or longitudinal direction depending on how the operator controls it. The operator will set this on a CNC machine where it would use a handwheel on the older machines. The handwheels are there and can be used to manually move the carriage or to automate it. Also, the handwheels have calibrations on them for ease of use.

Cross slide — this is a small part that sits on top of the carriage. It has both a main spindle axis and a leadscrew. The leadscsrew actually moves along the main spindle axis in a perpendicular fashion so that it can perform facing operations; only one direction can be done at a time.
Depending on the CNC lathe you have, there will also be a computer component where you can program either the CAD or CAM program to do exactly what you want it to do. Although these machines seem complicated, they are not as difficult once you start to use it.

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