How Do I Choose the Best Vertical CNC Lathe?

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  • Written By: Jean Marie Asta
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 01 June 2020
  • Copyright Protected:
    Conjecture Corporation
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A vertical computer numerical control (CNC) lathe is a complex lathe designed to cut an object using a variety of tools. It can cut an object made of wood, metal or plastic. Vertical CNC lathes come in many different varieties depending on their intended use. Choosing the best one is a matter of considering the tasks the user wishes to accomplish and the user's budget.

Although a vertical CNC lathe can come in a variety of sizes and speeds, these lathes are most commonly used for cutting large or oddly shaped objects. One consideration for potential buyers should be the size and density of the materials they wish to cut. The larger the material, the larger the machine should be. A more dense material demands the lathe turn at a higher speed.

The amount of material that a worker will cut should be considered as well. While the smaller models of the vertical CNC lathe are affordable for most people, lathes designed to cut large objects can be very expensive. Many machine shops specialize in taking smaller orders of custom cut pieces. This can be a more cost effective direction if a person only wants a few pieces.

Combination vertical CNC lathe/milling machine/drills are available from some manufacturers. These enable a worker to program a computer to perform the tasks of all three machines. They are best used in scenarios where extreme precision is required from the worker. A vertical CNC lathe/milling/drilling machine also can save physical space in the workplace as well as money if the three machines are needed and would otherwise be purchased and implemented separately.

If the volume of a factory is high enough, then space on the floor and overhead cost can also be reduced by using dual or multiple spindle vertical CNC lathes. These are similar to standard vertical CNC lathes except they feature two or more spindles so more than one work piece can be spun at a time. This can multiply a factory’s efficiency in a way that compensates for the increased price of the machines themselves.

Using a vertical CNC lathe is a much quicker and more precise method of turning a work piece than conventional vertical lathes. With proper programming, dozens or even hundreds of turned parts can be created quickly and efficiently. The technology that is used by CNC lathes is becoming more and more affordable as well. Free open source technology has brought down the price considerably, making these lathes an increasingly common feature in wood and metal shops.


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