CNC Lathe Tools: A Guide to Types and Selection

CNC lathes are becoming increasingly crucial in the manufacturing sector. To ensure the quality of turned workpieces, lathe tools must be adapted to meet the demands of high efficiency, high speed, and high automation.

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This article will provide an overview of CNC lathe tools by discussing the different types of tools and how to select the appropriate ones.

The widespread use of CNC lathes in production has made the formation of a quantitative production line and the development of CNC programming a crucial aspect of CNC processing.

During the NC programming process, it is necessary to choose tools and determine cutting parameters in real-time through human-computer interaction.

Therefore, programmers must be knowledgeable about the methods of selecting cutting tools and the principles of determining cutting parameters to ensure the quality and efficiency of the parts being processed. This, in turn, maximizes the benefits of using CNC lathes and enhances the economic efficiency and production level of the enterprise.

Types of NC lathe tools

CNC lathes are requiring increasingly stable, durable, and easily replaceable tools.

In recent years, the use of CNC machine clamp indexable tools has become widespread and they play a significant role in the machining process, making up a large portion of the tools used.

What are the Types of CNC Lathe Tools?

CNC Lathe tools can be divided into three categories based on their structure: integral type, inlay type, and special type.

Additionally, they can be classified into four groups based on the material used for manufacturing the tools: diamond tools, high-speed steel tools, cemented carbide tools, and tools made from other materials such as ceramics.

CNC Lathe tools can also be classified based on the number of blades they have. They are either single-blade tools or multi-blade tools. Single-blade tools have only one main cutting edge, while multi-blade tools have two or more main cutting edges.

Compared to conventional lathe tools, CNC tools have different requirements, characterized by:

  • High accuracy
  • Good interchangeability
  • Long lifespan
  • Good rigidity (especially for rough machining tools)
  • Convenient for rapid tool change
  • Stable cutting performance
  • Low vibration resistance and thermal deformation
  • Easy to adjust the tool size to reduce tool change time
  • Reliable chip or iron chip breaking capability

Serialization and standardization are also necessary for efficient chip removal and to facilitate programming and tool management.

Selection of CNC lathe tools

The selection of tools in the CNC machining process is performed through human-machine interaction.

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The programmer must make a proper selection of tools and tool holders for the CNC lathe, taking into account various factors such as processing capacity, processing procedures, workpiece material properties, cutting parameters, and more.

The general rule for tool selection is to prioritize tools that are rigid, durable, accurate, and easy to install and adjust.

While still meeting the processing requirements, it is recommended to choose tools with a shorter shank to enhance the rigidity during processing.

In the process of using an economical CNC lathe, grinding, measurement, and tool replacement are performed manually, resulting in a long auxiliary time. It’s crucial to arrange the tool sequence efficiently to minimize this auxiliary time.

The general principles to follow are:

  • Minimize the number of tools used
  • Complete all machining steps with a single tool once it is clamped
  • Use separate tools for rough and finish machining
  • When machining with similar tools, prioritize surface finish machining first
  • Choose a tool size that is compatible with the workpiece surface size
  • For free-form surface machining, ball head tools are often used for surface finishing
  • Flat head cutters are preferred for rough and finish machining of curved surfaces as long as no cutting is guaranteed

It’s important to note that the durability and accuracy of the tool are related to its cost. Although selecting a high-quality tool increases the cost of the tool, it reduces the overall processing cost by improving the quality and efficiency of processing.

Through this discussion of CNC lathe tools, we learn that the types of tools can be classified based on the tool structure, manufacturing materials, and number of cutting edges. The selection of tools takes place through human-machine interaction in the CNC machining process. As a crucial component in CNC lathe processing, the tool plays a significant role.

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