In CNC turning, the part is mounted on a rotating chuck and material is removed using stationary cutting tools. This way parts with symmetry along their center axis can be manufactured. Turned parts are typically produced faster (and at a lower cost) than milled parts.
Typically, CNC turning systems (also known as lathes) are used to create parts with cylindrical profiles. Non-cylindrical parts can be manufactured using modern multi-axis CNC turning centers, which are also equipped with CNC milling tools. These systems combine the high productivity of CNC turning with the capabilities of CNC milling and can manufacture a very large range of geometries with (looser) rotational symmetry, such as camshafts and radial compressor impellers.
With CNC lathe machines, the material being worked is slowly sheared away. The result is a beautifully finished product or an intricate part. Because these machines are so versatile, they are used by many industries to include automotive, electronics, aerospace, firearm manufacturing, sporting, and much more.
A CNC lathe can be used to produce plane surfaces and screw threads or in the case of ornamental lathes, three-dimensional products that are quite complex. In any case, the workpiece is held firmly in place by one or two centers, with at minimum one being moved horizontally. However, the material can also be secured with clamps or collets.