ICOMold’s CNC lathe services
ICOMold offers customers a full range of CNC lathe services. Our lathe services utilize top-of-the-line, computer-controlled lathe machining for a wide variety of plastic and metal materials.
History of the Lathe
The lathe, or turning machine, is nearly as old as mankind. It has been used for thousands of years to make pottery, and shape wood, metal, or glass. A lathe is a turning machine. The material to be shaped is placed in the lathe and spun at a high rate of speed. Tools are applied to the spinning item to remove material and create the desired shape. The cut is made all the way around the piece as it spins in the lathe. Cutting to remove some material is called turning. Cutting tools can also be used to separate one item into two. Tools can be used to deform the piece with heat caused by friction. Patterns, known as knurling, can be applied with a lathe. A solid piece can be drilled or made hollow on a lathe as well.
Using an old-fashioned lathe took years of practice and the skill of an artisan. Creating pieces by hand was time-consuming and expensive. Recreating perfect replicas of the same piece was nearly impossible.
Computers helped bring the lathe into the 21st century. A Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) lathe can now make and recreate the same part over and over again with a high degree of accuracy. Parts can be made quickly, reducing lathe-machining time significantly when compared to making parts by hand.
The CNC lathe spins the blank, a block of metal or plastic, at a high rate of speed. The computer then uses a cutting tool to remove material from the spinning blank. CNC lathes are ideal for creating cylindrical pieces. The CNC lathe uses a two-axis system, only removing material from the X- and Y-axis. Cuts are made all the way around the part. Lathes are ideal for creating parts that need accurate symmetry.
Form, Fit, and Function
ICOMold’s CNC lathe service provides manufacturers the opportunity to test a part for form, fit, and function before committing to a final design and entering into mass production.
CNC lathe machining is a precise process and provides exact repeatability. The computer-controlled machine tools all move precisely on their axis to create complex, three-dimensional shapes. These qualities make CNC lathe machining an ideal manufacturing process for jobs that require a high level of precision or repetition.
CNC lathe services from ICOMold are ideal for manufacturers that require tight tolerances. Our CNC milling shops hold tolerances to within +/- 0.005 in. (0.1 mm) for plastic parts and +/- 0.002 in. (0.05 mm) for metal parts. Customers can also request tighter tolerances on critical areas of the part.
The material being used is just as important as the design. Custom CNC lathe services from ICOMold allow manufacturers to test prototype pieces as they would the final production parts. CNC machining can produce parts that are more robust compared to parts that are made with 3D printing. A variety of plastics and metals can be used with CNC lathe services. In most instances, the exact material can be machined to produce the required prototype. While 3D printing can produce the same part, the process requires the use of a very specific type of plastic and may be different from the production material. This type of plastic may not withstand the rigors of prototype testing. CNC parts can be made of the desired plastic or metal and can be subjected to the same conditions as the final part.
Plastic CNC Lathe Service
CNC lathe services from ICOMold are an excellent choice for manufacturers looking to make a part prototype and or in need of low-volume plastic parts. Our lathe machining shop can use CNC machines to create these custom parts in just a few days.
ICOMold’s custom CNC lathe services for plastic prototype parts ensure the product design is sound before committing to mass production. CNC machined prototypes will provide exactly what is needed for testing. Our CNC lathe service allows customers to test the form, fit, and function of injection-molded parts without the cost and time of producing injection mold tooling.
Our state-of-the-art lathe machines can produce highly complex CNC parts and CNC prototype parts quickly. CNC prototype parts can ship within just a couple of days. Parts made with custom CNC services can also be put through secondary process to add color, logos, or shielding.
A Partial List of Plastics:
- PC (Polycarbonate)
- POM (Delrin)
CNC Metal Lathe Services
ICOMold’s CNC lathe services for metal parts offer customers a precise and repeatable way to manufacturer prototype parts or small production runs. Before committing to CNC lathe services, there are several variables to consider. The hardness of metal will affect the length of time required to machine the part. Harder metals, like carbon steel, require a slower cutting speed. A slower cutting speed will take more time to remove material from the blank. The same part can be cut nearly four times as fast by using a softer metal like aluminum. The type of metal can also greatly affect the final cost. Be sure to consider the type of metal and its cost when doing preliminary price estimations.
ICOMold provides a low-cost option with a fast turnaround when it comes to custom CNC lathe services. Metal-machined parts are ideal for testing the form, fit and function of a prototype, or for a low-volume run of a finished part.
List of Metals
- A36 Steel Plate
- Alloy Steel 4140
- Aluminum 2024
- Aluminum 5052
- Aluminum 6061-T6
- Aluminum 6063
- Aluminum 7050
- Aluminum 7075 T6
- Bearing Bronze C932
- Easy Forming Brass 260
- Free Machining Brass C360
- Low Carbon Steel 1018
- Stainless Steel 17-4
- Stainless Steel 303
- Stainless Steel 304
- Stainless Steel 316/316L
- Titanium (Ti-6AI-4V)
Secondary CNC Lathe Services
ICOMold offers a wide range of secondary processes to ensure every customer receives the finished part to meet their needs. After CNC lathe services, the plastic or metal part can be prepared for post-machining processes.
The following is a list of the standard secondary processes available after CNC lathe services. ICOMold will be happy to discuss any custom process or secondary processes not listed below.
- Plastic or metal parts made with CNC lathe machining can be painted or powder coated to enhance appearance.
- Plastic parts may need non-plastic inserts.
- EMI Coating. This special coating provides EMI shielding, anti-static protection, and surface grounding to plastic or metal parts made in the ICOMold CNC lathe shop.
- Silk Screening. A woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil is used to transfer a desired image to the finished piece.
- Laser Etching. Heat from a laser beam causes the surface of the material to melt, leaving an indentation in the shape of the desired design.
- Pad Printing. This printing method uses a soft, ink-dipped pad to transfer a 2D image to a 3D object.
Custom Processes. ICOMold is happy to work with customers on post-molding or CNC lathe services. These processes may include packaging or assembly.