Turning Part 1

Turning Part 1


   Straight turning, sometimes called cylindrical turning, is the process of reducing the work diameter to a specific dimension as the carriage moves the tool along the work. The work is machined on a plane parallel to its axis so that there is no variation in the work diameter throughout the length of the cut. Straight turning usually consists of a roughing cut followed by a finishing cut. When a large amount of material is to be removed, several roughing cuts may need to be taken. The roughing cut should be as heavy as the machine and tool bit can withstand. The finishing cut should be light and made to cut to the specified dimension in just one pass of the tool bit. When using power feed to machine to a specific length, always disengage the feed approximately 1/16-inch away from the desired length dimension, and then finish the cut using hand feed.

Setting Depth of Cut

    In straight turning, the cross feed or compound rest graduated collars are used to determine the depth of cut, which will remove a desired amount from the workpiece diameter. When using the graduated collars for measurement, make all readings when rotating the handles in the forward direction. The lost motion in the gears, called backlash, prevents taking accurate readings when the feed is reversed. If the feed screw must be reversed, such as to restart a cut, then the backlash must be taken up by turning the feed screw handle in the opposite direction until the movement of the screw actuates the movement of the cross slide or compound rest. Then turn the feed screw handle in the original or desired direction back to the required setting.


Figure 3-49. Set up for straight turning.

Setting Tool Bit for Straight Turning

   See Figure 3-49. For most straight turning operations, the compound rest should be aligned at an angle perpendicular to the cross slide, and then swung 30° to the right and clamped in position. The tool post should be set on the left-hand side of the compound rest T-slot, with a minimum of tool bit and tool holder overhang.

    When the compound rest and tool post are in these positions, the danger of running the cutting tool into the chuck or damaging the cross slide are minimized. Position the roughing tool bit about 5° above center height for the best cutting action. This is approximately 3/64-inch above center for each inch of the workpiece diameter. The finishing tool bit should be positioned at center height since there is less torque during finishing. The position of the tool bit to the work should be set so that if anything occurs during the cutting process to change the tool bit alignment, the tool bit will not dig into the work, but instead will move away from the work. Also, by setting the tool bit in this position, chatter will be reduced. Use a right-hand turning tool bit with a slight round radius on the nose for straight turning. Always feed the tool bit toward the headstock unless turning up to an inside shoulder. Different workplaces can be mounted in a chuck, in a collet, or between centers. Which work holding device to use will depend on the size of the work and the particular operation that needs to be performed.

Turning Work Between Centers

    Turning work that is held between centers is one accurate method that is available. The chief advantage of using this method is that the work can be removed from the lathe and later replaced for subsequent machining operations without disturbing the trueness of the turned surface in relation to the center holes of the workpiece. The lathe centers must be in good condition and carefully aligned if the turning operation is to be accurate. If necessary, true the centers and realign as needed. After the workpiece is center-drilled, place a lathe dog (that is slightly larger in diameter than the workpiece) on the end of the work that will be toward the headstock, and tighten the lathe dog bolt securely to the workpiece). If using a dead center in the tailstock, lubricate the center with a mixture of white lead and motor oil. A ball bearing live center is best for the tailstock center since this center would not need lubrication and can properly support the work.

Extend the tailstock spindle out about 3 inches and loosen the tailstock clamp-down nut. Place the work with the lathe dog end on the headstock live center and slide the tailstock forward until the tailstock center will support the work; then, secure the tailstock with the clamp-down nut. Adjust the tail of the lathe dog in the drive plate slot, making sure that the tail does not bind into the slot and force the work out of the center. A good fit for the lathe dog is when there is clearance at the top and bottom of the drive plate slot on both sides of the lathe dog tail. Tension should be applied to hold the work in place, but not so much tension that the tail of the lathe dog will not move freely in the drive -plate slot.

    Check tool bit clearance by moving the tool bit to the furthest position that can be cut without running into the lathe dog or the drive plate. Set the lathe carriage stop or micrometer carriage stop at this point to reference for the end of the cut and to protect the lathe components from damage. Set the speed, feed, and depth of cut for a roughing cut and then rough cut to within 0.020 inch of the final dimension. Perform a finish cut, flip the piece over, and change the lathe dog to the opposite end. Then rough and finish cut the second side to final dimensions.

Turning Work in Chucks

    Some work can be machined more efficiently by using chucks, collets, mandrels, or faceplates to hold the work. Rough and finish turning using these devices is basically the same as for turning between centers. The workpiece should not extend too far from the work holding device without adequate support. If the work extends more than three times the diameter of the workpiece from the chuck or collet, additional support must be used such as a steady rest or a tailstock center support. When turning using a mandrel or faceplate

to hold an odd-shaped workpiece, use light cuts and always feed the cutting tool toward the headstock. Every job may require a different setup and a different level of skill. Through experience, each machine operator will learn the best methods for holding work to be turned.



   Frequently, it will be necessary to machine work that has two or more diameters in its length. The abrupt step, or meeting place, of the two diameters is called a shoulder. The workpiece may be mounted in a chuck, collet, or mandrel, or between centers as in straight turning. Shoulders are turned, or formed, to various shapes to suit the requirements of a particular part. Shoulders are machined to add strength for parts that are to be fitted together, make a corner, or improve the appearance of a part. The three common shoulders are the square, the filleted, and the angular shoulder (Figure 3-50).

    Square shoulders are used on work that is not subject to excessive strain at the corners. This shape provides a flat clamping surface and permits parts to be fitted squarely together. There are many different ways to accurately machine a square shoulder. One method is to use a parting tool bit to locate and cut to depth the position of the shoulder. Straight-tuming the diameter down to the desired size is then the same as normal straight turning. Another method to machine a square shoulder is to rough out the shoulder slightly oversize with a round-nosed tool bit, and then finish square the shoulders to size with a side-finishing tool bit. Both of these methods are fine for most work, but may be too time-consuming for precise jobs. Shoulders can be machined quickly and accurately by using one type of tool bit that is ground and angled to straight turn and face in one operation (Figure 3-51).

Figure 3-50. Common Shoulder.

   Set up the micrometer carriage stop to align the shoulder dimension; then, in one pass of the tool bit, feed the tool bit left to turn the smaller diameter until contact is made with the carriage stop. Change the direction to feed out from center and face the shoulder out to the edge of the workpiece. The lathe micrometer stop measures the length of the shoulder and provides for a stop or reference for the tool bit. Shoulder turning in this manner can be accomplished with a few roughing cuts and a finishing cut.


Figure 3-51. Straight and shoulder turning in one pass.


Figure 3-52. Cutting a filleted corner.

Filleted Shoulders

   Filleted shoulders or comers, are rounded to be used on parts which require additional strength at the shoulder. These shoulders are machined with a round-nose tool bit or a specially formed tool bit (Figure 3-52). This type of shoulder can be turned and formed in the same manner as square shoulders. Filleted corners are commonly cut to double-sided shoulders (see Undercuts).

Angular Shoulders

   Angular shoulders although not as common as filleted shoulders, are sometimes used to give additional strength to corners, to eliminate sharp corners, and to add to the appearance of the work. Angular shoulders do not have all the strength of filleted corners but are more economical to

produce due to the simpler cutting tools. These shoulders are turned in the same manner as square shoulders by using a side turning tool set at the desired angle of the shoulder, or with a square-nosed tool set straight into the work (Figure 3-53).

Figure 3-53. Cutting angular shoulders using two tool.


Figure 3-54. Corners.


    Corners are turned on the edges of work to break down sharp edges and to add to the general appearance of the work. Common types of corners are chamfered, rounded, and square (Figure 7-54). Chamfered (or angular) corners may be turned with the side of a turning tool or the end of a square tool bit, as in angular shoulder turning. Round corners are produced by turning a small radius on the ends of the work. The radius may be formed by hand manipulation of the cross slide and carriage using a turning tool. An easier method is to use a tool bit specifically ground for the shape of the desired corner. Still another method is to file the radius with a standard file. A square corner is simply what is left when making a shoulder, and no machining is needed.


   Undercuts are the reductions in diameter machined onto the center portion of workplaces (Figure 3-55) to lighten the piece or to reduce an area of the part for special reasons, such as holding an oil seal ring. Some tools, such as drills and reamers, require a reduction in diameter at the ends of the flutes to provide clearance or runout for a milling cutter or grinding wheel. Reducing the diameter of a shaft or workpiece at the center with filleted shoulders at each end may be accomplished by the use of a round-nosed turning tool bit. This tool bit may or may not have a side rake angle, depending on how much machining needs to be done. A tool bit without any side rake is best when machining in either direction. Undercutting is done by feeding the tool bit into the workpiece while moving the carriage back and forth slightly. This prevents gouging and chatter occurring on the work surface.


Figure 3-55. Machining on undercut.


    Grooving (or necking) is the process of turning a groove or furrow on a cylinder, shaft, or workpiece. The shape of the tool and the depth to which it is fed into the work govern the shape and size of the groove. The types of grooves most commonly used are square, round, and V-shaped (Figure 3-56). Square and round grooves are frequently cut on work to provide a space for tool runout during subsequent machining operations, such as threading or knurling. These grooves also provide a clearance for assembly of different parts. The V-shaped groove is used extensively on step pulleys made to fit a V-type belt. The grooving tool is a type of forming tool. It is ground without side or back rake angles and set to the work at center height with a minimum of overhang. The side and end relief angles are generally somewhat less than for turning tools.

   In order to cut a round groove of a definite radius on a cylindrical surface, the tool bit must be ground to fit the proper radius gage (Figure 3-57). Small V-grooves may be machined by

using a form tool ground to size or just slightly undersize. Large V-grooves may be machined with the compound rest by finishing each side separately at the desired angle. This method reduces tool bit and work contact area, thus reducing chatter, gouging, and tearing. Since the cutting surface of the tool bit is generally broad, the cutting speed must be slower than that used for general turning. A good guide is to use half of the speed recommended for normal turning. The depth of the groove, or the diameter of the undercut, may be checked by using outside calipers or by using two wires and an outside micrometer (Figure 3-58).

 Figure 3-56. Common Grooves.

Figure 3-57. Checking toolbit with a radius gage.


Figure 3-58. Checking the depth of groove.

    When a micrometer and two wires are used the micrometer reading is equal to the measured diameter of the groove plus two wire diameters.

    To calculate measurement over the wires, use the following formula:

Measurement = Outside Diameter+ (2 x wires) - 2 x radius).


Figure 3-59. Parting.


    Parting is the process of cutting off a piece of stock while it is being held in the lathe. This process uses a specially shaped tool bit with a cutting edge similar to that of a square-nosed tool bit. When parting be sure to use plenty of coolant, such as a sulfurized cutting oil (machine cast iron dry) Parting tools normally have a 5° side rake and no back rake angles. The blades are sharpened by grinding the ends only. Parting is used to cut off stock such as tubing that is impractical to saw off with a power hacksaw.

     Parting is also used to cut off work after other machining operations have been completed (Figure 3-59). Parting tools can be of the forged type inserted blade type or ground from a standard tool blank. In order for the tool to have

maximum strength, the length of the cutting portion of the blade should extend only enough to be slightly longer than half of the workpiece diameter (able to reach the center of the work). Never attempt to part while the work is mounted between centers,

    Work that is to be parted should be held rigidly in a chuck or collet, with the area to be parted as close to the holding device as possible. Always make the parting cut at a right angle to the centerline of the work. Feed the tool bit into the revolving work with the cross slide until the tool completely severs the work. Speeds for parting should be about half that used for straight turning. Feeds should be light but continuous. If chatter occurs decrease the feed and speed and check for loose lathe parts or a loose setup. The parting tool should be positioned at center height unless cutting a piece that is over 1-inch thick. Thick pieces should have the cutting tool just slightly above center to account for the stronger torque involved in parting. The length of the portion to be cut off can be measured by using the micrometer carriage stop or by using layout lines scribed on the workpiece. Always have the carriage locked down to the bed to reduce vibration and chatter. Never try to catch the cutoff part in the hand; it will be hot and could burn.


    Occasionally, a radius or irregular shape must be machined on the lathe. Form turning is the process of machining radii and these irregular shapes. The method used to form-turn will depend on the size and shape of the object the accuracy desired the time allowed and the number of pieces that need to be formed. Of the several ways to form-turn using a form turning tool that is ground to the shape of the desired radius is the most common. Other common methods are using hand

Figure 3-60. Forming tools.

manipulation and filing, using a template and following rod, or using the compound rest and tool to pivot and cut. Two radii are cut in form turning, concave and convex. A concave radius curves inward and a convex radius curves outward.

Forming a Radius Using a Form Turning Tool

    Using a form turning tool to cut a radius is a way to form small radii and contours that will fit the shape of the tool. Forming tools can be ground to any desired shape or contour (Figure 3-60), with the only requirements being that the proper relief and rake angles must be ground into the tool's shape. The most practical use of the ground forming tool is in machining several duplicate pieces, since the machining of one or two pieces will not warrant the time spent on grinding the form tool. Use the proper radius gage to check for correct fit. A forming tool has a lot of contact with the work surface, which can result in vibration and chatter. Slow the speed, increase the feed, and tighten the work setup if these problems occur.

Forming a Radius Using Hand Manipulation

   Hand manipulation, or free hand, is the most difficult method of form turning to master. The cutting tool moves on an irregular path as the carriage and cross slide are simultaneously manipulated by hand. The desired form is achieved by watching the tool as it cuts and making small adjustments in the movement of the carriage and cross slide. Normally, the right hand works the cross feed movement while the left hand works the carriage movement. The accuracy of the radius depends on the skill of the operator. After the approximate radius is formed, the workpiece is filed and polished to a finished dimension.

Forming a Radius Using a Template

     To use a template with a follower rod to form a radius, a full scale form of the work is laid out and cut from thin sheet metal. This form is then attached to the cross slide in such a way that the cutting tool will follow the template. The accuracy of the template will determine the accuracy of the workpiece. Each lathe model has a cross slide and carriage that are slightly different from one another, but they all operate in basically the same way. A mounting bracket must be fabricated to hold the template to allow the cutting tool to follow its shape. This mounting bracket can be utilized for several different operations, but should be sturdy enough for holding clamps and templates. The mounting bracket must be positioned on the carriage to allow for a follower (that is attached to the cross slide) to contact the template and guide

the cutting tool. For this operation, the cross slide must be disconnected from the cross feed screw and hand pressure applied to hold the cross slide against the follower and template. Rough-cut the form to the approximate shape before disconnecting the cross feed screw. This way, a finish cut is all that is required while applying hand pressure to the cross slide. Some filing may be needed to completely finish the work to dimension.

Forming a Radius Using the Compound Rest

    To use the compourest and tool to pivot and cut (Figure 3-61), the compound rest bolts must be loosened to allow the compound rest to swivel. When using this method, the compound rest and tool are swung from side to side in an arc. The desired radius is formed by feeding the tool in or out with the compound slide. The pivot point is the center swivel point of the compound rest. A concave radius can be turned by positioning the tool in front of the pivot point, while a convex radius can be turned by placing the tool behind the pivot point. Use the micrometer carriage stop to measure precision depths of different radii.


Figure 3-61. Pivots of the compound radius.



    When the diameter of a piece changes uniformly from one end to the other, the piece is said to be tapered. Taper turning as a machining operation is the gradual reduction in diameter from one part of a cylindrical workpiece to another part, Tapers can be either external or internal. If a workpiece is tapered on the outside, it has an external taper; if it is tapered on the inside, it has an internal taper. There are three basic methods of turning tapers with a lathe. Depending on the degree, length, location of the taper (internal or external), and the number of pieces to be done, the operator will either use the compound rest, offset the tailstock, or use the taper attachment. With any of these methods the cutting edge of the tool bit must be set exactly on center with the axis of the workpiece or the work will not be truly conical and the rate of taper will vary with each cut.

Compound Rests

    The compound rest is favorable for turning or boring short, steep tapers, but it can also be used for longer, gradual tapers providing the length of taper does not exceed the distance the compound rest will move upon its slide. This method can be used with a high degree of accuracy, but is somewhat limited due to lack of automatic feed and the length of taper being restricted to the movement of the slide.

   The compound rest base is graduated in degrees and can be set at the required angle for taper turning or boring. With this method, it is necessary to know the included angle of the taper to be machined. The angle of the taper with the centerline is one-half the included angle and will be the angle the compound rest is set for. For example, to true up a lathe center which has an included angle of 60, the compound rest would be set at 30° from parallel to the ways (Figure 3-41).

   If there is no degree of angle given for a particular job, then calculate the compound rest setting by finding the taper per inch, and then calculating the tangent of the angle (which is the: compound rest setting) .


 Figure 3-62 Taper problem.

   For example, the compound rest setting for the workpiece shown in Figure 3-62 would be calculated in the following manner


TPI = D_d angle = TAN (TPI) L 2

Where TPI = taper per inch

D = large diameter,


d = small diameter,


L = length of taper


angle = compound rest setting

     The problem is actually worked out by substituting numerical values for the letter variables:

TPI = 1.000 - 0.375


TPI = 0.625


TPI= 0.833

   Apply the formula to find the angle by substituting the numerical values for the letter variables:

angle = TAN (0.833)


angle = TAN 0.41650

    Using the trig charts in TC 9-515 or any other source of trig charts, the TAN of 0.41650 is found to be 22°37'. This angle is referred to as 22 degrees and 37 minutes.

   To machine the taper shown in Figure 3-62, the compound rest will be set at 22037 '. Since the base of the compound rest is not calibrated in minutes, the operator will set the base to an approximate degree reading, make trial cuts, take measurements, and readjust as necessary to obtain the desired angle of taper. The included angle of the workpiece is double that of the tangent of angle (compound rest setting). In this case, the double of 22°37’ would equal the included angle of 45°14’.

   To machine a taper by this method, the tool bit is set on center with the workpiece axis. Turn the compound rest feed handle in a counterclockwise direction to move the compound rest near its rear limit of travel to assure sufficient traverse to complete the taper. Bring the tool bit into position with the workpiece by traversing and cross-feeding the carriage. Lock the carriage to the lathe bed when the tool bit is in position. Cut from right to left, adjusting the depth of cut by moving the cross feed handle and reading the calibrated collar located on the cross feed handle. feed the tool bit by hand-turning the compound rest feed handle in a clockwise direction.

Offsetting the Tailstock

    The oldest and probably most used method of taper turning is the offset tailstock method. The tailstock is made in two pieces: the lower piece is fitted to the bed, while the upper part can be adjusted laterally to a given offset by use of adjusting screws and lineup marks (Figure 3-63).


Figure 3-63. Tailstock offset for taper turning.

   Since the workpiece is mounted between centers, this method of taper turning can only be used for external tapers. The length of the taper is from headstock center to tailstock center, which allows for longer tapers than can be machined using the compound rest or taper attachment methods.

   The tool bit travels along a line which is parallel with the ways of the lathe. When the lathe centers are aligned and the workpiece is machined between these centers, the diameter will remain constant from one end of the piece to the other. If the tailstock is offset, as shown in Figure 3-64, the centerline of the workpiece is no longer parallel with the ways; however, the tool bit continues its parallel movement with the ways, resulting in a tapered workpiece. The tail stock may be offset either toward or away from the operator. When the offset is toward the operator, the small end of the workpiece will be at the tailstock with the diameter increasing toward the headstock end.


Figure 3-64. Taper turning with tailstock set over.

    The offset tailstock method is applicable only to comparatively gradual tapers because the lathe centers, being out of alignment, do not have full bearing on the workpiece. Center holes are likely to wear out of their true positions if the lathe centers are offset too far, causing poor results and possible damage to centers.

     The most difficult operation in taper turning by the offset tailstock method is determining the proper distance the tailstock should be moved over to obtain a given taper. Two factors affect the amount the tailstock is offset: the taper desired and the length of the workpiece. If the offset remains constant, workplaces of different lengths, or with different depth center holes, will be machined with different tapers (Figure 3-65).


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