Transforming a modest metal rod or wooden beam into something extraordinary takes knowledge, skill and a clear vision of what the finished product should look like. Doing so also requires precision, and that particular aspect depends a great deal on having the right tools and equipment. The process begins with a lathe designed for the type of material being revamped. Though lathe tooling machinery has changed a bit over the years, the principles applied remain largely the same.
In the beginning, these machines were foot-pedal driven, powered by the operator himself. Tools used to shape the materials being turned were hand-held devices. The process was slow, and a great deal of material was undoubtedly lost to human error. Modern day craftsmen are able to take advantage of electricity and considerably more helpful technology, such as cnc tooling.
This doesn’t mean a high level of skill is no longer important; it simply means someone has to be well versed in accurately programming the computer controlling the equipment to ensure end products turns out as they should. Though some methods require figuring in for a certain amount of play, rigid tapping eliminates this aspect to an extent. It’s also a faster and often less costly course of action as rigid tool holders are typically more dependable than their tension compression counterparts.
For state-of-the-art machines using CAT technology, certain tools offer greater functionality than others. While it’s a bit bulkier and slower than some of the alternatives, cat-50 tooling is a sturdy option as long as it fits the job being done. CAT-50 compatible tools are generally more expensive, but as long as needing higher speeds isn’t an issue, they’ll cover the added cost with durability. Slow is a relative term, so those operating their equipment at 8,000 rpm’s or more may want to consider dual contact tool holders to compensate for imbalances and their numerous negative results.
Regardless of the specific application, having knowledge and experience coupled with the right tools and machinery can make all the difference. Whether lathe tooling the old-fashioned way or using more modern, largely digital equipment, precision is crucial. As long as all these elements are available, you can create almost any object ranging from a beautifully ornate set of table legs to the screws and drill bits necessary for fostering the projects of an entire industry.