Full C Axis or Indexing?...
The advent of the 'C' axis on CNC lathes enabled engineers to turn and mill on one machine. In essence a 'C' axis could be described as
'Having full control over the movement of the spindle and therefore the spindle itself becomes an axes'
There are differing types of 'C' axis so it's always worth knowing which of the following your machine is equipped with prior to purchase.
Full 'C' Axis
A full 'C' axis allows you to program the spindle as an axis. The machine then becomes capable of machining grooves and paths as the spindle can rotate in cycle at the same time as the other axis.
An Indexing 'C' Axis
A 'C' axis that indexes means you can position the spindle at any given location within a program and fix it there whilst other machining processes are taking place, however you cannot program a simulateneous operation.
It is unusual these days to purchase a new machine that does not offer the full 'C' axis - that is if a 'C' axis is requested.
In summary a CNC lathe purchased with a 'C' axis offers machine shops the capacity to turn, mill flats, drill PCD's, tap, chamfer or countersink. Historically this type of machining process would have been undertaken on two machines, a lathe for the turning and a mill for the milling, drilling, tapping etc.
Most machine tool manufacturers now offer machines with full 'C' axis, machine types to consider include, Haas, Hurco, Doosan, Victor, CMZ, XYZ, Eagle, Star, Tornos, Hwacheon and Hyundia.
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