Technology has been improving the machines and gadgets we use in our day to day life. Starting with the huge gramophones in the olden days from which we used to hear music, today’s technology has shrunk the gramophone to a iPod that fits in the palm of your hand. The technological advances have created a need to make things better and better things to be their best. This metamorphism of technology has led to the evolution of machining, pushing it from the level of micro accuracy to the level of nano accuracy. New generation machines are no longer manually controlled and operated; the computer has taken control over them now. New generation machines are now capable of achieving accuracy levels which were only talked about a decade ago.
A part or component is manufactured from its blank stage on various machines to attain its final shape. Machines normally remove material from a blank in order to provide the required shape. Each kind of machine removes material in a specific way to the required dimensions as controlled by the operator of the machine. Every type of machine requires its own unique type of tooling that aids in the material removal.
If the wheel was the first invention that made mankind evolve, then the lathe can be considered the best invention that made machines evolve. The lathe can also be credited for having refined the wheel to the best circle possible. Lathe machines in general are used to produce circular components. The component is made to rotate and a tool is used to remove the material as required by the user.
The tooling in the lathe is confined to a single point tool only. The single point tool is normally mounted on the toolpost of the lathe. Specially designed single point tools for specific processes like threading can also be mounted on the tool post of a lathe.
Think of any shape, square, rectangle, concave, or convex curvature, on a surface, slots in shafts, etc. The one machine that can perform all of these cutting actions is the milling machine. Milling machines are available in a range of sizes varying from bench tops to floor type machines.