Quality CNC lathe work from Gullwing Engineering

What exactly is CNC turning and a CNC lathe?

At Gullwing Engineering, we are extremely proud of the quality and finish of the completed components produced using our advanced CNC lathe (also known as CNC turning) machines. The fact that we can produce such high-quality components using these machines stems from the extensive experience we have gained in CNC turning over the years.

We own two CNC Okuma Turning Centres, both of which utilise the latest EdgeCAM Part Modeler and EdgeCAM Solid Machinist Max state of the art modelling package technology, which enables us to perform complex programming. These machines are therefore able to produce virtually any component our clients wish for.

Some of the features these machines possess include the fact that they have hydraulic chucks and tailstocks for the fast and rigid clamping of billets and castings. With both of these CNC lathe machines, a turning capacity of up to 350 mm diameters is achievable, although the correct capacity utilised is always determined by the specific application. We also have 2 off barfed production CNC machines for small items up to a capacity of 40mm in diameter. One of those machines has a capability of drilling, tapping and milling from the side as well as the ends of the article. This machine also has a sub-spindle for continuous engineering.

Our machines are also fitted with bar feeders, enabling us to continuously feed machining stock into the machines in one complete operation, without the need to handle the unprocessed materials.

CNC turning is defined as a method of machining a part with the use of a pointed cutting tool. The machine shapes a material by feeding the cutting tool onto the material in question, while the material is being rapidly turned/rotated. This rotation is achieved using a CNC lathe. The material being shaped is secured to the lathe, which then rapidly spins the material in order for it to be shaped by the cutting tool.

Machines of this nature have a dual axis movement capability, enabling it to produce a wide variety of complex shapes including plain, contoured, threaded, tapered, filleted and radius profiles.

With CNC lathe and turning, minimal human intervention is required. The main human operation that needs to be performed with a CNC machine is programming the necessary commands into the machine. Because the machine follows a pre-programmed computer-based design, it is able to achieve a precise turn and exact tolerances, which ultimately results in a flawless end product of superior quality.

How the CNC lathe machine works:

Just as with all kinds of machinery, lathe machines are available in different models and varieties that perform different functions. Lathe machines may look different, but they all consist of basic components that include a bed, carriage, chuck, CNC Control Panel, a spindle and more. Each of these components play in important role in the overall functioning of the machine. The following four steps explain how most CNC lathe machines work:


  1. Once a technician has checked that the machine is working perfectly and that there are no faults, a workpiece needs to be attached to the chuck. The position of the workpiece can differ as it depends of the requirement of the part that will be manufactured.
  2. Next, the speed of the spindle needs to be adjusted to rotate both the chuck and the workpiece. Close attention needs to be paid to the speed of the spindle, as this can cause cutting errors and will result in a faulty end result.
  3. The third step is to locate the cutting tools at the desired feed. This is done by moving the tool turret and carriage. Pay attention to the speed of the feeding process.
  4. Lastly, all excess metal needs to be removed. This is done by moving the carriage to reach the final product from the machine.


To talk to us about the manufacture of specific parts or components that you have in mind, please do not hesitate to contact us either via phone or email.

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Tel 021 552 5218

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Unit 5 Railway Park | Railway Road | Montague Gardens | 7441