What is a CNC Lathe?

Lenco CNC Wheel Lathe M215

In the world of cars, particularly in reference to rims and wheels, the term lathe will come up in most conversations about repairs. A lathe is a key tool in a rim repairman’s workshop and helps to speed up reparations as well as provide superior results in comparison with other mechanical systems. Alas, alloy rim and wheel repairs can be even more efficient with the assistance of a CNC lathe, a more modern and sophisticated iteration of the common workshop tool. In this article, we will differentiate the two and showcase the benefits of using CNC lathes for repairing alloy rims.

What is a Lathe?

A lathe is primarily responsible for removing metal from a workpiece to give it the desired shape. Lathes are used in alloy rim repairs by stripping layers where damages are present in order to maintain a clean look and improve wheel performance. The machine works by rotating a workpiece around a fixed axis and applying a cutting or shaping tool to remove excess material from the workpiece. 

How Does a CNC Lathe Differ?

The difference between a CNC lathe and a regular workshop lathe is not in the specific tool itself but in the process of operating it. CNC is an acronym for computerized numerically controlled, meaning the CNC component provides additional software-operated technology to assist the lathe cutting process. 

What is the Function of a CNC Lathe?

Much like its lathe counterpart, a CNC lathe is responsible for shaping a workpiece by cutting away excess materials and metal. The three primary functions of a CNC lathe include facing, turning, and boring. 

  • Facing: removing excess metal from a cylindrical workpiece to create a smooth surface
  • Turning: creating grooves, indents, and ridges by applying a turning tool to the CNC lathe
  • Boring: enlarging existing holes through drilling, molding, casting, or forging

The Benefits of Using CNC Lathes for Repairing Alloy Rims

In the process of repairing alloy rims and wheels, a CNC lathe may offer several benefits compared to a regular lathe. Wheel repair specialists that utilize the CNC technology may assist your wheel and rim repairs in the following ways:

Quicker Turnaround Time

The primary benefit of using computer technology to assist rim and wheel repairs is its efficiency in getting the job done. Without needing hands-on assistance, a CNC lathe is capable of repairing damaged rims at a much quicker rate. The shortened turnaround time means the process of rims getting from the workshop to the customer is much quicker. This both benefits the client and the workshop as job turnaround time directly affects a workshop’s ability to manage projects.

More Accurate Repairs

Another key benefit to utilizing CNC lathes as opposed to traditional lathes is the ability to get a more accurate repair. With high-quality technology driving the reparations, CNC lathes are able to hone in on details much more effectively than a worker responsible for turning the workpiece manually on the lathe. More accurate repairs mean longer-lasting rims and a reduced risk of other damages popping up.

Smoother Solution

In a similar way to providing accurate repairs, CNC lathes allow wheel repair specialists to offer smoother solutions for their clients. Alloy rims are highly regarded for their clean and attractive look, meaning a smoother cut ensures repaired alloys look as close to new as possible. Where a traditional lathe operation may result in tiny ridges and indents forming, a CNC lathe can provide a much cleaner look.

Longer Lifespan

A thin layer of metal is stripped from alloy rims and wheels during repairs and lathes operated manually are not always able to provide a consistent and clean strip. This means that your wheels and rims may be at risk of inconsistencies that could lead to further damage in the future. A CNC lathe is much more reliable in providing meticulous damage removal by accurately stipping a very fine layer. This improves the lifespan of the rim, helping customers save money in the long run.

Through the use of CNC lathes, wheel repair specialists can more effectively and efficiently fix your damaged rims and wheels. From a quicker turnaround time to more accurate repairs and a smoother solution to a longer lifespan, you can harness the benefits of a CNC lathe when opting to work with these expert wheel repair specialists.

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