CNC lathes have become an increasingly popular tool for machine shops and manufacturers alike, due to their cost-effective nature and simple control of the cutting process. However, for those who don’t have a large budget to purchase a CNC Lathe, there are ways to modify an old lathe or new, used lathe to be more affordable.
Before you start modifying the interior or exterior of an old lathe, it is important to take into account several factors such as how large of a cut you would like to do with the tools, the time that you can spend on the job, and the level of maintenance that will be required. If you have several people working with the CNC Lathe then you will need to determine how many people can comfortably work on the tool and how much room you have available for storage. If space is at a premium, then the best option may be to buy a CNC Lathe, after which purchase, modify the lathe to make it suitable for your needs. This is a simple and practical solution.
The biggest and most obvious external changes are probably going to be the doors. If you are looking to make the most amount of structural changes to the lathe and eliminate structural elements, you should consider making some type of framework out of the original lathe doors. If the original doors were made out of metal, then consider removing the frame and replacing it with a fiberglass door. Fiberglass is a very strong material and can easily be cut and placed into place to make the frame. With the frame removed, you can clean and reface the lathe and reapply the fiberglass to create a stronger framework that is also stronger than the original wood frames.
Other internal changes that can be made to a lathe include adding a modern control panel, installing a video camera, or making changes to the lathe by adding a bench top. The bench will make the lathe more comfortable, while the bench top can befitted into a corner on the lathe to make it more ergonomic. Depending on your budget, you can decide whether you want to add a new motor or upgrade the controller. Many lathes are already on the latest technology, but some older CNC Lathes still operates through the old, simpler method of turning the tool or hand turning the tool.
You should also think about the process of taking your CNC lathe apart if you are looking to make more cost-effective modifications. You can take the lathe apart from the inside of the lathe where you can remove the wheels, cut a piece of the frame to fit into the lathe, and re-install the wheels. After taking the wheels out, you can also fit them back in after the frame has been cleaned and refaced. A fresh bed should also be installed in the lathe to make the process of taking it apart easier.
The most effective way to make your lathe more affordable is to use a CNC lathe in combination with other tools. Most machines have a power cord with a power switch and also a battery. By combining these tools together and charging the batteries while the lathe is on, you can reduce the overall cost of the lathe significantly.
The tooling and the machine itself will still need to be handled carefully so it should be treated as if it is part of the machining machine. It is possible to make a CNC Lathe more affordable by using different tools such as concrete pavers and a saw for masonry projects.
The price of a CNC wood lathe can vary greatly depending on the finish and the size of the lathe. If you are looking to invest in a lathe that you can use for many years, then you should choose one that has a deep veneer finish. Choosing a tool that is more expensive but produces a more refined finish is the best option.