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Programming a Mill as a Lathe in Mastercam

4/18/20 6:00 AM / by camInstructor Mike

Programming a CNC Mill as a CNC Lathe in Mastercam!

This one comes from the 'just cause you can doesn't mean you should' idea bank...using your CNC Mill to turn parts like you would on a CNC Lathe. The concept is pretty straight forward, a mill has a spindle, a way to hold a tool, a way to hold material, and 3 axes of why does the tool have to go in the spindle?

In a nut shell, the only difference here is that you are putting your stock in the spindle and your cutting tool in your vise. On the machine, you will be missing out on some of the features that come on lathes to make your life easier such as canned cycles, turrets, tool holding and adjustment, etc. In Mastercam, you will also be missing out on features in the Lathe product that make your life easier, toolpaths, posts, CSS calls, etc. So, ya, it can be done but you're gonna have to work for it.

In the video I'll show you how you can pull this off. How to not only turn the profile but add rough cuts and lead in/out motion.  You can even expand on the video contents and add additional tools. Each tool would have to use its own work offset, so Tool 1 would be G54, Tool 2 G55 etc. 

A word of warning, use caution when programming like this. There is no simulation to accurately check your programs so crashes could be lurking in the code. Also, large pieces of material are not advisable nor are heavy cuts....after all this is not a real lathe. There are differences in the spindle bearings and the type of loads they are meant for. 

I wouldn't suggest running a 1000 part job like this but knocking out some quick jobs and keeping the work internal, why not!


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Topics: Mastercam, postprocessor

camInstructor Mike

Written by camInstructor Mike

camInstructor Mike is Mike Wearne, an avid machinist, cnc programmer and overall connoisseur of all things machining. Mike is one of camInstructor's resident cad/cam/cnc experts and works part time at his local college teaching aspiring machinists how to program CNC Machines of all types.

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