The Mother of Machine Tools – Part Two
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

When we last met we touched on the rich history of industrial machining, most particularly, the lathe and its early forms.  While the lathe has been around since not long after man began to use tools, today’s lathe is no longer just used for carving and cutting wood and small tools from metal.  Because of the major advances in technology over the 20th and into the current 21st century we now have the CNC (computerized numerical control) lathe which allows for incredible degrees of precision and range of uses. 


Rapidly replacing older production lathes because of this increasing ease of setting and operation, as well as repetition and accuracy, the CNC lathe is controlled electronically through a computer interface, typically menu driven.  Designed to use the most modern processes and carbide tooling for both accuracy and longevity, parts can be designed and tool paths programmed by either a computer aided design and manufacturing software (CAD/CAM) or manually by a programmer who will then upload the file to the machine.  Once set and trialed, the CNC lathe will keep turning out part after part with minimal supervision of an operator and because the machine is controlled electronically via a computer menu style interface, the program may be modified and displayed at the machine, along with a simulated view of the process.


While designs may differ from manufacturer to manufacturer, all CNC lathes have some common elements; turrets to hold the tool holders and indexes them as needed, spindles to hold the workpiece and slides that let the turret move in multiple axis simultaneously.  In the past, an intimate knowledge of each machine was considered essential as there was still a good deal of inconsistency in parts and processes.  These older machines were often set and operated by the same operator supervising a small number of machines. Now, while the CNC lathe setter/operator needs an elevated level of skill to perform the necessary processes with these newer machines – particularly as there are now so many different user interfaces -- there is a much broader knowledge base overall.


Particularly effective for complicated programs designed to make parts that would be infeasible to make on manual lathes, CNC lathes have been a huge step forward in designing and manufacturing machine tools.  More than just the increase in accuracy and consistency, this has also allowed manufacturers and distributors to provide their customers with much more economical options.


At J.F. Berns we are committed to the manufacturing and continual improvement of high quality CNC Lathe and Bar Feeding accessories, as well as to implementing innovative solutions to increase your machining productivity. For more information or to get a quote, please contact us at 513-851-4600 or visit us on our website,



Blog Categories

  • General Interest
    • 03/19/2019 - What is the CNC Machining Proc
    • 02/19/2019 - Lining Your Spindles for Bette
    • 01/22/2019 - Selecting the Right Bar Feeder
    • 12/18/2018 - Benefits of CNC manufacturing
    • 11/20/2018 - Lathe Machine Accessories and
    • 10/23/2018 - What is Chamfering and How Doe
    • 09/18/2018 - Why Gears Need to be Chamfered
    • 08/21/2018 - How to Assess What Bar Feeder
    • 07/24/2018 - Increase Your CNC Machining Pr
    • 06/19/2018 - Machines You Would Need for Me
    • 05/22/2018 - Quality Parts: 5 Benefits to y
    • 04/17/2018 - 3 Type of Metal Fabrication To
    • 03/16/2018 - Learning about Lathing Machine
    • 02/16/2018 - Why CNC Machining is Important
    • 01/26/2018 - Step By Step Guide For Easy Sp
    • 08/15/2017 - Fully Automatic Chamfering Mac
    • 07/05/2017 - Chamfering: Manual vs. Automat
    • 05/23/2017 - The Mother of Machine Tools –
    • 04/17/2017 - The Mother of Machine Tools –
    • 12/17/2016 - DIY Spindle Liners
    • 11/05/2016 - Spindle Liners: Steel or Ureth
    • 07/23/2016 - Quick-Change Workholding Syste
    • 06/23/2016 - The Best Spindle Liners
    • 05/12/2016 - Apps for CNC Machining
    • 03/15/2016 - T-Rex Spindle Crushes Industry
    • 10/13/2015 - From Hand Tool to Simple Machi
    • 05/11/2015 - Bevel and Chamfer: What’s the
    • 04/24/2015 - What’s In A Name: The Definiti
    • 03/17/2015 - A Brief History of Geometric L
    • 02/10/2015 - 3-D: Not Just for Printers Any
    • 01/20/2015 - Ornamental Turning
    • 12/09/2014 - Informative Machinist Blogs
    • 11/20/2014 - The Ins and Outs of Being a Ma
    • 10/23/2014 - Bow Lathes Before Power
    • 09/10/2014 - World Record: The World’s Larg
    • 08/18/2014 - Lathes: Not Just for Heavy Ind
    • 07/17/2014 - More Useful Apps for Machinist
    • 06/12/2014 - A Brief History of the Lathe
    • 05/25/2014 - The History of Lathing: Ancien
    • 04/02/2014 - Useful Apps for Machinists and
    • 03/18/2014 - The Basics of Spindle Liners
  • Historical Turning

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We love the Bar Champs. We use them every day to chamfer heat treated steel without issue.

Ben Ladky, Assistant Plant Manager / Rolled Threads Unlimited, LLC



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