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CNC Turning

Like CNC mills, CNC lathes can be easily set up for high repeatability, which makes them great for everything from rapid prototyping to low and high-volume production. Multi-axis CNC turning centers and Swiss-type lathes allow for multiple machining operations in one machine. making them a cost-effective option for complex geometries that would otherwise require multiple machines or tool changes in a traditional CNC mill.

How CNC Turning Works

CNC lathes use a subtractive method to create the desired shape. With the G-Code created, a blank bar of stock material is loaded into the chuck of the lathe’s spindle. The chuck holds the workpiece in place while the spindle spins. When the spindle is up to speed, a stationary cutting tool is brought into contact with the workpiece to remove material until the desired geometry is achieved.

There are many operations that can be performed on a live tooling lathe, including facing, threading, knurling, drilling, boring, reaming, and taper turning. Different operations require tool changes and can increase cost and set-up time.

When all machining operations are completed, the part is cut from the stock for further post-processing. The CNC lathe is then ready to repeat the operation with little-to-no set-up time in between.

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CNC Turning

High-Quality CNC Turning Parts

Unionfab's machine learning-trained technology platform also provides instant manufacturability feedback to ensure that your part is optimized for the CNC turning process and fits the requirements you need.

Unionfab provides you with the capacity and capabilities your project needs, while also delivering the most competitive pricing and lead times. Our technicians are highly-skilled operators and our organizational focus on quality and customer satisfaction at every level enables us to produce the precision parts you require for your project.

Why Make your CNC Milling at Unionfab?

  • Endless Options Choose from millions of possible combinations of materials, finishes, tolerances, markings, and certifications for your order.
  • Easy to Use Get your parts delivered right to your door without the hassle of sourcing, project management, logistics, or shipping.
  • Vetted Network We are ISO 9001:2015 certified and AS9100D compliant. Only the top shops that apply to become Suppliers make it through our qualification process.

Design Guidelines: CNC Turning

CNC General Tolerances
Description General Tolerance
Distance Dimensions For features of size (Length, width, height, diameter) and location (position, concentricity, symmetry) +/- 0.005”.
Orientation and Form Dimensions 0-12″ +/- 0.005″, Angularity 1/2 degree. For 24″ and beyond please consult Unionfab’s Manufacturing Standards.
Edge Condition Sharp edges will be broken and deburred by default. Critical edges that must be left sharp should be noted and specified on a print.
US Metric
2.6 in. x 2.9 in. x 3.9 in. 66mm x 73mm x 99mm
SIZE 0.25 in. x 0.25 in. 6.35mm x 6.35mm
NOMINAL THICKNESS 0.040 in. 1.02mm
PLASTIC Edges broken with visible tool marks
ALUMINUM Edges broken with visible tool marks, edges broken with light bead blast, or sharp edges with visible tool marks
ALL OTHER METALS Edges broken with visible toolmarks or edges broken with light bead blast

Recommended text considerations for CNC milling:

  • Plastic and soft metals: Minimum width of 0.018 in. (0.457mm), depth of 0.0118 in. (0.3mm).

    Example text size would be 16 point Arial Rounded MT font.

  • Hard metals: Minimum width of 0.033 in. (0.838mm) and depth of 0.0118 in. (0.3mm).

    Example text size would be 22 point Arial Rounded MT font.

  • If design permits it, opt for recessed text versus raised.

CNC Turning Material Options

Nylon 66

Nylon 66


Nylon 66 is a type of polyamide or nylon. It, and nylon 6, are the two most common for textile and plastic industries. Nylon 66 is made of two monomers each containing 6 carbon atoms, hexamethylenediamine and adipic acid, which give nylon 66 its name.


Nylon 6/6 is one of the most versatile engineering thermoplastics. It is popular in every major market using thermoplastic materials. Because of its excellent balance of strength, ductility and heat resistance, nylon 6/6 is an outstanding candidate for metal replacement applications. Nylon 6/6 is very easy to process with a very wide process window. This allows it to be used for everything from complex, thin walled components to large thick walled housings




Tensile Strength, Yield (MPa)
Elongation at Break (%)
Hardness (Shore D)
Heat Deflection Temperature (°C)
Melting Point (°C)

Multi Color

Acrylic is a tough material that has numerous benefits over glass. For one, acrylic can be easily machined whereas glass cannot. This gives you the option of CNC machining in acrylic when the task requires both complex geometry and high levels of optical clarity in the final part. Acrylic’s clarity makes it ideal for inspection windows, chemical testing hardware, and instrumentation covers.

Stainless Steel 316

Stainless Steel 316


Tensile Strength, Yield (MPa)
Shear Modulus (GPa)
Elongation at Break (%)
Hardness (Brinell)
Density (g/cm^3)


This austenitic grade of stainless steel contains molybdenum which gives it excellent corrosion resistance. In addition to this, it is highly formable and weldable. Applications include chemical tanks and boat fittings. The low carbon version, 316L, is more resistant to chlorides than the basic formulation.

Compare our 3D Printing Services

Service Lead Times Materials Tolerances Max Part Size
SLA 1 – 3 days Resin / Somos +/- 0.003 in. 800 x 800 x 550 mm
SLS 2 – 5 days PA12/ PA12GB +/- 0.002 in. 350 x 350 x 400 mm
MJF 2 – 5 days PA12/ PA12GB +/- 0.002 in. 380 x 280 x 380 mm
FDM 2 – 5 days PLA / ABS  +/- 0.003 in. 500 x 500 x 400 mm
Poly Jet 2 – 5 days Resin +/- 0.003 in. 490 x 390 x 200 mm