Réalisation d'un tournage mécanique

What is machine turning ?

Industrial mechanics companies use many machining processes to make products from different materials. One of the most common machining techniques is mechanical turning.

In this article, our precision machining specialists tell you more about machine turning!

Definition of machine turning

Like the various machining processes, turning is a process in which a machine removes material from a rotating workpiece. The workpiece is held by a chuck or collet while the cutting tool moves to cut the material being machined. This combination of movements removes material in the form of chips. The speed used in mechanical turning can be varied to achieve results tailored to the need.

In general, turning is a means used in industrial machining to add or improve features on parts that have already been manufactured in some other way. It is precise and can make the surface of the part very smooth.

What equipment is used for machine turning?

The process of machine turning requires the use of a machine (lathe or power lathe), the workpiece, a fixture and a cutting tool. Other equipment and tools can be used by industrial mechanical services to achieve efficient and complete turning.

What to choose between a manual lathe or a CNC lathe?

Turning is a process that can be done manually or with the help of a machine. The disadvantage of using a manual lathe is that you need someone to always watch over it, whereas an automatic lathe is self-contained.

In fact, computer numerical control or CNC machining is using a computer to tell a machine what to do. You enter all the necessary instructions, such as how fast it should go and what type of tool it should use. Then the machine does what you program it to do.

What materials are used for the tools?

There are many materials that can be used when performing machine turning. One of the most common materials is high speed steel, also known as HSS (High Speed Steel). It is widely used because of its strength, about 65 HRc. This means it will last a long time before it needs to be replaced.

Metal carbides are also becoming increasingly popular in machine turning. This category includes alloys such as titanium, tungsten, cobalt, and nickel.

What are the operations performed during a mechanical turning?

During the machine turning process, various operations can be performed to shape a part to the desired form. These operations can be classified as external or internal. External operations change the outside diameter of the part, while internal operations change the inside diameter.

Exterior turning

  • Longitudinal turning ;
  • Transverse turning;
  • Profile turning ;
  • Slotting ;
  • Threading.

Interior turning

  • Boring ;
  • Dressing ;
  • Tapping ;
  • Re-bending.


Turning is a technique using a single point cutting tool that moves along the workpiece, removing material to form various features such as notches, tapers, chamfers, and contours.


Facing is accomplished with a single point cutting tool that moves in a circle around the end of the workpiece. It removes a thin layer of material to create a smooth, flat surface. The depth of the face is usually very shallow. To machine it, one or more passes can be made with a smaller axial depth of cut.


Grooving is a process that uses a single point cutting tool that moves radically around the workpiece and cuts a groove that is equal in width to the tool. Multiple cuts are possible to form a groove that is wider than the tool width or to create grooves of different shapes.


When performing a cut-off, the single point cutting tool moves in a circular pattern around the edge of the workpiece. It continues until it reaches the center of the workpiece, separating or cutting part or all of the workpiece.


To make a thread, a single point cutting tool cuts threads into the surface of a workpiece. It has a 60-degree cutting angle and moves along the side of the workpiece. The threads can be cut to a specific length and still require multiple passes to form.


Drilling involves using drills to make holes through an industrial part. Each material has different tools and recommended settings to use so that the holes are smooth and easy to clean.


When boring, the cutting tool penetrates axially into the workpiece and cuts the material along an inner surface to form notches, cones, chamfers, contours etc.

How to learn machine turning?

In Quebec, if you want to learn to be a machinist and perform mechanical turning operations, you can enroll in the DEP program in machining techniques. This 1,800-hour program is offered in many schools in the province.

You can also learn the basics of mechanical turning by taking an AEC in mechanical manufacturing. This program lasts 1,725 hours.

HARtech your specialist in mechanical turning

As you have seen, mechanical turning is a complex process, but one that can bring a lot to your company if you want to produce high quality machined parts.

At HARtech, we use many machining processes, including mechanical turning, to provide our customers with custom parts that meet their needs. Contact us now to learn more!

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