Common Machining Terms

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American-type Single-spindle Screw Machine - A lathe and a turret that work together from an axial orientation to the part.

Automatic Bar Machine - A type of machine that continuously rotates while being fed bar stock from the spindle to cut. Also referred to as a screw machine.

Axial Approach - A type of approach for a tool that is described as parallel to the axis of the part or workpiece.



Bar Stock - A term that refers to the raw material used in the Swiss Screw Machining industry, it is long bars of metal, acquired from a metal manufacturer.

Bar Stock Magazine - A chamber located on a screw machine that assists in feeding the bar stock to the screw machining process.

Boring - A process that is used to enlarge a hole through the use of a single-point tool.

Bushing - A piece on a Swiss-type single-spindle screw machine that serves as a guide for the bar stock.


Cam - A component that is often circular in shape and is responsible for converting rotational motion to linear motion. Specifically in a bar machine, the cam controls the feed rate and cut depth.

Chip - A piece of excess metal that is discarded during the screwing process, generally the result of metal cutting or grinding.

Chuck - The device that is responsible for securing a workpiece in place during the operation, as it rotates.

Chucking Machine - The term used for any machine that requires the use of a chuck to hold a part in place.

CNC Turning Center - A special type of CNC machine that concentrates on turning, boring, drilling and threading.

Collet - A component that is fitted with a specifically dimensioned hole to hold the workpiece through.

Computer Numerical Control - A computer programmable tool that uses special programs to complete machining jobs.

Cross Slide - The term that refers to the assembly of components that are responsible for holding a workpiece in position, on a lathe.

Cutoff - The process of using a cutting tool to remove the finished piece from the bar stock.

Cycle Time - The total amount of time it takes to complete one cycle and produce one part.


Depth of Cut - The total volume of bar stock that is separated during one cycle or pass of the cutting tool.

Drilling - A process that is used to generate a round hole in the surface of a part using a multi-point tool.

Drive Shaft - The machine component that is responsible for transferring power from the actuator to all the other machine components.


Engine Lathe - The most basic and simple version of lathe.


Facing - The process of moving a flat tool over the end of the workpiece to generate a flat surface, performed on the lathe.

Feed - A term that describes the motion of a cutting tool cutting into a part and separating the material.

Follower - A component that traces along the edge of a cam and transcribes the rotational motion to linear motion that is used to cut the workpiece.

Form Turning - A process that is performed on the lathe that uses a tool to impress a shape upon the workpiece.



Headstock - The component on the end of a lathe that is responsible rotating the workpiece and holding the spindle.

Horizontal Axis - The line that goes through the center of an object while also parallel to the floor.


ID grooving - A process used to create an internal groove or channel in a pre-drilled hole.

Index - Shifting machine parts to a different location relative to the original position.

Inner-diameter Operation - Any cutting process that occurs inside a cylindrical part, on the internal surface.





Lathe - A component of a machine that is used to cut cylindrical parts, the lathe holds the workpiece while the cutting tool proceeds.


Machine Motor - The actuator that drives and supplies the main source of power, located at the bottom of the lathe.

Mechanical Safety Clutch - A device that safeguards the machine and workers by disengaging the drive shaft from the motor, allowing the motor to run freely of the machine.

Multi-point Cutting Tool - A type of tool that is used in cutting operations, consisting of several points. Most often used in drilling.

Multiple-spindle Screw Machine - An automatic bar machine that consists of multiple spindles, allowing several workpieces to be cut at once.



OD Chamfering - A process used to construct an angled edge on a workpiece, performed on a lathe.

OD Threading - A process that is used to create a spiraled ridge along the external surface of the part.

Outer-diameter Operation - A term used to refer to any cutting operation that occurs on the external surface of a cylindrical part.




Radial Approach - A type of approach for a tool that is described as perpendicular to the axis of the part or workpiece.

Reaming - An operation that is used in order to smooth the internal surface of a hole, using a multi-point hole.



Screw Machine - The term used to refer to an automatic machine that continuously turns out finished parts from the bar stock. Also called the bar machine.

Setup - The total amount of time that is spent completing all tasks that are required to produce the first accurate part.

Single-point Cutting Tool - A type of tool that is used in cutting operations and only has one cutting edge.

Single-spindle Screw Machine - An automated screw machine with only one spindle which is responsible for rotating the bar stock while being cut.

Spindle - The component of a screw machine that is in charge of the rotating or spinning.

Swiss-type Single-spindle Screw Machine - A sophisticated lathe that involves a sliding headstock, fixed bushing and an automated turret.



Tailstock - A machine component that is responsible for supporting longer workpieces and is found at the end of the lathe, on the opposite end of the headstock.

Taper Turning - A process that is used to create a cone shape on a workpiece by feeding the piece at an angle.

Tapping - A process that is used to create internal threads in a part through the use of a multi-point tool piece.

Tolerance - The allowable amount that the finished product can differ from the original designs in specific dimensions.

Turning - A process that generates cylindrical parts with the use of a single-point cutting tool. The cutting tool makes passes along the piece, removing material as it goes, while the workpiece is being continuously rotated.

Turret - The part of the lathe that is solely responsible for holding the cutting tools and rotating to the correct cutting position.

Turret Lathe - A type of lathe that uses a turret to hold the cutting tool.





Vertical Turning Machine - A turning machine that is used for large and heavy parts due to its vertical rotation and the spindle is aligned perpendicular to the floor.



Workholder - A machine component that is responsible for locating and holding a workpiece in position.





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Automatic Bar Machining – capacity for parts from 1/16" to 2 5/8”
CNC Turning – CNC multi-axis machining centers for superior speed & flexibility
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Multi Spindle Machining - Davenport, Euro turn, New Britain & Acme Gridley
Screw Machine Products – precision components from a broad variety of materials & Equipment
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High Volume Machining – Specialized in machined parts exceeding 1,000 pieces up to millions of pieces for optimum efficiency
CNC Milling - Machining from bar stock, plate or block metal using up to 3 axis of motion
5 axis (11 axis) Machining – Multi Axis Multi spindle technology for completing complex parts efficiently in one operation. C=0 sampling plan & equipment versatility provide one stop shop capability for a variety of applications.

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Glossary of Screw Machine Terms

Commonly used terms in the screw machine product industry.