The concept of the lathe is centuries old. Since the time of the ancient Egyptians, craftsmen have shaped wood into a variety of things, from table legs to goblets. And at the heart of the lathe was a tool people use to this day: the spindle.
But today’s spindles aren’t bound to a hand-operated lathe. They’re powered by far more sophisticated technology that allows them to create even more refined materials. Understanding what CNC spindles are and when to use them will allow us to better appreciate their role in modern manufacturing.
What Are Spindles?
If you’re involved in the textile field (or have ever read a fairy tale), the word spindle may conjure up images of a wooden spinning device used to spin wool into thread. But a spindle in our context refers to a pin or rod that revolves on an axis at high speeds. Manufacturers use spindles to cut, engrave, shape, and refine materials.
What Are CNC Spindles?
As we said, in the old days, spindles were attached to simpler machines. These days, we need greater power, speed, and precision. To achieve this, modern spindles are powered with computer numerical control, or CNC.
CNC machinery utilizes a closed-loop system. Operators can enter a complex system of commands into the control panel that the spindle will carry out using a powerful motor. The spindle also uses an encoder that sends feedback back to the rest of the system. That way, the tool can adjust itself for greater precision.
Applications for CNC Spindles
Once you have an understanding of what CNC spindles are and what they can do, it’s easy to see how one might utilize them for a variety of applications. Any industry that needs a powerful shaping tool can use this device. For instance:
Of course, one wouldn’t use the same spindle to create parts for a car engine that they would for cell phone parts. Different spindles have different types of motors depending on their purpose. Manufacturers must be intentional about which spindle motor they choose for their operations.
The spindle may be old technology, but it’s far from outdated. CNC machinery is proof that we can continue to adapt technology to meet the needs of a modern world.