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Lathe turning speed various material
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Don't forget the published figures are for industrial machines and tooling. Depending what machine you have, the smaller, lighter home shop machines might not cope and need slowing down. I haven't bothered with published figures for many years, its what sounds right, looks right and feels right. What Rohart says in post 4 makes a lot of sense

Originally posted by kram350 View PostBig time novice here: I know there are specific speeds to turn or mill various materials. I usually turn and mill aluminum and steel. I have no speed read out so I guess based on finish and chip condition. I was thinking about getting a hand held tach to read RPM, but not sure how to convert to FPM which seems to be the standard for feed rates? Any advice on this? Thanks in advance
All you need is to know the motor speed, typically 1725 rpm or 3450 rpm in the US. Now for each belt setting, turn the motor (or the spindle, which ever is easier), and count the number of motor turns per spindle turn. Then divide the motor rpm by the motor turns you found, and you have rpm, as close as you need to know it.
If, for instance, the motor is 1725 rpm, and the number of turns was 4 1/2, the spindle speed is 1725/4.5 = 383 rpm. Call it 380, or even just 400, and you will be fine. Put those results for each setting on a chart kept by the machine, and you can choose a setting easily once you know the speed you need.
BTW, you can use any slower speed with most cutters. The slower the surface speed, the sharper the cutter wants to be, so the finish will often not be as good with carbide cutters at slow speeds, because carbide is often not very sharp.
If you have speed set via a knob and dial, as with many small import machines, a tach could be more useful. I think some of them go from slowest to fastest in one turn of the knob, so even labeling marks on the dial might be fairly inaccurate.Last edited by J Tiers; 04102018, 11:45 PM.
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There are lots of charts online that will tell you what the SFM should be for specific metals. The SFM ranges are quite broad. That's a good starting point. Printed out one of the charts and stuck it to the backsplash of the lathe and another to the column of the mill.
A handheld contact or optical tachometer is a great idea. Once you get the speed for each setting, you write them down and take the batteries out of the tach. You won't need it for a while.
Dan
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The formula above, RPM=(4xCS)/Dia. is the way to go. The number 4 in the formula comes from rounding off 12"/pi when we convert diameter measurement in inches to speed measured in feet per minute. As for the Cutting Speeds, a general rule of thumb is; 50fpm for the tough to cut things like hard tool steels, 75fpm for high alloy steels, 100fpm for mild steel, 150fpm for brass/bronze, and 200fpm for aluminum. This is for turning and milling operations. Cut the calculated rpm in half for drilling and one quarter for reaming. Note that these numbers are for using a HSS tool, and an approximate starting point only. You will need to adjust depending on machine and part rigidity, type of cutting fluid used, etc........ If you are using carbide then take the calculated feet per minute number and multiply by three.
It's not unusual for older machines to be lacking in spindle speed displays so if you can get an estimate with some sort of tach that's great. If the machine has step pulley speed adjustments then measure the diameters and chart out the speeds available. No matter what you do the machine will never have the exact speed required. That, and factoring in all the other variables is why these cutting speeds are approximates to be used as a starting point. Start with the calculated number, then find something close on the machine.Last edited by tom_d; 04102018, 11:39 PM.
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Originally posted by Brian H. View PostThe formula you need to know is this:
RPM = (4 x CS) / D
Where CS is the Cutting Speed, in Surface Feet per Minute, and D is the Diameter of your workpiece at the cutting tip (if doing lathe work), or the diameter of a milling cutter.
FPM = RPM * (Diameter inches) * (1 foot / 12 inches) * pi
Let pi = 3 then
FPM = RPM * (Diameter inches) * (3 foot / 12 inches) = RPM * (Diameter inches) * (1 foot / 4 inches) and if we get rid of units, replacing them with the symbols Brian H. used, this becomes:
FPM = RPM * D / 4
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Assuming you're using HSS  high speed steel, the kind you sharpen up yourself:
Ally  faster than you'd think; steel  slower than you'd think;
Small diameter  faster; large  slower;
Steel  coloured chips mean you're a bit fast.
With a carbide tool  three times as fast as with HSS and coloured chips are OK.
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The formula you need to know is this:
RPM = (4 x CS) / D
Where CS is the Cutting Speed, in Surface Feet per Minute, and D is the Diameter of your workpiece at the cutting tip (if doing lathe work), or the diameter of a milling cutter.
For example, if I were taking a modest roughing cut in mild steel (1018 or equivalent) where my lathe tool was positioned to cut a diameter of 1.25", I would pick a surface speed of maybe 150 SFM if using a high speed steel tool. Plug those numbers into the formula, and we get RPM = (4 x 150) / 1.25 = 480 RPM. Note that the SFM values given in reference books, like Machinery's Handbook, or in tooling manufacturers' catalogs are general suggestions and will vary depending on the material, the rigidity and power of your machine or setup, and the tool geometry.
To go the other way, from RPM to SFM, the formula becomes (RPM x D) / 4. Working from the previous example, we have a cut diameter of 1.25 and RPM of 480. (480 x 1.25) / 4 = 150 SFM.
Hope this helps!
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One could write a book on the subject... And in fact, people have! This is one of those broad questions that is almost too broad to cover in a forum. I'll start by suggesting that you find a copy of "Machinery's Handbook". This will be an invaluable resource, especially if you don't have internet in your shop. It has speed and feed tables for many different materials (my 1945 copy includes speed/feed tables for granite and frozen rubber, among more common stuff). It also has information on many other fields like fasteners, lubrication, bearings, strength of materials, how to calculate various things like FPM from RPM, etc.
As for that last bit, it's not too hard. Let's take a piece of steel rod in a lathe as an example. You know the RPM of the lathe. Now imagine a string wrapped around the circumference of the circle. If it doesn't overlap at all, how long would that string be if I laid it out flat? It would be the diameter of the rod times pi. During one revolution, that piece of string has come completely off the rod. So now you know that for every 1 revolution, the surface travels a distance of the diameter times pi. To get FPM, then, you just multiply RPM times the circumference:
FPM = RPM * Diameter x 3.1415926535
(Assuming, of course, that the length units are the same... i.e. to get feet per minute, you need the diameter measured in feet)
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Lathe turning speed various material
Big time novice here: I know there are specific speeds to turn or mill various materials. I usually turn and mill aluminum and steel. I have no speed read out so I guess based on finish and chip condition. I was thinking about getting a hand held tach to read RPM, but not sure how to convert to FPM which seems to be the standard for feed rates? Any advice on this? Thanks in advanceTags: None
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