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Turning basic tooling selection


Cast Iron
Dec 15, 2016
Hi all,

I will be buying my first (new) CNC lathe next week.
I'm a mill guy and need some insights on turning tools. I'm familiar with the basics but require some advice regarding tooling/must have tooling.
I do small series and one offs.

I'm thinking about Seco Jetstream holders. So coolant is always at the right place.
I prefer not to mess with coolant nozzles/tubes.

Left hand or right hand tooling on the turret?
Changing inserts upside down is a bit annoying I think. But better for chip removal and more solid?

For steel I think a negative rake holder would be best.
I read a discussion between CNMG and WNMG. CNMG go to for heavy roughing and you can use the sides of the inserts for a facing tool.
I'm not looking for max material removal. So WNMG is the best choice because I get 6 cutting edges?
Or is there any other insert shape that is better?

Boring bars/Drills
Any good size selection of boring bars to start off with? WNMG for steel/stainless?
Thinking about a 20mm insert drill (for example seco perfomax). And buying different sizes along the way.
Drilling smaller sizes with a insert tip drill?

I've read a lot of good experiences with the Iscar grooving/parting range.
I would need a parting tool (blade) to cut off parts from stock. But I see blades with cutting edges from 1 to 5 positions.
The idea that RH upside down inserts throw the chip down is complete garbage. Spindle rotation and coolant tends to fling a LOT of them at the door. Wouldn't do that if it was going the other way...
The real problem is all the drills are made backward... so the only reason I run mostly RH tooling is so I don't have to reverse spindle to drill.

I get 8 cutting edges out of my CNMG's and 4 out of my CCMT's but note everyone can/wants to run that 110° edge but man can it rough material cheap, just can't get to the corner.
Most of my turning is done with positive insets though.

As to through tool coolant holders, coolant pressure will matter, if you only got 50-60psi that little hole likely won't deliver much. Same with the drills. I have 145psi and sometimes wish I had more but it gets the job done, but it can also cause foaming issues, best setup would be a low pressure pump for flood coolant and then a higher pressure pump for the drilling and through tools. If I ever buy another one I'll go with that and maybe 300psi or so.

a 1" parting/grooving blade does pretty much all I need for grooving/parting on the cnc, most of my work doesn't get parted to center in the cnc. Still haven't used the coolant through sandvik QD blade I bought 5 years ago.

For insert drills I mostly use sandvik 880's and DS20's, they usualy go on sale in september 50% for the body. But when the Korloy King drills go on sale, they're a really, really good deal and work really well too. There's just not as much selection for length/sizes.

I bought a few too many holders/tools/jaws when I ordered my CNC's that are still sitting unused and may never get used, tried to plan for everything but should have just got a few basic things and added as needed later on.
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At minimum I would get some OD turning holders--CNMG 43x, DNMG 43x and VNMG 33x, 1.5" OD CNMG 43x boring bar, 3/8", 1/2", 3/4" carbide TPGM boring bars, three straight shank collet holders to hold twist drills and small boring bars, Top Notch OD holder for grooving and threading inserts, and a few insert drills sized from .970" to 1.5".

WNMG inserts have their place but I don't use them anymore.
As stated above, you cannot go wrong with CNMG 43X, the MCLNR that uses the unused 100° corners of the CNMG insert.

Also may want to pick up these OD stick tools for general turning/ finishing:
VNMG 33x
Parting tool/blade.
Top notch threading / grooving

Boring bars: (You may want to standardize on insert sizes/ shapes)
1/4" Carbide
3/8" C
1/2" C
3/4" C
3/4" Steel
1" S
1.25" S
Ø1.5" S

Straight shank collet holders:
Ø3/4 ER16
Ø1" ER20
Ø1" ER32
Ø1.5" ER40

Since you run mills, you probably already know what insert drills you have / need.