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General Turners

Woodworking with the CNC Turner

By Laguna Tools on April, 7 2020
CNC Turner


One of the hardest woodworking techniques to master by hand is turning. Commonly used for table and chair legs, this method allows the woodworker to create designs all around the piece. 

Here at Laguna Tools, we’ve made this process simple with our computerized wood lathe known as the CNC Turner.

In this article, you will learn everything there is to know about this machine including how to use it in your own woodworking studio.



When operating heavy-duty tools, it’s important to remember the dangers involved. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on the Machine Shop Safety website outlines a list of do’s and don’ts to ensure safety first.


Carving Designs

First, you will secure a woodblock by twisting the tailstock tightly into position. Next, you will use the USB key to load the program with the 3D design file into the machine’s system.

The CNC Turner uses a 1/8-inch ball-nose router bit to carve intricate designs into your wood pieces. With a cutting width of 1-1/2-inches, you can easily make the appropriate cuts in a single pass.

As the router bit passes over the woodblock, it will seamlessly carve out whatever design you have programmed into the machine. In one fell swoop, the cutter makes the turning process as easy as it can be.

Once the cutter reaches the end of the woodblock, it automatically rotates the block and sends the router bit back up the piece again to continue carving.


CNC Turner Capabilities

What do most woodworkers need in order to run an efficient woodworking shop? They need machines that are capable of running various functions. This is still the case for the CNC Turner.


Here are a few examples of the types of turnings that many woodworkers need:

• Simple Turnings - These are ideal for woodworking jobs that require multiples of the same exact design such as table and chair sets.

• Fluted Columns - These intricate pieces typically have fluted columns in the center with transition pieces on the ends.

• Six-Sided Legs - Conventionally wood lathes cannot produce six-sided legs, but the CNC Turner can easily create this hexagonal shape.

• Chair Banisters - These back pieces can be easily crafted on the CNC Turner, but not on a traditional wood lathe.

• Vertical Flourish - This is a decorative design that can be machined onto a corner post by the CNC Turner machine. Other intricate 3D designs can also be carved into posts using this machine.

• Ball and Claws Feet - This design is another example of what the CNC Turner can do that isn’t necessarily considered to be a turning.

• Taper Spiral - As a highly intricate design, this carving shows just how much creative freedom woodworker has using the CNC Turner machine.


No matter what design you have in mind, the CNC Turner machine makes it easy to accomplish. You can create anything from simplistic modern styles to intricate pieces with a unique twist.


How to Carve Wood Turning Designs with the CNC Turner

Using a software program such as Rhino 3D, you can generate the G code for your new design. As you develop the design, you will notice that each feature in the design is marked by lines.

Using the software program, you will also need to create a centerline for the machine to gauge the piece of wood properly and the profile of the design.

Revolve the profile around the centerline, and then you can view your new design in 3D to see if it is to your liking.

You can also add a tool path to simulate how the process will go once you get the design over onto the CNC Turner machine. Then, take your USB key and load the 3D file onto the machine’s system. Now, you’re ready to spin.


How Long Does the Turning Process Take?

A skilled woodworker who understands how the software program works can produce a turning design in about five minutes. However, the CNC Turner can take 30 minutes to two hours on average, depending on the piece you are carving.

What’s great about the CNC Turner machine is that you don’t have to spend two hours hard carving a piece of wood on a conventional wood lathe. You simply need to take five minutes to generate the design.

Once you tell the machine what to do, it will automatically produce the finished product. It will be working on the new piece while you’re busy with other tasks throughout the workshop.



CNC Turner Machines

Here at Laguna Tools, we offer a vast selection of woodworking machines to make your shop as efficient as possible. Our Turner Series of CNC wood lathes currently features two machines known as CNC Turner and Bat Master CNC Turner.

The original CNC Turner is efficient and budget-friendly. Running a 220-volt motor with a 3 horsepower liquid-cooled spindle, you can run long programs without the machine overheating. Similarly, the Bat Master CNC Turner also uses a 220-volt motor but with a 3.6 horsepower spindle.

If you want to learn more about our CNC Series machines or request a quote, get in touch with our experts today.


Learning with Laguna Tools

Since we are passionate about woodworking here at Laguna Tools, we love to share our expertise with other passionate woodworkers out there.

Even if you are a beginner, we encourage you to browse through our video library. In it, you will find numerous how-to videos about our products.

You can learn how to cut specific designs, set up machines on your own, proper maintenance, and so much more. To access our video library, click here.



We also offer other machines that can make woodworking much easier for you. Offering various classic, industrial, and automated machinery, our selection is one of the most expansive in the market.

We’ve got bandsaws, planers, sanders, table saws, dust collectors, and just about everything else you could possibly imagine.

Our goal is to help you build the best woodworking shop for your business. Our machines are an investment, and they will last a long time with proper care and maintenance.

To learn more about our products or to request any additional information about Laguna Tools, get in touch with our representatives or find a local distributor today.

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