Precision Military Components Made with CNC Swiss Lathes

The defense industry has long driven -and been driven by- Research and Development.  Modern militaries have capabilities even Q couldn’t dream up for James Bond.  Seeing through walls, shooting around corners, and 20/20 night vision are moving into standard military use.  Breakthroughs come consistently in drone technology, weapons guidance, and disruptive technologies like sound-based weapons and “invisibility”.  Much of these technologies hinge on the incredibly precise interpretation of various signals, and that calls for precision-machined components like nothing the world has known before.  Many of those components can only be produced on the most remarkable machine in the CNC shop -the Swiss turning machine.

A Brief History of Time

Also known as Swiss lathes, Swiss turning machines were originally developed by a Swiss watchmaker in the 1800s to manufacture the almost microscopic screws and other components for watch movements.  These hand-cranked machines weren’t designed for speed, but they delivered levels of precision never seen before.  That kind of precision has only improved, and as you might expect, the speed is just a tad better now.

Smarter And Better

Here at Macfab, we’re quite proud to have recently added to our arsenal of Swiss turning machines.  The work we do in the defense industry gets more challenging all the time.  There’s been a trend toward improving the information available in the field.  If they can learn the precise location and surroundings of a target, they can best decide how to deal with the target while avoiding collateral damage.

Military actions have become quite smart.  Anti-missile technology was long considered impossible but now is deployed routinely.  Even a few years ago, directed energy weapons were a pipe dream.  Today soldiers can disrupt incoming drones kilometers away and bring them down safely without firing a projectile.  These groundbreaking technologies often depend on parts machined in Swiss turning machines.

Thinking Small is a Big Job

Swiss turning machines work by overcoming one crucial problem when shaping materials.  Very small raw stock is difficult to hold and even harder to hold rigidly.  Swiss turning machines best this by feeding the stock through the center of a chuck that can both spin and feed the stock in and out as needed.  The shaping tools are held within a few millimeters of the chuck, and work on the stock as it comes out.  The tiny distances prevent the stock from vibrating as it’s shaped.  The result is fine parts sometimes smaller than grains of sand.

Miniaturization allows us to produce components to help fighter jets fly in ways jets have never flown before.  It is allowing for the development of self-guiding bullets.  Positioning that is critical enough to be affected by the speed of light is allowing the development of abilities to watch individuals through solid walls.

Macfab is very proud of the work we’ve done with the defense industry.  The work is always very challenging.  That’s why we always maintain state-of-the-art Swiss turning machines and invest regularly in the continuing training of our operators.  If you’re working on defense industry projects, Macfab can meet all of the machining requirements, along with all of the testing and documentation protocols.  As a one-stop shop with a long history of this kind of work, let us show you what we can accomplish for you.


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