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Rownd is a new CNC benchtop lathe with the ambitious goal of opening the door to “machining for everybody.”
The Rownd CNC lathe is said to be user-friendly and welcoming even to newcomers to the space.
From everything I’ve seen, it’s a machine for makers, artists, and maybe even engineers looking for a quiet, small, and affordable machine for prototyping parts.
A metal lathe is used for “turning” cylindrical parts – it can cut grooves, curves, tapers, and more.
Do you need a spacer? Shaft? Decorative foot? Knob? These are the kinds of things that can be produced on a lathe.
As with other types of machine technologies, a CNC lathe can more quickly, precisely, and easily cut shapes than by hand.
The main premise is that Rownd brings CNC lathe capabilities to anyone.
It has a relatively high-tech design, such as with smartphone-paired controls.
The Rownd lathe can also be controlled via computer or a wireless gaming control.
There’s a mounting point for adding attachments, such as an automatic tool changer, 4th axis spindle cutting tool, and a laser engraver.
Preorder Price: $4799 plus $250 for USA shipping
There are three main things to look at – the machine itself, the enclosure, and the CNC control aspect.
Machine: the lathe has an aluminum bed with steel gears and hardened linear guides.
They advertise an 800W spindle motor with variable speed control from 0 to 3,000 RPM.
It’s equipped with a 3-1/4″ 3-jaw chuck. The maximum workpiece size is said to be 6″ x 11-3/4″.
Rownd says the lathe works with 3/8″ max size tooling.
The machine measures 30″ wide x 17″ tall x 17″ deep. If we go by the metric measurements, the height and depth is 18″ x 18″. The total weight is said to be 110 lbs net or 145 lbs gross.
Rownd says the machine is “whisper quiet,” and they show it off with all of the chips neatly collected into an easy-to-clean container.
Controls: The user interface features a 7″ touch screen, WiFi, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity, and also gamepad or smartphone wireless controls.
Rownd published a chart showing comparison points between their CNC lathe, a Grizzly manual lathe, and Tormach’s CNC lathe.
I wonder why Rownd didn’t include Sherline or Taig in their comparison.
This looks to be a lightweight machine for makers who want to create precise cylindrical parts out of metal or plastic.
I’ve got questions.
Is it rigid?
How much handholding is there for newcomers to metalworking tools or CNC?
Where is the company based? From Kickstarter comments, Rownd is collaborating with Huss Engineering, a design and development company based in Turkey.
What will product support look like?
The lathe will ship equipped with a 3-1/2″ 3-jaw chuck. What if a user wants a 4-jaw chuck? What about a collet system?
Is there air cooling? What about cutting fluid or similar?
I think the project is very interesting. While the price (just over $5000 shipped to USA) seems high, there’s not a lot of competition in this space. There’s Taig, Sherline, which upgraded their hardware in recent years and added a Masso touch controller, and Tormach, although their lathe can’t easily be described as a benchtop machine.
There aren’t a lot of other options for under $10,000.
Some makers opt to add a 4th axis to rotate cylindrical work on a CNC router or lathe.
I’ll be watching Rownd’s crowdfunding campaign to see what early adopters think of the machine. The first machines are expected to ship in February 2024, just weeks away.