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The Dynamic Duo: How Sub-Spindles and Live Tooling Are Transforming Precision Manufacturing

By April 17, 2023April 19th, 2023Blog

Explore the revolutionary impact of sub-spindles and live tooling technology on small turning and precision manufacturing


In the ever-evolving world of manufacturing, advancements in technology play a critical role in shaping the industry’s future.  As production demands continue to grow, manufacturers must constantly adapt and innovate to stay competitive. Within the realm of precision machining, two groundbreaking innovations—sub-spindles and live tooling—have significantly evolved since their emergence in the early 90s. Over time, these technologies have made remarkable advancements in precision, versatility, speed, control, and reliability, rendering them indispensable in contemporary manufacturing processes. Machining Concepts has positioned itself at the forefront of this technological revolution by investing in state-of-the-art CNC machines equipped with sub-spindles and live tooling capabilities.

Sub-spindles and live tooling have transformed the machining of complex parts, dramatically reducing cycle times and boosting overall productivity. By facilitating simultaneous machining operations and minimizing manual intervention, these cutting-edge technologies have elevated precision manufacturing to unprecedented heights.

In this blog post, we will explore the benefits and capabilities of sub-spindles and live tooling, delving into their transformative impact on precision machining. We will examine how these advanced technologies enable manufacturers to achieve greater efficiency, accuracy, and versatility in their production processes, and how they continue to shape the future of the manufacturing industry.

Sub-Spindles: Enhancing Efficiency and Precision

Sub-spindles, have become an indispensable part of modern CNC lathes, offering a wide range of benefits for small turning applications. These secondary spindles, positioned opposite the main spindle, allow for simultaneous operations, resulting in significant improvements in productivity and precision. The key advantages of sub-spindles include:

  1. Multi-tasking capabilities: Sub-spindles enable the execution of multiple machining processes concurrently, such as turning, drilling, and milling, ultimately reducing cycle times for complex components.
  2. Streamlined production: By allowing for continuous machining without the need for repositioning or manual intervention, sub-spindles minimize the potential for human error, ensuring consistent quality and improved efficiency.
  3. Reduced setup times: By performing various operations on a single machine, sub-spindles eliminate the need for multiple setups, further increasing productivity and reducing lead times.
  4. Enhanced precision: Sub-spindles facilitate the machining of intricate features on workpieces with exceptional accuracy, resulting in higher-quality end products.

Live Tooling: Expanding Capabilities and Versatility

Live tooling, another groundbreaking innovation in precision machining, refers to rotary tools mounted on the turret of a CNC lathe that are driven by a servo motor. This innovative technology allows for a range of milling, drilling, and tapping operations to be performed on the workpiece while it remains in the lathe, significantly expanding the scope of operations possible within a single setup. The advantages of live tooling include:

  1. Versatility and flexibility: Live tooling enables the execution of a wide variety of operations on a single machine, streamlining the production process and reducing part handling.
  2. Improved accuracy and consistency: By minimizing the number of setups and part transfers, live tooling helps maintain tighter tolerances and ensures the production of more accurate and consistent components.
  3. Increased productivity: The combination of live tooling with sub-spindles creates a highly efficient production environment, enabling the faster and more cost-effective manufacturing of complex parts.
  4. Optimized workflow: Live tooling simplifies and consolidates production processes, reducing floor space requirements and minimizing setup time, leading to a more efficient and organized workflow.


At Machining Concepts, we pride ourselves on our commitment to quality and innovation. By incorporating sub-spindles and live tooling into our CNC lathes, we can deliver high-quality, precision-turned components with shorter lead times and reduced costs. With our advanced machining capabilities and industry certifications, we are well-equipped to meet the unique demands of a diverse range of industries. Contact us today to learn more about how our cutting-edge technology can benefit your next project.

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