Swiss screw machines or automatics are turning machines that use computerized numerical control (CNC) to machine high precision components. Swiss screw machines have a sliding headstock, guide bushings, and cross tools that can produce very small parts up to 1.250 in. diameter with consistently excellent surface finishes.
Swiss screw machines are a type of automatic or motion controlled lathe that performs very precise turning, lathing and machining of metal parts. Swiss screw machines use a sliding headstock that moves the feed stock past the cutting and facing tools during operation. The feed stock is held by a collet located in the sliding headstock and by a guide bushing. This keeps the feed stock from vibrating or bending and eliminates any play that might cause defects in the parts. The cross tools used in a Swiss screw machine are cam-controlled to move only in a straight line to and from the center of the feed stock. The cutting tools are arranged in a fan-like configuration around the guide bushing. The radial movement of the cross tools and the longitudinal movement of the sliding headstock allows a Swiss screw machine shop to produce very precise and intricate parts for use in small applications.
Swiss screw machines were originally developed to produce collets for watch balance springs, and today they are used to manufacture mathematically precise parts for aerospace, defense, and electronics applications. By using Swiss screw machining techniques, manufacturers can produce miniature screws, grommets and bobbins, contact pins for electronics components, and fasteners used in surgical and medical applications. An automatic screw machine can be fitted with a variety of headstock attachments to provide complete machining, including cutting the component from the feed stock without burrs. Multiple axes Swiss screw machines have the capability to perform rotary operations including cross-drilling, milling, and tapping.