The present invention provides a variable reluctance actuator system and method that can be adapted for simultaneous rotation and translation of a moving element by applying a normal-direction magnetic flux on the moving element. In a beneficial example arrangement, the moving element includes a swing arm that carries a cutting tool at a set radius from an axis of rotation so as to produce a rotary fast tool servo that provides a tool motion in a direction substantially parallel to the surface-normal of a workpiece at the point of contact between the cutting tool and workpiece. An actuator rotates a swing arm such that a cutting tool moves toward and away from a mounted rotating workpiece in a controlled manner in order to machine the workpiece. Position sensors provide rotation and displacement information for a swing arm to a control system. A control system commands and coordinates motion of the fast tool servo with the motion of a spindle, rotating table, cross-feed slide, and in feed slide of a precision lathe.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.