5 Axis Machining Center: The Axes

Posted on Jun 11, 2020

5 axis machining center

Everyone should know by now that in the initial stage of the development of a machining center, it is a multi-axis milling machine, usually three milling machines. When the time passed, we finally had a 5 axis machining center.

For decades, this particular type of machine has provided the market with very practical, fast, powerful, and agile manufacturing capabilities. It also provides a strong impetus for industrial manufacturers in industrial sectors around the world.

All these huge efforts are based on multiple motion axes, which allow tools and cutting to be achieved in different directions through synchronous control under the control of programming calculations based on computer numerical control systems. These five axes are usually X, Y and Z on the upper structure, plus A and B, or some can be A and C designed and installed on the lower structure of the 5 axis machining center.


What Is the Five Axes Structure?

Specifically, the first three axes are X, Y, and Z axes. It is usually designed, activated, and moved on the upper structure of the machining centers. They are the conventional milling structures we know when there is no machining center, and they were in the early 20th century. Another substructure contains two other axes, namely A and B, or some axes may be B and C or A and C axes. They are usually rotary tables, cradle beds, and other mechanical structures similar to the lower structure. They can be synchronized with the upper structure (X, Y, and Z axes).

In fact, since the trend of smart manufacturing has come, customers' order requests are usually small but numerous. However, because of the higher processing capacity and higher durability of the machining centers, it has become one of the most effective processing methods for metal processing solutions in modern industry. The 5 axis machining center evolved from its 3-axis ancestor, and it has been widely used in manufacturing for decades.

In recent years, machining centers have been designed to have at least three axes, namely x, y, and z. Similarly, for vertical and horizontal models, anyone can be equipped with other shafts, so that the machine has a 5-axis capability. By designing two additional axes on the rotary table, the x, y, and z axes can be moved to two new working dimensions, thereby enabling a possible cutting process at multiple angles.

In addition to what was mentioned in the first half of this article, five-axis CNC machines can perform many operations, which can also save a lot of workers time and improve their current processing procedures. There are different types of these machine centers that can meet the needs of the evolving manufacturing industry. The main difference from the 5 axis CNC machine is the arrangement of the rotary axis. The second type of 5-axis composition of the machining center is the swing head type, which alone can achieve most machining angles and is compared with other 5-axis compositions. This type of machine is considered to be the most convenient, a single shaking head can complete all tools in one workshop or station.

Read More: CNC 5 Axis Mill Will Boost Your Workshops Capabilities


Different Kind of Moving Axis

In addition to the swing head and the upper plus lower structure, there are four plus one type 5-axis machining center, which are reserved for the lower structure when the upper structure includes four moving axes. In other words, it is designed under the structure of a four-axis machine. Based on an additional axis, the metalworking operator provides an additional axis compared to the existing four axes. Technically, both vertical and horizontal models can be equipped with 5 axes.

Using a swing head, this 5 axis machining can achieve all machining angles. Swing head machines, other 4+1, and 3+2 machining centers are considered convenient, while the latter two types have a larger machining range. It has practical advantages such as great flexibility and practical price. Usually, the 3 + 2 type is a traditional CNC 3 axis machining center, plus another table with two axes, namely the A-axis and B-axis mounted on the lower structure. The mechanism contains the role of the other two axes, which is the case of the combination of motion axes.
Therefore, with the two axes designed on the rotary table, the x, y, and z axes can be moved to two new working dimensions, and thus the multiple angles of the possible cutting process are the same as the 4+1 structure. All these mechanisms are under the control of the computer numerical control unit, so that the synchronized action perfectly matches the target accuracy. In the field situation, if the workpiece size is too large, the processing will cause excessive vibration to the machine body, thereby reducing the accuracy of the machining center. Therefore, the manufacturer may add some other structural designs on the body to make it have better working ability.



In short, when it comes to processing convenience, it can be said that the 5-axis has greater mobility and freedom. Traditional milling machines or lathes can only perform some phase cutting. When they must cut the other side of the workpiece, they must be manually operated by the on-site operator. With the 5-axis machining capability, this kind of work can be done by the machine, which saves the enterprise owner more costs.


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