What Makes CNC 5 Axis Machines So Amazing?

Posted on Jul 24, 2020

CNC 5 Axis Machines

The 5 axis machining industry is a fast growing industry. By 5-axis machines, people are generally referring to 5-axis machining centers, which is an advanced equipment that’s able to move a tool or part on five axes at the same time.

Five axis machining centers allow two extra rotary axes which opens up many machining possibilities. The rotary axes are defined by A, which rotates around the X-Axis. And B, which rotates around the Y-axis. And C, which rotates around the Z axis. The combination of more axes is a machine configuration that can come in any variation of AB, AC, or BC.

With the additional axes, your cutting heads can machine workpieces from all directions, enabling undercutting that only would be possible on lower axis machines if the part was re-fixtured in another machine. This is not only time consuming, it also opens the door for errors that are eliminated when using a 5-axis CNC machines.


Benefits of CNC 5 Axis Machines

There are numerous benefits that five axis machining offers. This depends on the review but the greatest benefit varies from workshops and individual to individual. To stick to the point of this page, we will be providing as complete of a list as possible.

● Cut Cycle Times with 5 Axis Machining: A common misunderstanding with 5-axis machining is that it is only effective to use with complex geometries that require advanced machining. Although this is a benefit of more axes, it is not the only one.A great deal of parts made in CNC shops required machining on 5-sides. Many 3 Axis machines may be able to do the job, 5 axis machining will do it both faster and more efficiently. In 3 axis machining, the cutting tool stays tangential to the surface you are cutting. More material is removed with each pass of the tool and the requirement for less set-ups result in saved time and saved cost.

● Improved Surface Finish: 5 axis capabilities on contoured geometry result in an improved surface finish. Five axis machining allows the parts orientation to be closer to the cutting tool. The fourth and fifth axis let the CNC shops use a short cutting tool that will vibrate less, resulting in an improved surface finish. 

Also with the improved surface finish relates to previously listed benefits that the more axes save you time. Long lead times are needed when machining with a 3-axis machine, as they require smaller cuts to create the same surface finish that can be offered on a 5-axis machine.

● Machining Complex Workpieces and Shapes: You might be the most competent and experienced 3 axis CNC machinist in the world, but some parts require all five axes. This is one of the most widely recognized benefits associated with 5 axis machines. Undercutting is made easy as the additional movements allow for machining arcs and angles that could only be done before with additional set-ups and special fixtures.

● Fewer Shop and Less Competition: It is important to include in the list but not every shop has a 5-axis machine. By having it your firm has the opportunity to deliver your customers something your competitors cannot, which at the end of the day is something everybody wants.

● Improved Accuracy and Tool Life: CNC 5-axis machining improves accuracy and precision by requiring less set-ups in one go. More set-ups means more tolerance stack issues and room for more errors. Some parts can even be done in a single set-up, dramatically reducing the risk of error. With shorter cutting tools comes longer tool life. Five axis machines allow the machine head to be closer to the surface of the tools. This allows for the use of a higher cutting speed which ultimately leads to a longer tool life as vibration is reduced.


Save Money with 5-Axis Machining

Adding to what we already mentioned, the most important benefit we are including here is saving money! In fact, all the benefits listed above are related to saving money. It is difficult to put an exact dollar value on all of these factors, but any experienced machinist can see the benefits, both near-term and long-term.

So in summary, by saving operators time, 5 axis machines save money. A better tool life means less tool replacements, and improved accuracy means higher yields. There are also many other things a 5-axis machine can save you money on including, reduced floor space, increased flexibility and spindle uptime. There is also less need for costly jigs and an overall lower inventory investment. Although a five axis machine is certainly a significant investment, the overall decrease in expenses combined with the other benefits make it a smart choice for many workshops.

Read More: Why You Need 5 Axis Machining Centers?


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