5 Advantages of 5-Axis Machining


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The advantages of five-axis machining are significant, and include saving time and money, among other things. But first, it’s important to know the design of a five-axis machine and how it works.
Just like a CNC machining center, a five-axis machine has three linear axes. However, five-axis machining centers have two additional rotary axes that can take one of two basic forms. One style uses rotary tables and the other style incorporates the rotary axes into the machine’s headstock and spindle.
In my research on five-axis machining, coincidentally I found five major benefits to this type of machining. First, and possibly most important, is the ability to machine complex shapes in a single setup, which saves time, cost and operator error.
Second, five-axis machining enables shorter cutting tools to be used since the head can be lowered towards the job and the cutter oriented towards the surface. As a result, higher cutting speed can be achieved, and the vibration of the tool is reduced.
Five-axis machining also offers the ability to machine extremely complex parts from solid that would otherwise have to be cast.
And this type of machining can also offer huge time savings in hole drilling. Drilling a series of holes with different compound angles is very time consuming. With a five-axis machine, the head can be oriented along the correct axis for each hole automatically, allowing drilling to be completed much more quickly.
Last, most manufacturers that specialize in making controls for five-axis machines can also provide a feature that makes it possible, even for a manual programmer, to program basic machining operations for angular surfaces.
For more information about applications for five-axis machining, read “Primary Applications for 5-Axis Machining." Other related articles include “Add 5-Axis Capability to a 3-Axis CNC Mill” and “Targeted 5-Axis Machining.”