Posted On: February 17, 2020
The computer numeric control (CNC) machines have been around for several years now. They have increased the level of efficiency and precision in manufacturing processes. These machines are widely used across industries for creating simple and complex parts in different specifications. The machines are distinguished into three types— 3-, 4-, and 5-axis machines, based on their axis of movement. All CNC machines are designed to have at least three axes— X, Y, and Z. The 3-axis machine is the most common type of CNC machine. In 4-axis CNC machines, there is a fourth axis—A-axis—known to rotate around the X-axis, whereas in the case of 5-axis, there is a B axis that rotates around the Y-axis. There are three rotational axes— A, B, and C. Among these variants, the 5-axis CNC machining services has gained popularity in recent years.
What is 5-Axis Machining?
The term implies that a cutting tool can move in five directions at the same time. In addition to the X, Y, and Z axis, these machines can utilize any of the two rotational axis from A, B, and C. These are known as rotational axis because they rotate around X, Y, and Z axes in a semi-circle or more appropriately in a 180-degree angle. Owing to this rotational axes advantage, this type of machining is commonly preferred in industries, where complex machining is required.
A Few Takeaways of 5-Axis Machining
The following factors have contributed to the faster adoption of 5-axis machining across industries:
- Quick and Easy Setup:
As the cutting tool can be rotated in 5 axes, there is no need to take set up breaks in between. A user can work on all surfaces, except for the bottom and the clamping area. In the case of 3-axis machines, working on complex parts with several faces becomes difficult. However, with 5-axis machining it becomes easy because the entire job can be completed in a single set up. This helps machinists reduce hassles associated with intermittent setups and allow them to save time.
- Suited for Complex Shapes:
The 5 axes machine offers quick access to different machine arcs and angles that were earlier achieved through multiple setups and demanded additional fixtures. These machines reduce the need for additional fixtures, and multiple complex shapes can be created from a single setup, without losing quality, or precision.
- Improved Tool Cycle and Lifespan:
Unlike the 3-axis or 4-axis CNC machining, the collision between the cutting tool and the tool holder is minimal or zero in 5-axis CNC machining. This is achieved by tilting the cutting table or tool in one direction. Zero collision means improved tool lifetime and cycle. Tilting also helps to maintain the cutting position at optimum, and consistency in chip load.
- Improved Part Accuracy:
Over the years, precision has become one of the important requirements in various industries. As 5-axis CNC machines enable quick and fast movement of the cutting tool in all desired directions, there is no need to move the workpiece between different workstations. Once the part is drawn out of a machine, its precise alignment is lost, which compromises its accuracy. However, in the case of 5-axis CNC machining, the entire machining is completed in a single setup, which assures high part accuracy.
- Fast Material Removal:
During the 5-axis CNC machining, the cutting tool is kept tangential to the workpiece. This enables fast material removal and also allows users to save on tool times.
- Minimal Tool Vibrations:
Most advanced 5-axis CNC machines can support short length cutting tools, which help avoid tool vibrations. These short cutting tools are also proven to assure fast cutting speeds.
- Better Surface Finishes:
The fifth axis helps bring the part close to the cutting tool. It also guides short cutting tools to achieve a better surface finish. This allows CNC machine shops to achieve a good surface finish at short turnaround times.
Is that all? No, there are several advantages that you can realize by partnering with a trusted 5-axis CNC machining service provider. BDE, Inc. specializes in 3-, 4-, and 5-axis CNC machining. This CNC machine shop in Oregon has been helping clients across aerospace, medical, military, energy, and several other industries to improve their time-to-market and operational efficiencies with its advanced machining capabilities.
- Quick and Easy Setup:
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