CNC machining refers to the process of removing materials from various tools in the center of high-speed precision machine tools.
Five-axis machining is a machine that can move tools or parts on five different axes simultaneously. The basic machining operations are on three spindles, the X-axis, the Y-axis and the Z-axis; however, the five-axis CNC machining tool can rotate the other two axes, the a-axis and the B-axis, which gives the tool a multi-directional approach.
5-axis machining vs. 3+2 axis machining
Five-axis machining provides three linear axes and two rotary axes to work simultaneously to achieve complex surface machining. The 3+2 axis machining provides a 3-axis milling process with two additional shafts rotating the holding tool in a fixed position instead of repeating it during machining.
A five-axis machine can help you work in tighter tolerances to achieve complex geometries, while a 3+2 system allows you to maintain the position of your less complex parts, allowing for better access to features.
Advantages of five-axis machining
Five-axis machining helps cost-effectively create complex designs. The advantages of switching to 5-axis machining include:
Minimize settings
The 5-axis machine allows you to work on every surface except the clamping area and the bottom. When working with contour parts or parts that need to be machined in several faces, you need several sets of three-axis machines to achieve complex geometry by manual rotation; five-axis technology works in a single setup, reducing the number of settings, helping You save time.
Complex design
Additional motions with five-axis machining allow you to achieve complex shapes and designs. With a five-axis machine, you get machining angles and arcs that were previously only possible with a variety of settings and countless special fixtures. Ultimately, five-axis machining eliminates the need to create complex fixtures because you can hold a part and rotate it in a single process to achieve the desired geometry.
Rotation accuracy
Every time you remove a part from the machine, you lose the precise positioning that gives you high quality. Unlike three-axis machining, five-axis machining increases accuracy by allowing you to complete a task in a single setup and create multiple and complex shapes without losing the precision needed to maintain quality.
Faster material removal
In five-axis machining, the tool is tangential to the cutting surface, which saves machining cycles, so that more material can be removed each time the tool passes, saving costs.
Better surface decoration
The fourth and fifth axes help you position and bring the part closer to the tool, allowing you to use shorter tools that are less susceptible to vibration at extremely high cutting speeds, helping you achieve a better surface finish. It also saves you time; when using a three-axis machine, you must use very small cuts to achieve a good surface finish, which will result in a longer production cycle.
Strategy for maximizing benefits from five-axis machining
collect information
Get as much information as possible before deciding whether to apply triaxial or five-axis machining. Check the correctness and accuracy of the data you collect from your customers. Examine the parts carefully to determine if a pre-test is required to ensure accuracy. In addition, do a cost analysis to determine the best processing work.
Simulation software
Take advantage of your simulation software to verify any process before sending it from the CAD system to the machine to avoid conflicts. When working on a five-axis machine, it is difficult to see the point of impact; with this software, you can closely monitor the length of the tool, the interference of the tool and the size of the part.
Creative workpiece clamping
Rethink your workload using a method that eliminates setup and reduces processing; unique work load options give you more access to all aspects of that part. A creative approach can improve the production process and help you improve accuracy and overall product appearance.
Work and tools for five-axis machining, especially at high speeds. At the end of the process, the last part should leave the machine without using manual power.
Operating dynamics
When the work reaches the details of each part, run the dynamics to help you improve accuracy. Before entering an accurate application, run the dynamics to see the position of the tool’s end point relative to the axis.
With the changes in technology, the application of five-axis machining is increasing. Ultimately, your workload and production goals will determine the processing equipment you choose. Work closely with your customers to understand their expectations and choose the machines that meet their expectations.

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