The axes of that milling machine dictate the type of job and the areas where it can be used on the workpiece.
Here is a brief overview of 3, 4, 5, and 6-axis CNC machines along with their definitions:
3-axis machining involves the workpiece remaining still with only the cutting tool traversing along the three axes to mill the part.
Since 3-axis machining only operates on the three axes, the process becomes relatively simple and enables removing the material in these three axes described by back to front, side to side, and up and down.
The 3-axis milling has its limitations and thus cannot be used to design features on an angle to the X-Y-Z coordinate system, regardless of the feature being planar.
Applications of 3 axis CNC machine
- Automatic/interactive operation
- Drilling holes
- Milling slots
- Cutting sharp edges
The process involved in 4-axis milling is similar to the one involved in 3-axis machining, where a cutting tool removes material from a piece to construct the needed shape and profile.
However, with 4-axes machining, milling is performed on an additional axis besides the 3-axis of rotation.
Mostly, the workpiece will get rotated to facilitate the cutting process around the B-axis.
Applications of 4 axis CNC machine
4-axis machining is multifunctional and is considered optimal for:
- Engraving curved surfaces
- Intermittent cutting
- Continuous cutting
5-axis machining covers all the axes of 4-axis machining alongside yet another rotational axis.
This multidimensional rotation and tool movement facilitates an unprecedented precision, finish and speed on the B-axis during the construction of a piece.
5-axis machining offers the option for single-step machining (reducing lead time), boosting the convenience of access to the part geometry, and enhancing the tool life and process efficiency by having the table tilted for the optimal cutting position.
5-axis machining is beneficial when a great degree of intricacy and precision is required.
Applications of 5 axis CNC machine
- Feature accuracy
- Higher quality finishes
- Enhancing productivity
- Cutting intricacies in components
- Machining complicated shapes
You might like to read
The 6-axis machining process is similar to the 5-axis; however, it features an additional rotation axis about the Z-axis which can substantially boost speeds compared to 5-axis configurations.
A 6-axis machine has the potential of converting the raw metal bars into the final product by turning from both ends of the fixture with no flaws in the manufactured part.
6-axis CNC machines facilitate some arduous tasks such as drilling holes of various diameters and providing different speeds and cutting patterns.
The 6-axis machines are typically utilized for volume machining of steel, cast iron, aluminum, and model-making materials.
Applications of 6 axis CNC machine
This machining process is ideal for:
- Achieving the highest possible precision
- Fast and accurate speeds
- Reduced process time
- Manufacturing parts with the best level of intricacies
Difference Between 3, 4, 5, and 6-Axis CNC Machining
3, 4, 5-Axis Machining
The fundamental distinction between 3-axis, 4-axis, and 5-axis machining lies in the movement’s intricacy that both the cutting tool and the workpiece can move through, relative to each other.
The number of axes on a CNC machine measures the type of work that can be performed, the level of detailing in the final part, and the workpiece locations that can be manipulated.
The type of machine you should choose depends on your specific requirements, timeline, and budget.
Here are some notable differences:
The 6-axis CNC mill delivers high speeds without compromising accuracy. Besides the additional axis of freedom, specific tool movements accompanied by the tool’s transitions are more easily operable than any other machining process.
Multiple Operations in a Single Machine
6-axis milling machines let users carry out operations such as milling, facing, drilling, and turning on a single machine.
6-axis machines deliver the best surface finishes and quick cutting rates. This process also renders a smoother motor performance and offers enhanced control, acceleration, and deceleration in S-curves.
CNC machining is operationally beneficial across several manufacturing-intensive industries, with some notable advantages being enhanced product quality control, standardization, and higher precision.
CNC machining employs CAD technology to automate the cutting and shaping of parts.
About the Author: