The number of directions in which the cutting tool may move is referred to as the "5-axis." The cutting tool on a 5-axis machining center travels across the X, Y, and Z linear axes as well as spins on the A and B axes to approach the workpiece from any direction. For example, the tool may be moved up and down along with side-to-side across the workpiece to create a three-dimensional shape.
There are two types of 5-axis machines: horizontal machining centers (HMCs) and vertical machining centers (VMCs). Both HMCs and VMCs have linear axes that lie in a common plane, but they differ in how they handle rotational movement. In an HMC, the spindle that holds the cutting tool can rotate around its own axis (the A axis), allowing it to approach the workpiece from any angle. An HMC can also spin the workpiece around another axis (the B axis), allowing the cutting tool to sculpt any surface onto the piece's face.
In a VMC, both the spindle and the workpiece are mounted on rotating turrets that can be positioned by operators along the Z axis. This allows the VMC to cut shapes into multiple parts simultaneously, while other tools on the same machine perform other operations on each part. VMCs are useful for manufacturing large components with complex shapes.
5-axis machining refers to a machine's capacity to operate a tool or a component in five separate axes at the same time. The three major axes of basic machining are X, Y, and Z. A 5-axis CNC machining tool, on the other hand, may spin two extra axes, A and B, giving the cutting tool a multidirectional approach. This ability allows the 5-axis CNC router to cut shapes in multiple directions simultaneously, which can reduce manufacturing costs by increasing output per unit time.
Five-axis machining was first introduced in 1995 by Mazak with the MSX-10. It was initially used to produce parts with complex surfaces such as domes and spherical caps. Since then, it has become standard practice in many industries including automotive, aerospace, and electronics.
In general, five-axis machining tools can be divided into two categories: fixed-base systems and mobile systems. In fixed-base systems, the table on which the part is mounted is fixed while the cutter head is moved relative to it. In mobile systems, both the table and the cutter head are moved during operation. Mobile systems are further divided into hybrid systems and full-hybrid systems. Hybrid systems combine some aspects of fixed-base and mobile systems. For example, they may have one or more stationary posts around which the bed rotates but which do not move with respect to the post itself. Full-hybrid systems replace all of the fixed posts with ones that rotate together with the table.
The five axes of 5-axis machining are x, y, z, a, and B. (or c). A 5-axis linkage machine is formed by the axes x, y, z, and a, C. It is appropriate for hook surface machining, unique shape machining, hollow machining, punching, oblique hole machining, and oblique cutting. While 5-sided machining resembles 3-axis machining, it uses the additional axes a and B to achieve greater positioning precision.
A 6-axis milling machine has all six axes: x, y, z, a, b, and C. It can perform complex shapes with high accuracy. A 7-axis milling machine adds axis D to accommodate rotation around the z-axis.
An 8-axis milling machine has all eight axes: x, y, z, a, b, c, d, and E. It can perform more complicated shapes than a 7-axis machine.
A 9-axis milling machine has all nine axes: x, y, z, a, b, c, d, e, and F. It can do even more complicated shapes than an 8-axis machine.
10-axis milling machines are available but they are not common. They have 10 linear axes and one rotational axis.
5-axis milling is commonly used in manufacturing because it allows greater freedom in designing the tool path than 3-axis milling while still achieving highly accurate parts.
The major distinction between 3-axis, 4-axis, and 5-axis machining is the degree of intricacy with which the workpiece and cutting tool may move relative to each other. The geometry of the finished machined item might be as complicated as the motion of the two sections. For example, a 4-axis machine can rotate its head while moving it forward or backward.
A 3-axis machine has an axial (vertical) feed but cannot rotate itself. Thus, the workpiece remains still while the cutter moves up and down to cut across its surface. The third dimension is left uncut. This type of machining is used for simple shapes that need to be cut from flat stock. Examples include parts for small appliances and home improvement items.
A 4-axis machine can rotate itself while moving in all three dimensions. This means that the cutter can approach any angle without leaving the workpiece. Thus, 4-axis machines can produce more intricate shapes than 3-axis machines. They are also useful for cutting materials such as wood and plastic, which tend to warp and split when cut with a rotating blade.
A 5-axis machine can rotate itself while moving in all five directions: up and down, back and forth, and laterally. Thus, it can produce complex shapes with no flat surfaces.
The Fundamentals of 5-Axis CNC Machining The use of a computer numerical control (CNC) to move cutting tools or components along five axes at the same time is known as 5-axis machining. The cutting tool travels constantly along all axes, ensuring that the tip is always perpendicular to the component. The user selects the path for each axis via a computer program.
5-axis milling is used primarily for shaping large components, while 5-axis grinding is used for fine tuning parts down to micron scales. Both processes can be used together on the same part if necessary. Milling and grinding both use abrasives to remove material from the component, but grinding is limited by its mechanical action. Thus, only shallow cuts can be made with this process.
5-axis machining is more complex than 4-axis machining because it requires knowledge of how to move tools in three dimensions. It also requires careful consideration of where to place holes or features in the part being machined. For example, if a hole is not placed properly, then the drill will exit the component through an area other than the one intended, causing a defect.
4-axis CNC machines were first developed in the 1980s and are still the most common type of machine used today. They have two linear axes (X and Y) and one rotary axis (Z). 4-axis machines can cut shapes that are only possible with 5-axis machines.