The Ultimate Guide to 5 Axis CNC Machining

The Ultimate Guide to 5 Axis CNC Machining

The 5 axis machinery has transformed the manufacturing industry and boosted production quality and time efficiency in industries as varied as automotive and agriculture.

CNC Machining in aerospace is also being widely used because of the demand for high precision and accuracy. But how do 5 axis CNC machines work? What are the benefits to manufacturing, application of 5 axis machining, features of these machines? For answers to all these questions and more, check out our detailed guide on 5 axis CNC machining.

What Is a CNC Machine?

First, let us understand what a CNC machine is and how it works. CNC Machines use computers to control machine tools which are where is the term CNC-Computer Numerical Control comes from. The cutting operations conducted by a CNC machine are termed CNC machining. Numeric control is an important concept related to CNC machines. It refers to the automatic control of machine tools which range from welders and grinders to waterjet cutters and hydraulic press machines.

A 5 axis CNC machining uses a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) center to move five different axes simultaneously. Traditional machinery operates on three axes, but with 5 axis CNC machining, 2 extra rotational axes are added. With the multidirectional CNC machining approach, the cutting tool can cut a part from all directions, resulting in fewer errors.

The addition of the extra two axes allows 5 axis CNC machines to position the parts to the cutting tool in a more suitable position, with all 5 sides of a part being accessed simultaneously. In the case of CNC machines with 2 axes, parts might need to be repositioned for better results. In this way, CNC machining saves time and achieves better quality results.

Features of 5 Axis CNC Machining

Five Axis Machining

As already mentioned, 5 axis machining benefits machining through its five axis. This machining allows for simultaneous and innumerable spatial machining possibilities, especially useful for machining complex contours and shapes.

Flexibility of Machining

Five axis machining tasks usually involve spatial positioning, improving flexibility, and reducing the costs of using multiple tools. Five axis machining also results in improved quality of machined surfaces. For instance, in the case of machining an inclined surface, five axis positioning has the functionality of precise positioning so that the material is removed in a single step. Not only does this functionality create better materials in reduced time, but it also allows for more efficient use of tools.

Tool Guidance

Five axis machining comes with the option to guide the milling tool in five axes to change the angle of the tool along the milling path. The milling tool is guided in five axes to the component’s surface in five axis machining. This functionality allows for better cutting speed and cutting conditions and flexibility with geometric cutting requirements.

Reduced Machining Time and Better Surface Quality

The free geometrical orientation gives axis milling reduces machining times significantly. As five axis machining requires short and sturdy tools, the milling allows for better cutting values, higher cutting rates, and reduced vibrations on the tool cutting edge.

This, in turn, results in better surface quality and accuracy. The minimal vibrations also result in more stable machining, which reduces the number of tools needed and more stable processes, ultimately decreasing tool costs.

Better Cutting Speed

A 5 Axis CNC machine provides higher speed machining compared to standard machining. High-speed machining reduces process forces between the tool and the workpiece, minimizing heating and ultimately positively impacting surface quality and tool life.

Advantages of Using 5 Axis CNC Machines

Simple Setup

CNC machines are easy and simple to set up, reducing prep time and improving efficiency. CNC machines also involve a single setup process which reduces errors resulting from multiple setups involved in each machining stage.

Improve Accuracy

As mentioned, CNC machines are simple to set up and also involve fewer manual settings. This improves the accuracy of the final machining part. The 5 axis machines are also constructed with higher mechanical quality, which results in higher quality finishes and reduced vibrations.

Complex Designs

Complex designs, shapes, and contours can be more easily machined using 5 axis machining. Examples of complex parts that can be machined using 5 axis technology are injection molds, hydraulic systems parts, oil and gas equipment, etc.

What to Look For When Purchasing 5 Axis CNC Machines?

Application

One of the most important considerations when choosing a 5 axis machine to buy is the application. For example, one needs to know the cutting speeds needed for the machine and the type of spindle. Moreover, what material is intended to be machines? Will the material being machined be aluminum, titanium, or steel? The surface quality and accuracy that is desired will also impact the purchasing decision or the kind of machine that is bought. For a high degree of tolerance and durability, it is important to consider the machine’s construction.

Adequate CNC Processing Power

Ensure the processing power of the CNC control is high enough to compute, calculate and control the number of axis used simultaneously.

Spindle Heat and Cooling

Heat control management in the spindle and the frame is essential for any 5 axis CNC machine. Heat control helps with both longevity and also the accuracy of machined parts. The effective cooling mechanism is also a crucial consideration when purchasing a 5 axis machine as it will prevent overheating of the spindle during intensive machining work.

When choosing a 5-axis machine, consider one that comes with a cooling system that cools in sections and uses an oil jet bearing lubrication and cooling system. Compared to manufacturers that use grease packs or air oil-lubricated spindles, oil jet bearing lubrication provides more secured temperature conditions for bearings.

High Power

Work done by a 5 axis machine requires a high tolerance. The machine needs a rigid spindle and tool holder that removes vibrations for high-accuracy machining to succeed. Ensure that the tool holder system uses either BBT or HSK to eliminate vibrations. Further, the machine should provide an excellent connection between the spindle and the tool holder.

Collision Avoidance

When purchasing a 5 axis CNC machine, make sure to consider one that comes with collision avoidance systems as crashes can be majorly costly. As the 5 axis increases the possibility of crashes, buying a machine without a collision-avoidance system will cost the consumer both damaged parts and time wasted.

Customer Support

When purchasing a 5 axis machine, consider choosing one that comes with excellent customer support. A 5 axis machining requires operator training, support for technical service, available spare parts, and much more. Therefore, it helps to research and choose a company that provides all this.

Conclusion

The 5 Axis machining has revolutionised machining in aerospace, medical, automotive, oil, and gas industries. The demand for machining more complex contours and surfaces in the parts used in these industries means that 5 axis machining provides the best results.

The 5 Axis machining is also especially useful when more flexible engineering solutions are required for the job, which is provided by 5 axis machining’s ability to move parts in various axis. All in all and irrespective of industry or application, it can be concluded that 5 axis machining results in lower operational costs, precision in machining complex parts, high performance, accuracy, and reduced lead time.

Vincent Hua

Vincent Hua

Vincent Hua is the Marketing Manager at TSINFA. He is passionate about helping people understand high-end and complex manufacturing processes. Besides writing and contributing his insights, Vincent is very keen on technological innovation that helps build a highly precise and stable CNC Machinery.