Differences of 3 axis, 4 axis and 5 axis cnc machining
References to the axes used to describe CNC machines operating along multiple axis points. CNC machining is the process of removing material from the workpiece until the desired shape is created. These machines have at least 3 axes and operate along the XYZ plane: the X axis (vertical), the Y axis (horizontal) and the Z axis (depth). The 4th axis denotes the A axis (rotates around the X axis) and the 5th axis denotes the B axis (rotates around the Y axis). The number of axes on a CNC machine determines the type of work it can do, the level of detail that can be cut, and the position of the workpiece it can manipulate. So what does all this mean? Below provides a clearer explanation of the differences between 3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis CNC machines.
3 axis cnc machining
3-axis machining implies that the workpiece remains in the same position while the cutting tool works along the XYZ plane to cut the material. This is great for details that don’t require a lot of depth and small details inside. 3-axis machining is most commonly used to manufacture mechanical components and is best suited for:
Drill a hole
4 axis cnc machining
4-axis machining implies that the workpiece is processed in a similar way to the 3-axis machine, but there is an additional rotation around the X-axis, named A. This rotation allows the workpiece to be cut around the axis. B. This method is beneficial when holes or cuts need to be made on the sides of the workpiece. The addition of the fourth shaft (A-axis) allows the workpiece to be turned over automatically, so the machine can remove material from both sides. 4-axis machining is multifunctional and can be used for:
Curved surface engraving
5 axis cnc machining
5-axis machining implies that the workpiece can be automatically operated from five sides at the same time. In addition to automatic movements along the X, Y and Z axes, the 5-axis CNC machine can choose two of the three rotating axes (A, B, C) to use. The axes A, B and C perform 180 ° rotation around the X, Y, and Z axes respectively. This type of machining is used in the automotive, aerospace and shipbuilding industries. The preferred application is for extremely complex and rigid components, mostly from castings. 5-axis machining requires greater CNC programming preparation time to accommodate complex rotational movements, but allows one workpiece to be machined on all five sides in one operation. 5-axis machining benefits when parts require a lot of complexity and precision
Which technique is right for me?
Businesses with a high budget often choose a 5-axis or 4-axis CNC milling machine because of the ability to process many details complex. However, using either type of milling machine may not be necessary for some businesses. Therefore, businesses need to determine their goals, needs as well as budget.
In terms of machine price, users may find 3-axis milling machines cheaper than 5-axis or 4-axis milling machines. The 3-axis CNC milling machine also has a very simple size and shape. As with 5-axis or 4-axis milling machines, they will have slightly larger shapes and sizes.
In terms of technology, businesses should also consider cost, leadtime and quality for their final products to create optimal economic efficiency and still meet technical requirements.