3, 4, 5 Axis CNC Machine Differences

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CNC machining is the manufacture and processing of parts and products under computer control.

CNC machining involves the use of computer numerical control machines to shape and resize a piece of material by automatically removing the material. Usually, the material used is plastic or metal, and when the removal is complete, the finished product or product is already produced. In short, rapid prototyping.

This process is also known as subtractive manufacturing. In order to carry out CNC machining, computer applications are used to control the movement of the machine tool.

Common Types of CNC Machine Tool

CNC machining processes include the most common milling and turning, followed by grinding, EDM and so on.

1. Milling

Milling is the application of a rotating tool to the surface of the workpiece, moving along 3, 4 or 5 axes. Milling is basically the cutting or trimming of the workpiece, which can quickly process complex geometric shapes and precision parts from metal or thermoplastics.

2. Turning

Turning is the use of lathes to produce parts that contain cylindrical features. The workpiece rotates on the shaft and comes into contact with the precision turning tool to form circular edges, radial and axial holes, slots and grooves.

Compared with traditional manual machining, CNC machining speed is much faster. As long as the computer code is correct and in line with the design, the dimensional accuracy of the finished product is very high and the error is very small.

Numerical control manufacturing is an ideal rapid prototyping manufacturing method. It can also be used to manufacture end-use products and components, but is usually only cost-effective during short-term production runs in low batches.

Multi-axis CNC machining

CNC milling involves removing material using a rotary tool. Either the workpiece remains stationary and the tool moves onto the workpiece, or the workpiece enters the machine at a predetermined Angle. The more axes a machine has, the more complex the molding process is and the faster the speed is. To learn more about CNC machining, contact Dadesin Prototype.

3-axis CNC machining

Three-axis CNC milling is still one of the most popular and widely used machining processes. In 3-axis machining, the workpiece remains fixed and the rotary tool cuts along the x, y, and z axes. This is a relatively simple form of CNC machining that can manufacture products with simple structures. It is not suitable for processing complex geometrics or products with complex components.

Since cutting can only be done on three axes, the machining speed may also be slower than a four - or five-axis CNC, as the workpiece may need to be manually repositioned to obtain the desired shape.

4-axis CNC machining

In four axis CNC milling, the fourth axis is added to the motion of the cutting tool, allowing rotation around the X-axis. There are now four axes - the x axis, the y axis, the z axis and the a axis (rotating about the x axis). Most four-axis CNC machines also allow the workpiece to rotate, which is called the B-axis, so that the machine can act as both a milling machine and a lathe.

If you need to drill into the side of a part or the curved surface of a cylinder, 4-axis CNC machining is the way to go. It greatly speeds up the processing process and has high machining accuracy.

5-axis CNC machining

5-axis CNC machine has an additional rotating axis compared to four-axis CNC. The fifth axis is rotation around the Y-axis, also known as the B-axis. The workpiece can also be rotated on some machines, sometimes referred to as the B-axis or C-axis.

Due to the high versatility of 5-axis CNC machining, it is used to manufacture complex precision parts. For example, medical parts for artificial limbs or bones, aerospace parts, titanium parts, oil and gas machinery parts, military products, etc.

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