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The difference between 3, 4 and 5 axis machining

Jiangsu Zhongzhi Automation Co.,Ltd | Updated: Jun 25 , 2019

Milling is an important technology for CNC precision machining, applied to medical, aerospace, optical, and mechanical components. Milling uses a rotating tool to remove material from the workpiece by feeding the workpiece at an angle to the tool axis. The milling machine has an axis that defines the type of workpiece and the position that is completed on the workpiece. So let’s take a look at 3, 4 and 5 axis machining, their differences, and the parts you choose.

What is 3-axis machining?
3-axis milling evolved from the practice of rotary boring, a milling process that operates on two axes, the X-axis and the Y-axis. In three-axis machining, when the cutting tool moves along the 3 axes, the workpiece remains stationary to mill the part. 3-axis machining is still one of the most widely used techniques for creating mechanical parts and can be used for automatic/interactive operations, milling slots, drilling and cutting sharp edges. Since 3-axis machining is performed on only 3 axes, it is relatively simple and allows material to be moved from back to front, side to side, and up and down in the 3 axes.

Three-axis machining is a basic machining process that requires multiple clamping.

4-axis machining What is 4-axis machining?
4-axis milling involves the same process involved in 3-axis machining where a cutting tool is used to remove material from the workpiece to produce the desired shape and contour. However, in the case of 4-axis machining, milling is performed on the additional shaft. The 4-axis CNC machine runs on the X-axis, Y-axis and Z-axis, just like a 3-axis machine, but it also includes a rotation around the X-axis, called the A-axis. This is the 4th axis added to our machining process. In most cases, the workpiece will rotate to allow cutting around the B-axis.

4-axis milling is useful when you need to make holes and cuts around the sides or around the part. They can provide fast and efficient work based on computer digital input to get accurate results.

What is 5-axis machining?
5-axis machining involves all axes of 4-axis machining with additional rotary axes. The 5-axis milling machine is the best CNC milling machine on the market, creating precise and complex parts for artificial bones, aerospace products, titanium parts, oil and gas mechanical parts, automotive molds, medical, construction and military products. The 5th axis of the 5-axis milling machine surrounds the B-axis and rotates around the Y-axis in the X-Y-Z plane. This multi-dimensional rotation and tool movement gives the B-axis unmatched precision, finish and speed in the production. 5-axis machining creates very complex parts, which is why it is important for advanced applications such as aerospace applications.

However, 5-axis machining has also become more popular, and the 5-axis is more suitable for profile machining. At the same time, with RTCP function, RTCP is the rotating tool center point, the tip point following function. Having this technology not only guarantees the processing accuracy in the process, but also brings benefits and value to customers.

Then you should choose which processing method for your project. It all depends on your unique requirements, budget and time. For professional advice, please consult our professional engineers to find the right product for your needs.

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