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Understanding the Basics of 5-axis CNC Machining

by Joseph Mireles

Most garage-dwelling makers know what a CNC router is. But the best 5-axis CNC machine is a new treasure of discoveries. Commonly known as CNC, computer numerical control is a term often used to refer to a viable system where the tool head moved along different predetermined paths in order to accomplish certain tasks, such as cutting, printing, and milling.  So what is the 5-axis CNC machining?

In different maker communities, CNC is usually used to refer to the process that involves a spindle as the tool head. But, you should note that a CNC machine can be useful for other projects other than milling.

As far as this blog post is concerned, the CNC milling process refers to cutting a tool systematically while removing the material to produce final geometry.

In a subtractive process, the computer handles the viable conversion of a CAD design into different coordinates, which are often turned into various instructions applied by the cutting tool in order to remove some material and hen help reveal the end-product.

Demystifying the 5-axis CNC Machining

A CNC milling machine with five axes is an advanced variant of the regular milling machine, where the cutting tool moves along about five axes concurrently.

The freedom of motion propels the production of complex geometries.  A regular 3-axis CNC machine cannot really move the spindle in a way that can produce the partial cavities as well as overhangs. That is, without the manual adjustment of the material, the whole process.

Common milling materials

· Carbon fiber

· Titanium

· Wood

Since it has the ability to design and create complex parts from durable materials, the 5-axis CNC machine has become a common prototyping solution in the aerospace sector, which needs intricate parts with exceptional strength.  There are two primary

5-Axes in the 3-Axis World

There are two primary mechanical ways with which milling machines can achieve their strength.

· The swivel tool head

· Moving the table as well as the block of material

All too often, the swivel head machines can move around the tool head and around the block of the material in order to penetrate tight spaces from a variety of angles.

One primary benefit of the method is that a heavier object can easily be machined since the block remains stationary throughout the process.

At the same time, the CNC machines that often move on the working table, known as trunnions, achieve their two axes of freedom through a rotating table where the material has been placed.

The advantages of this approach include stability and speed, even though all other objects are substantial and heavy such that they cannot be rotated in the same fashion.

Complexities of the 5- axis machine

Even so, 5-axis CNC milling comes with some complications, especially when a user is in the process of milling things.

For example, there is a definitive distinction between the two primary approaches used in achieving 5-axis cutting abilities.

They are such as the continuous method, as well as the 3+2 axis method.  These names somehow give away the definitions.

The 5-axis machining involves the progressive adjustment of the cutting tool on the axes to ensure that the top of the machine is perpendicular to the surface.

Final Thoughts

The future of the 5-axis machining will have a block of raw materials placed in the machine and then a complete production-ready part removed later in the day. Currently, machined parts still need processing after cutting is complete.

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