Why should you invest in 5-Axis?
About 20 years ago, shops were wondering why they should switch from manual mills to CNC. The scenario for investing in 5-axis CNC machining technology is similar. Those who didn’t switch to CNC eventually got left behind. With any business, investing in the latest technology is a requirement to stay on top and compete effectively. Today as many as 60 percent of the parts produced in CNC shops require five-sided machining. Often, there seems to be confusion due to the term “5-axis” machining center. Shops think they don’t have 5-axis CNC work. Every shop has work that would benefit from a 5-axis machine because a 5-axis machining center facilitates 5-sided machining. So, even if you don’t have simultaneous 5-axis work, such as impellers or turbines, the parts you are producing on your 3-axis machines will be more profitable when you use 5-sided machining on a 5-axis machining center.
3-axis CNC vs. 5-sided CNC
PARTS ON 3-AXIS MACHINING CENTER
- Multiple setups for each side of the part
- Increased setup time
- Decreased accuracy
PARTS ON 5-AXIS MACHINING CENTER
- Reduced setup time
- Increased accuracy
- Expanded shop capability for future work
5-sided CNC vs. Simultaneous 5-axis CNC
There are pros and cons to both 5-sided machining and Simultaneous 5-axis machining. Even though 5-axis machining is impressive to watch, it is slow. If you can create a part with 5-sided machining instead of simultaneous 5-axis, you should.
BENEFITS 5-SIDED (ALSO CALLED 3+2)
- Easy to program
- Cuts faster
- Fewer tool interference issues
- Excellent roughing strategy
BENEFITS SIMULTANEOUS 5-AXIS
- Better surface finish
- Longer tool life
- Allows tool to reach difficult places smoothly
It is no secret that simply moving away from the traditional 3-axis setup, for parts with multi-sided features, will inherently prove to create a more accurate part; because each time the part is flipped and relocated against a mechanical stop there is the possibility of mis-locating the workpiece, and allowing for inaccuracies in each step of the process. Read more…
Mold work is an instance where Simultaneous 5-axis is a worthwhile consideration, depending upon the mold. Manufacturing molds on a 3-axis machining center has limitations, especially for deep cavity molds or tall core molds.