When the term ‘5 Axis’ is used in relation to CNC milling it refers to the ability of a CNC machine to move a part or tool in 5 different axes.  3 axis machining centres move a part in two directions (X and Y), and the tool moves up and down (Z).  In 5 axis machining the cutting tool/machine moves across the X, Y and Z linear axes in the conventional way but also rotates in the A and B axes to approach the workpiece from any direction.  This means that five sides of a part are processed in a single set up allowing complex parts to be manufactured in the most efficient and cost effective manner.

Diagrammatic representation of 5 Axis Technology

Advantages of using 5 axis technology versus conventional 3 axis machining include:-

Minimal set ups required

5 axis technology eliminates the multiple set ups required to re-position the workpiece at complex angles when using 3 axis machining.  This results in increased productivity and reduces the time and cost of preparing fixtures to hold the workpiece in place.  In addition, with multiple set ups in 3 axis machining there is always the possibility of incorrect alignment each time the part is moved.  Five axis machining requires minimal intervention and results in higher part accuracy.

Reduced requirement for fixtures and tools

5 axis machining minimises the requirement for fixtures because the part can be held once and rotated so that the geometry is created.  Fixtures are time consuming to design and build and when considered alongside a requirement for special tools and/or tool extensions can significantly increase the overall cost of production.

Superior surface finishes and better part quality

Another advantage of 5 axis machining is that it enables shorter cutting tools to be used since the head can be lowered towards the job and the cutter oriented towards the surface.  As a result higher cutting speeds can be achieved without putting excessive load on the cutter so extending tool life and reducing breakages.

The use of shorter cutters also reduces the tool vibration that can result when machining deep cores or cavities with 3 axis machines.  This results in a higher quality surface finish reducing or eliminating the need for time consuming hand finishing.

Black Milled Component

CNC Milled Component using 5 Axis Technology

Complex components machined at competitive prices

For businesses like us here at Presto Engineering our 5 axis machining capability means that we can be extremely competitive when quoting for your complex components.  We are always looking for new challenges so do upload your drawings and solid models here and we will get back to you with a quote.

If you would like further information on 5 axis machining or any other topic relating to CNC milling of aluminium machined components please get in touch at sales@prestoeng.co.uk or call us on 01865 883508 or contact us via the website.

For more information about Presto Engineering please visit our website here and if you would like a quote or to discuss a project with us please call us on 01865 883508 or e mail Julian at sales@prestoeng.co.uk.