What is it? A 5 Axis CNC Machine Explained

A 5 axis CNC machine is a manufacturing design and process that allows multiple tools that move in several different ways to combine together in order to manufacture complex parts or goods. Multi-axis machines can vary the amount of axes that they have, with anything from 4 to 9 axes currently available on the market.

By using CNC (computer numerical control) tools, a 5 axis CNC machine is able to produce parts by either laser cutting or water jet cutting material, or by milling away the excess material in order to leave a completed product. A 5 axis CNC machine can be used to cut practically any material that is able to be cut with other manufacturing machines and provides an array of advantages over both the manual machines and those with a fewer number of axes.

Improvements over single axis CNC tools

While single axis CNC tools may be sufficient for certain manufacturing jobs, multi-axis machines offer a number of improvements over their single axis counterparts. Allowing an increased level of complexity and intricacy, the 5 axis CNC machine is able to further reduce the amount of man hours that are needed to produce the parts or goods, while also allowing a smoother and cleaner finish, as the tool can move more freely in different directions. Having multiple axes also allows the machine to work without having to manually adjust the material on the machine in order to change its cutting position.

Computer aided manufacturing and computer aided design

One of the key elements of the 5 axis CNC machine, and other multi-axis systems, is the use of computer aided manufacturing (CAM) and computer aided design (CAD). By utilizing these computer software programmes, you are able to design a complex set of instructions that can be easily repeated to create duplicate parts and goods with far more productivity.

The different usages of a 5 axis CNC machine

If you are going to invest in a 5 axis CNC machine, and it can quite a considerable investment, then you want to be sure you are really going to require it in the long term. Having more advanced functions such as being able to cut from multiple angles simultaneously is a great tool to have and can save a lot of time, but is it really required for your business? It may be that outsourcing some of the more complicated and intricate work to a company who already has a 5 axis CNC machine may be the best option, as they will have all of the necessary expertise required to operate it.

In summary

Investing in a 5 axis CNC machine is not a step that should be taken lightly, but if your business is going to be using it frequently then it could end up making a huge difference to your efficiency, productivity and most importantly to your bottom line profit.  Rather than buying one for yourself, there are a number of businesses out there specializing in this type of manufacturing that are well worth your consideration.