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When Do You Actually Need 5-Axis Machining?

5-axis routingFive-axis CNC machining sounds pretty cool. But since you’re practical, you won’t get a CNC machine with that capability unless you need it.

When would that be?

Check out a few situations:

You Have an Unusually-Shaped Workpiece

Sometimes, you get production orders that are out of the norm. A customer needs a part that’s not shaped like the others they’ve ordered in the past. If you do complex manufacturing for aerospace, you may find yourself routinely getting these kinds of orders.

And that’s where 5-axis machining makes sense.

You Want to Reduce Lead Time and Increase Efficiency

The CNC industry is pushing toward single-setup machining. It makes sense because it offers you significant business benefits.

What if you could replace multiple machines with just a single one? That makes obvious sense. In addition, it saves you mental frustration and hassle.

In addition, you may uncover hidden profit streams. For example, a customer asks you to manufacture fishing reels. In the past, this took you three machines. So, you told them you couldn’t help them with that because it wasn’t profitable. Now, with just a single setup, you can make that profitable.

So, you now have access to a profit center you didn’t before.

You Want to Improve the Quality and Accuracy of Your Part

Because you eliminate multiple setups with five-axis machining, you improve accuracy as you use different features of your machine. In the past, you would have had to set up various features and tools multiple times. While you might be pretty accurate, you won’t be as consistently accurate as you would be with maintaining a single setup.

You Want Greater Speed Than 3+2 Axis Machining

With 3+2 axis machining, each reorientation of the tool requires stopping and starting. 5-axis machining does not need this.

You’ll get similar quality results with both kinds of machining. But, you’ll get more speed with 5-axis machining. It’s a little more difficult to execute, and it leads to additional wear-and-tear on your machine, but the pros outweigh the cons.

5-axis machining definitely makes sense. You simply have to make sure you know when to use it. And with these tips, you know exactly that.


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