5 Axis CNC Top 7 Benefits

Feb. 09, 2022

5 axis CNC Aluminum Al6061 metal ball


5 axis CNC machines are the pinnacle of milling machine sophistication. They're the most expensive machines to purchase, and due to the complex motions involved, even more cost is involved with the need for the most sophisticated 5 axis CAM packages available. Find out why they're worth it here.


#1 – 5-Axis CNC is Uber Cool!

5-Axis machining is often divided into two categories–Continuous or Simultaneous 5-Axis and 3 + 2 Machining. With 3 + 2 (sometimes called “5-Sided Machining”), the actual chip cutting is done just as with a 3-axis machine, and the other 2 axes are locked so they cannot move. 3 + 2 gives some, but not all, the benefits of Continuous 5-Axis Machining.

3 + 2 is easier to program, but Continous 5-Axis can have better surface finish, longer tool life, and can allow tools to reach difficult places more smoothly.

There are a number of different geometric configurations used to implement 5-axis motion.  Sometimes we rotate the part, sometimes we rotate the spindle, sometimes it's a combination.


#2 – Better Surface Finish = Less Manual Cleanup Work

No more little scallops when you use that flat bottom endmill. No more cleanup with elbow grease and abrasives. Shorter tools with less deflection means less chatter and better surface finishes. Sweet!


#3 – Reduced Machining Time with 5-Axis CNC

Okay, this is a little more like it–reduced machining time. What shop wouldn't want that benefit?

The time is reduced because a 5-axis machine can use a flat bottom endmill and by maintaining perpendicularity to the surface (there's a reason the tool or part swivels constantly in the video), you can use full diameter step-over instead of having to use little short stepovers more common to ballnose endmills. Those of you running very small stepovers to generate a nice smooth surface can really appreciate the savings in this.

Here's another advantage of 5-Axis that can reduce machining time–shorter tools. With a 5-axis, you can tilt the workpiece so shorter tools clear other features of the part. Shorter tools are more rigid, so you can machine faster without incurring excessive tool deflection, which is very bad for tool life.


#4 – Better Accuracy

Every time you change a setup, a little error will creep in. With fewer setups, or perhaps even just 1 setup, this source of error is eliminated.


#5 – Fewer Setups

When you can get at nearly every face of the part except for the very bottom, you have fewer setups needed. Another big savings for 5 axis CNC.


#6 – Less Competition

Not every shop is going to even have a 5 axis machine and the expertise needed to make it sing.  Having the only 5-Axis CNC capability in your region can give you a real leg up over the competition–it helps to have an edge! Just be sure the work in your area can benefit from it.


#7 – Machine Parts Not Otherwise Possible

Let's face it: something like the helmet wouldn't even be possible without 5 Axis CNC. Many parts that require a lot of undercutting will be much more difficult without 5 Axis CNC.


5 Axis CNC Machining Services

As a seasoned and specialist machine shop focused on CNC manufacturing for several years, XYT (www.xytmachinedparts.com) can provide precision 5 axis CNC machining services and 5 axis milling. 5 axis CNC machining services accomplish an angular resistance of two-thousandths of a degree (.002 °). Contact us now!

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