3 axis VS 4 axis VS 5 axis CNC Machining, what is the difference?

3 axis VS 4 axis VS 5 axis CNC Machining, what is the difference?

3 axis, 4 axes, 5 axis CNC machining, in our industry is often heard in the work of the noun, sounds very lofty, perhaps you also have some image, but the specific is what, some users may not be able to say.

For these kinds of CNC machining services, it is necessary to understand the general situation, for our work will also be of great benefit.

In general, the more degrees of freedom available, the more complex the geometry that can be produced.

What’s the difference between 3, 4, and 5? What are their strengths? Which products are suitable for processing? Let’s take a look.

  1. 3 axis CNC machining

3 axis CNC machining generally refers to three axes of linear motion in different directions: up and down, front and back, and left and right.

The 3 axes can only process one surface at a time, which is suitable for processing some disk parts, which is a limitation for many parts that need to process holes or grooves on multiple surfaces.

3 axis CNC milling remains one of the most popular and widely used machining processes, which can make products of simple structure. It is not suitable for machining products with complex geometry or parts.

Because cutting can only be done on 3 axes, the machining speed may also be slower than 4 – or 4-axis machining because of 4-axis CNC milling.

  1. 4 axis CNC machining

4-axis CNC machining is to add a rotation axis on the 3-axis, generally 360° horizontal plane rotation. But can not rotate at high speed, suitable for processing some box parts.

A 4-axis is added to the tool’s motion, allowing rotation about the X-axis. There are now 4 axes x, y, Z, and A. 

4-axis CNC machining is the best choice if drilling is required on the side of the part of the cylinder surface. The processing process is greatly accelerated, and the processing accuracy is high. 

  1. 5-axis CNC machining

5-axis CNC machining is an additional rotation above the 4-axis, generally 360° rotation of the vertical surface. The 5-axis can be fully processed, which can achieve clamping, reduce clamping cost and reduce scratches and bumps of the product.

5-axis machining means that the machine tool needs to be able to position and connect in 4-axis degrees of freedom when machining parts with complex geometry. Compared with 4-axis CNC milling, 5 axis CNC milling has a rotating axis. The 5-axis revolves around the Y-axis, also known as the B-axis. The workpiece can also be rotated on certain machines, sometimes referred to as the B or C axis. 5-axis machine tools can process different sides of the workpiece without changing the position of the workpiece on the machine, which can greatly improve the machining efficiency of prismatic parts.

Because of the high versatility of 4-axis CNC machining, it is used to manufacture complex precision parts. Such as medical parts, aerospace parts, titanium alloy parts, oil and gas machinery parts, and so on

3 axis VS 4 axis VS 5 axis CNC Machining, How to choose them?

Although 5-axis has a very prominent advantage over 4-axis and 3-axis, not all products are suitable for 5 axis machining, and those suitable for 3-axis processing may not be suitable for 5 axis machining. If the products that 3-axis can process can be processed by 5 axis machining, it will increase the cost and not necessarily have a good effect.

  1. Principle: axis 3 has XYZ axis, axis 4 has X, Y, Z axis, axis A, axis 5 has X, Y, Z, W, B or x, Y, Z, A, B axis.
  1. Machining characteristics:The tool direction remains unchanged throughout the cutting path for three-axis machining. Tip-cutting conditions cannot be perfect in real-time. For five-axis machining, tool orientation can be optimized while the tool moves in a straight line as it moves along the entire path. In this way, the optimal cutting condition can be maintained throughout the path. For four-axis machining, an axis of rotation is added to the three axes, which usually rotate 360° in the horizontal plane. But it can’t spin very fast. Suitable for processing some box parts.