5-axis or linear movement is a cost-effective way to cut materials, with accuracy and speed, and to create exact duplicate products. 5-axis machining offers unlimited possibilities as far as the individual machine parts are concerned and is ideal for CNC machinery applications. 5-axis describes the number of axes by which the cutting instrument can move.
In general, the term ‘5-axis’ refers only to the rotation and not the tracking of the operation. The rotation is usually performed on one axis simultaneously with the operation at different axes. Common examples of such a machine are the CNC router machines and the CNC lathes.
The term 5-axis means that the computer software program monitors and controls the machine while it is in operation. Each of the five axes has a corresponding program. The machine may be controlled via the keyboard, mouse, or other input devices. The 5-axis refers to this type of control.
The lathe is used primarily to make small round devices such as balls and beads. In fact, the CNC machining centers are designed especially for these small production pieces. While the round tools produced by a router machine are much smaller than the ones produced by 5-axis machines, they are still produced using the same method. The difference is that the round CNC machining centers are powered by a motor, while the five-axis machines use dies. The dies used by the CNC lathes and router machines are called solid oxide gas die (SOG) machines.
A CNC machine may also use additional programs to address the needs of the user, depending on the type of operation to be performed. The two most common extra axes for these types of CNC machines are the x-y and the z-y axes. With the x-y axis, the computer program controls the rotation of the y axis along the X axis. The z-y axis is used to make the same movements with the machine’s Z axis.
There are many types of CNC lathes and routers available in the market today. Some use the older four-axis technology, whereas others use the 5-axis technology. The newer five-axis CNC machines are much faster and more precise when compared with the old four-axis technology. Today, there are many manufacturers who offer a variety of CNC machines based on different types of functions and applications. Many users have their personal preferences, which is why there are many types of CNC machines available to address each user’s specific needs.