Difference between 3 Axis and 5 Axis Machining

Last Updated on October 11, 2023 by assistant

CNC(computer numerical control) machining is one of the top-list choices for most companies to create high-precision prototypes. It produces the plastic and metal components by cutting the lumpy materials into the parts of a specific size.

At the same time, 3&5 axis machining are popular processing ways to create rapid prototypes. You might have trouble telling the difference between them. This passage aims at showing you detailed differences bewteen them.

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What is 3-axis machining?

Many machining services providers generally purchase 3-axis CNC machining machines as basic equipment. Compared to 5 axis machines, the cost of 3 axis CNC machining machines are comparatively economical.

During CNC machining, the professional operators will input the edited program into the computer and the 3-axis CNC machining machines would automatically run according to the programms. The CNC machining cutters would cut the materials along with the X, Y, and Z-axis while the lumpy material is fixed in one single position.

It can only cut one side of the materials each time. That’s why 3-axis machining is more suitable to machine the parts of geometries and simple structures.

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What is 5-axis machining?

As the name of the machine says, 5-axis machining machines run along with the axis of X, Y, Z, A, and B. It means that we do not need to remove the fixtures manually. Instead, the operators can operate the machines to cut the lumpy materials directly.

It can save much time to create the components with more complicated design and tight tolerance. That’s why 5-axis machining is among the industries of aerospace and automotive, which have more requirements for precision.

5 axis Machining

The main differences between 3 axis machining and 5 axis machining:

(1). The axis and cutters. The former one uses a 3 axis to work through the machining process. The latter one applies 5 axes to machine the materials. Compared to 3 axis CNC machining, the cutters of 5 axis CNC machining are shorter. They allow the cutters to cut the material as close as possible.

(2). The cost. If you get not have much budget and tolerance requirement on machining, 3 axis CNC machining would more economical and functional for you.

(3). Tolerance. The latter can create parts of more tight tolerance. We can’t apply 3 axis machining to create prototypes with the tolerance of ±0.002mm.

In the process of 5-axis machining, the steps of manual removal of workpieces are greatly reduced to avoid unnecessary errors. In addition, the cutting tool used by the 5-axis machine is shorter, and the workpiece is fully approached at different angles and cutting speeds. That’s why it can do high-precision cutting of workpieces with complex designs.

(4). Production speed. In 3&4 axis machining, machinists need to re-set and reorient multiple times to allow the cutting tool to approach the workpieces with precision.

Because of the addition of two axes (A and B axes), the 5-axis CNC machine reduces the number of steps to remove the workpieces and reorient the machined part during the machining process, but directly moves the spindle to allow the tool to precisely cut the part from all angles.

It speeds up production efficiency and reduces labor costs, and reduces re-orientation setup and increases machining accuracy.

What are the applications of 5 axis CNC machining?

Automobile: Through highly automated 5-axis machining, various auto parts can be produced. Common applications include: transmissions, lights, transaxles, and more.

Aviation: In the aerospace field, the required parts generally have complex geometric designs and strict surface requirements. And 5-axis machining can create aerospace parts with high precision requirements by machining parts in one set-up.

Medical: For medical equipment with small size and complex details, the requirements for precision are also very high. 5-axis machining can save time and effort and complete production with high efficiency.

-Precision Metal Manufacturing

Now, do you see the differences between the two? At Ruitai, we are capable of offering you 3-axis and 5-axis machining services. If you are any CNC machining guidance, Ruitai is always glad to support you.