Understand The Key Elements of CNC Machining Machines

Last Updated on October 6, 2023 by assistant

The production process of CNC machining is inseparable from precision machine tools, just like everything in the world is inseparable from the Creator. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the world of CNC machine tools. Take you through some of the key elements commonly found in CNC machine tools.

#1 Axis Configuration

How many axes does a CNC machine tool have?

Understanding the configuration of CNC machine tools is something you need to do when choosing CNC machining services. It affects the length of your production cycle. CNC (computer numerical control) machine tools can have varying numbers of axes, depending on the specific machine and its design. The most common types of CNC machine tools are three- and five-axis machines, but there are also two-, four- and even more-axis machines.

The following are common CNC machine tool configuration instructions
Two-Axis (2-Axis) CNC Machines: These machines typically have two linear axes, usually an X-axis and a Y-axis. They allow movement in both horizontal (X-axis) and vertical (Y-axis) directions. Two-axis machines are typically used for simpler operations such as surface milling or drilling.


Three-Axis (3-Axis) CNC Machine: A 3-axis machine tool is equipped with three linear axes: X, Y, and Z. They move the cutting tool in three dimensions, enabling horizontal, vertical and depth machining operation directions. Three-axis machine tools are widely used and can perform a variety of machining tasks.


Four-Axis (4-Axis) CNC Machines: Four-axis machines add an additional rotary axis to the X, Y, and Z linear axes. This additional axis is often called the A-axis. The A-axis allows the workpiece or cutting tool to rotate in a specific direction, usually perpendicular to the X-axis. Four-axis machine tools are often used for tasks such as indexing or machining cylinders or curved surfaces from multiple angles.


Five-Axis (5-Axis) CNC Machine: A five-axis machine has two additional axes of rotation in addition to the X, Y, and Z axes. These additional axes are often called the A-axis and B-axis. The A-axis rotates around the X-axis, and the B-axis rotates around the Y-axis. Simultaneous movement of these five axes allows for a greater range of motion and flexibility in machining operations. Five-axis machines can handle complex geometries and are able to machine parts from multiple angles, reducing the need for multiple setups and increasing machining efficiency.

In addition to these common configurations, there are also machines with six or more axes. These configurations are typically used in advanced applications such as multi-tasking machine tools that can perform turning, milling, and drilling operations in a single setup.

It’s worth noting that the number of axes in a CNC machine determines the types of operations it can perform and the complexity of the parts it can produce. The choice of machine configuration depends on the specific requirements of the machining task and the desired results. At Ruitai Platform, we are equipped with a variety of CNC equipment and machines, so if you need to perform part processing tasks, choosing us is definitely enough to meet your expectations.

#2 Axis Orientation

What is the direction of the z-axis on a CNC machine tool?

Only by understanding the axis direction of the CNC equipment can we control the operation of the CNC equipment in the future. If you are new to this industry, it is our duty to answer your questions about shafts. In CNC machines, the Z-axis usually refers to the vertical axis. It represents the up-and-down motion of the cutting tool or workpiece. The Z axis is perpendicular to the XY plane, which is formed by the horizontal X and Y axes.

When programming CNC machines, positive Z-axis movement is typically associated with moving the tool or workpiece upward and away from the machine base or table. Negative Z-axis motion, on the other hand, represents downward motion toward the machine base or table.

It is worth noting that the orientation of the axis may vary depending on machine design and configuration. However, in most CNC machines, the Z-axis is aligned with the vertical direction.


#3 Feed Rates

How fast do CNC machine tools work?

Almost every manufacturing customer who performs processing is concerned about the cycle length of producing parts. However, the speed at which a CNC machine tool operates can vary depending on a variety of factors, including the specific machine model, cutting parameters, materials being machined, and the complexity of the part. The speed of a CNC machine tool is typically measured in terms of feed rate, which represents the speed at which the cutting tool moves through the material being machined.

Feed rates are usually expressed in units such as inches per minute (IPM) or millimeters per minute (mm/min). The specific feed rates used in CNC machining can vary widely depending on the specific application, machine capabilities, and materials being machined. It is worth noting that different machining operations may require different feed rates.


Here are some general examples of CNC machine feed rates to help you understand the range
Roughing operations: Roughing operations involve removing excess material and the feed rate used may vary depending on the material and tool. As a guide, feed rates for roughing operations can range from 100 to 500 IPM (inches per minute) or 2,540 to 12,700 mm/min (millimeters per minute).

Finishing operations: The focus of finishing operations is on achieving high precision and surface quality. Feed rates are generally lower for finishing compared to roughing. As a guide, feed rates for finishing operations might range from 50 to 300 IPM or 1,270 to 7,620 mm/min.

High-Speed Machining (HSM): High-speed machining technology, often used on aluminum or other soft materials, allows for higher feed rates. HSM feed rates may range from 500 to 2,000 IPM or 12,700 to 50,800 mm/min, depending on the specific machine and cutting conditions.

It’s important to note that these examples are general guidelines only, and actual feed rates used in CNC machining can vary significantly based on the specific application, machine capabilities, cutting parameters, and machined materials. The optimal feed rate is determined by a balance of factors such as tool life, surface finish requirements, material properties, and machine tool performance.


Summary of this article

This comprehensive article takes an in-depth look at the world of CNC machine tools. It takes you through the various CNC machine and axis configurations commonly seen today and also lists some considerations for feed rates. It is worth mentioning that the world of CNC machining is colorful. If you want to know more about CNC machining issues, please continue to follow us. If you need CNC machining services, please contact us, upload your files, and we will provide you with a free quotation service. Thank you for reading.