5-Axis Machining Explained

At Redline CNC, we offer 5-axis CNC machining, one of the most innovative developments in modern component manufacturing. Competitive engineering depends on being able to produce high-quality, accurate products rapidly, so 5-axis CNC machining puts speed and precision at the core.


But what is 5-axis machining and what are the benefits?

5-Axis Machining: Explained

In 5-axis machining, cutting tools are moved simultaneously along five axes under the control of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) software. The cutting tool moves along each axis with the tip perpendicular to the part, so that very complex designs can be created.

With traditional 3-axis CNC machining, the machine moves in three ways: along the X-axis horizontally, along the Y-axis vertically, and forwards and backwards on the Z-axis. With 5-axis machining, two additional axes are added: table rotation (C-axis) and the tilting table (A-axis).

Two main configurations are possible, adding more flexibility to the CNC process:

  • Swivel-rotate style: by rotating the spindle, these machines utilise the rotary axes, which is most suited for machining heavier parts as the table is always horizontal.
  • Trunnion style: with moving tables, these machines are ideal for machining large volumes as no space is occupied by a spindle.

Which machine is used depends on different factors, such as the weight of the parts and the required number of finished products.

5-Axis Machining: The Benefits

The key benefits of 5-axis machining include:

Quicker Setup
Unlike 3-axis machines which need multiple setups – leading to misalignments and increased costs – 5-axis machining can be prepared quickly, with only one setup necessary even for complex shapes. In fact, you can mill an almost infinite number of angles in one setup!

Shorter Cutting Tools
As the head can be lowered and the cutter orientated as required, 5-axis machining can achieve a faster cutting speed while minimising pressure on the cutter. Vibration is also reduced, so instead of cavities appearing on the surface of the product, a smoother finish will be achieved.

Longer Tool Life
An optimum cutting position reduces cycle time and, therefore, lengthens the lifespan of tools as they are subjected to less wear and tear.

Hole Drilling
With a 3-axis machine, a different setup must be completed for each hole when drilling. However, 5-axis machining allows for a series of holes to be drilled at various compound angles, reducing time and boosting efficiency.

5-Axis Machining: The Drawbacks

There are some disadvantages of 5-axis CNC machining, such as:

  • Higher costs, due to more complex software and maintenance.
  • A need for advanced operator skills.
  • Increased likelihood of technical issues.

However, by engaging with an expert 5-axis machining service, such as Redline CNC, you can be confident that any drawbacks will be mitigated, ensuring outstanding components that meets your need for fast and accurate machining.

Contact Redline CNC For More Information

If you’re looking for ‘5-axis machining near me’, get in touch with Redline CNC. We ship across the UK and Europe and are committed to meeting your delivery times, so contact us for more information about our 5-axis CNC machining.

Image Source: Unsplash

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