Understanding 5-Axis CNC Machining

In recent years, more and more manufacturing firms have turned to precision machining to meet the changing needs of their customer base. With clients submitting more specific and sophisticated briefs and looking for shorter production times, higher-quality products, and a service that’s cost-effective, the industry has been forced to adapt for the better. To meet changing needs and demand, manufacturing firms are turning to high-end CNC machining, like four and 5-axis machines, and Weimi is one of those. Below, we offer an introduction.

What is 5-axis machining?

Before we delve deeper into the benefits of using a five-axis milling machine, let’s offer an introduction as to what it actually us. Three-axis machines, commonly used to create CNC machined parts, only have three motion axes – usually defined as X, Y, and Z, and they can only achieve movement in three directions. As a result, the structures along the machining tool axis direction can be processed, but the side structural features cannot be processed.

During metal cutting, a huge cutting force and friction force are generated between the CNC parts and the tool. To prevent the metal parts from moving, CNC parts must be clamped and fixed. 5-axis CNC machining, on the other hand, means that there are five coordinate axes – three linear coordinates and two rotation coordinates – and it can simultaneously coordinate movement for processing under the control of a computer numerical control system (CNC).

Although five-axis CNC machine tools are available in a variety of structural forms, they’re typically divided into the following three categories: table tilt, spindle tilt, and table/spindle tilt. The five-axis linkage machining center is designed for complex multi processes and quality processing, offering significantly more leverage and control than the usual 3-axis alternative.


The benefits of a 5-axis CNC machine


Cabinet parts

When manufacturing cabinet parts, multi-position porosity, and plane processing, and higher tolerance requirements are required. This is especially true in regards to geometric tolerances, which usually require milling, drilling, expanding, boring, reaming, tapping, and other processes. Because cabinet parts can be difficult to process on ordinary machine tools they must be clamped and aligned many times, meaning accuracy cannot be guaranteed. In processing cabinet parts, the table needs to be rotated many times to process four horizontal surfaces, which is why we prefer to use horizontal machining centers for additional support and to allow us to offer our promise of expertly crafting made-to-last CNC machined parts.


Complex surfaces

Complexed curved surfaces play an important role in machinery manufacturing, particularly in aerospace. Complex surfaces like these shown below are difficult and sometimes even impossible to accomplish via traditional machining methods, and thus a 5-axis machining center is a great alternative. Using a 5-axis CNC machine allows us to manufacture various impellers, spherical surfaces, various curved forming tools, propellers, and more, with a milling cutter that allows us to make an envelope surface to approach the spherical surface. When developing complex curved surfaces, automatic programming techniques are also required, as it can be a complex process, and in such cases, there is no margin of error.

Irregular parts

Many sectors ask the team at Weimi to create irregular or unique shaped parts, and in such cases, a 5-axis CNC machine can help. The rigidity of special-shaped parts is generally poor as it is difficult to control the deformation that’s caused by clamping pressure. Because of this, machining accuracy can be quite difficult, and when processing with a machining center, reasonable technological measures should be adopted, such as clamping, multi-position, line, and surface processing. This helps ensure quality and completeness.

Middle and center plate

A 5-axis CNC machine can also be used for parts with key grooves, radial holes, curved sleeves, shaft parts, flanges, square heads, and more. Parts with distributed holes and curved surfaces on the end should choose vertical machining centers, and radial machining centers use for radial hole parts. Refer to the image below for an example of how this works.

Unique processing

Finally, we can combine the functions of the machining center that is equipped with certain, special tools, allowing us to complete special technological tasks. For example, engraving letters, lines, and patterns on metal surfaces are possible. What’s more, a high-frequency electric spark power supply can be used to perform line scanning and hardening on metal surfaces, whilst high-speed grinding heads can be installed on the center to achieve small modulus involute bevel gear grinding and various curve and surface grinding. Whatever your requirements, it’s worth speaking to the experts who can advise you on the best possible way forward, allowing you to source and manufacture the unique parts your project needs.


To find out about how Weimi could help you with your precision machining needs, click here.

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