Metal Cutting

Five-Axis Machining Centers

Five-Axis Machining Centers do not just move in the linear axes X, Y and Z. Instead, these machines also move in two rotary axes, often identified as A and B. The rotary axes tilt the tool with respect to the part. Physically, it can be either the tool that tilts or the part that tilts. Different machines accomplish the rotary motion in different ways. Some machines move the rotary axes only to position the tool or work outside of the cut. This is referred to as 3+2 machining. Moving the tool in this way dramatically increases the machining center’s access to features at different angles or on different faces of the part. A machine capable of 3+2 machining often can reach all of the machined features of the part in a single setup. True five-axis machining refers to the ability to not just position the tool along the rotary axes, but also to feed the tool through the cut using these axes. Interpolated combinations of A-axis, B-axis and linear axis motions can allow the tool to smoothly follow a contoured surface. This type of machining has long been important in the aerospace industry, where machined parts follow the aerodynamic forms of aircraft.

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Featured Zone Content

A Smooth Transition to Five-Axis Machining


A mold manufacturer that specializes in precision, thin-walled container molds chose an integrated approach to establishing an effective five-axis “3 + 2” machining process.

Tool Monitoring for Multitasking Machines


Continuously checking the condition of cutting tools and responding appropriately to wear or other changes is especially critical on machines designed to complete parts in a single setup or run several operation simultaneously.

The Big Step Up


A small shop added two new machines, each of which is more advanced than any of the previous machine tools the company has used. One of the co-owners committed to the work of bringing both of these machines fully into service. Here is the shop’s experience so far.



Doosan FM 200/5AX Linear five-axis machining center

Five-Axis Universal Machining Center

By: Edited by Stephanie Monsanty
The Doosan FM 200/5AX Linear is a high-speed, high-precision, full five-axis machining center designed for simultaneous five-axis contouring.

Tool Monitoring for Complex Machining

By: Lori Beckman
One of the biggest challenges to tool monitoring on a multitasking machine is coping with simultaneous cutting operations. Caron Engineering (Wells, Maine) designed a system to meet this challenge.

Tool Monitoring for Multitasking Machines

By: Mark Albert
Continuously checking the condition of cutting tools and responding appropriately to wear or other changes is especially critical on machines designed to complete parts in a single setup or run several operation simultaneously.

Starrag Heckert HEC 800 X5 MT

Five-Axis Machine Offers High Dynamics for Complex Workpieces

By: Edited by Jedd Cole
The Heckert HEC 800 X5 MT five-axis machining center, available from Starrag, provides productivity, process reliability and precise cutting in a single clamping.

Clamping Options for Five-Axis Machining

By: Peter Zelinski
In five-axis machining, the workholding has to get out of the way. The wrong choice of clamping risks collision and can obscure one of the principal benefits of a five-axis machine.


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