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.



DMG MORI Dixi 125

Smaller Machining Center Maintains High Volumetric Accuracy

By: Jedd Cole
DMG MORI has extended the high-precision machining centers in its Dixi series to include the smaller Dixi 125 for workpieces with diameters ranging to 1.25 mm.

Dr. Kapitza and Dr. Mori

Slideshow: DMG MORI Pfronten Open House 2016

By: Stephanie Hendrixson
Attendees of DMG MORI’s annual open house got a firsthand look at six new machine models, plus insight into company strategy.

five-axis contouring

Taking It Slow Pays Off for Learning Five-Axis Machining

By: Matt Danford
A deliberately incremental approach helped this shop flatten a significant learning curve for collaborating on the postprocessor, easing setups and using cutting tools effectively.

MMS February 2016 cover

How to Increase Machining Efficiency through Machine Monitoring

By: Peter Zelinski
A manufacturer that is distinctive for its attention to in-cycle machining productivity describes its efforts to obtain efficiency improvements outside of the machining cycle. The shop’s primary tool is a simple, daily, graphical recap that illustrates when each machine tool was and was not making parts.

Tongtai Five-Axis Machining in a Small Footprint

By: Lori Beckman
The column of the CT-350 has a span making it torsion-resistant, while cutting a five-axis part.


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