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.



Spotlight Slideshow: Machining Centers

By: Stephanie Monsanty
Automatic pallet changers and support for automation are some popular features of recently released machining centers. View the December slideshow for more on these machines.

DMG MORI NHX 4000 2nd Generation horizontal machining center

December 2014 Product Spotlight Slideshow: Machining Centers

By: Stephanie Monsanty
View the December slideshow to see some of the latest vertical, horizontal and five-axis machining centers.

Methods-Yasda PX30i five-axis VMC

Five-Axis Machining Center for OEMs, Job Shops

By: Edited by Stephanie Monsanty
Available from Methods Machine Tools, the Methods-Yasda PX-30i is a five-axis high-precision automated vertical machining center designed to meet OEM and job shop requirements.

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.


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