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.



YMT FMC

Machining Centers for Unattended Operation

By: Katie Cattell
YMT will showcase two FMC systems from Quaser designed for lights-out automation.

Mazak Appoints New President

By: Jedd Cole
Former president Brian Papke will now serve as chairman.

cable connector

Micron-Tolerance Machining Means Never Looking Back

By: Matt Danford
Different tools and machining strategies have driven this shop to seek new efficiencies beyond its most demanding work and most capable machining center.

Chiron FZ08MT Precision+

Five-Axis Machine for Complete, Six-Sided Machining

By: Katie Cattell
Chiron America’s five-axis FZ08MT Precision+ machining center is said to enable complex, five-axis parts to be machined in a single setup from bar stock without the need for additional finishing.

Hardinge Bridgeport XT 630

Fully Digital Five-Axis VMC

By: Katie Cattell
Hardinge will display the new Bridgeport XT 630 VMC, a five-axis machining center that is fully-digital and is designed for use in the aerospace, die/mold, medical and automotive industries.


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