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 Lasertec 45 Shape

Milling Machine Integrates 3D Laser Ablation, Texturing

By: Katie Cattell
The LaserTec 45 Shape from DMG MORI combines five-axis precision machining with 3D laser ablation and texturing to produce high-quality fine contours and filigree cavities.

SNK America CMV-100

Five-Axis Machine for Contouring Applications

By: Katie Cattell
SNK America says its CMV-100 is a five-axis machine with a column-feed design and construction that eliminates table overhang, promoting prolonged machining accuracy for contoured 3D work for the die/mold and aerospace industries.

CR Onsrud X-Series

Five-Axis Machining Platform for Extrusions

By: Katie Cattell
C.R. Onsrud’s X-Series is a five-axis CNC machining platform designed specifically for extrusions.

DMG MORI Lasertec 65 3D

Hybrid Milling, Additive Manufacturing

By: Katie Cattell
DMG MORI offers a hybrid additive manufacturing machine, the Lasertec 65 3D.

Mighty USA Viper PG5

Five-Axis VMC for Large-Size Machining

By: Katie Cattell
Mighty USA introduces its Viper PG5 five-axis Gantry machine, which is a high-wall, gantry-style, simultaneous five-axis double-column VMC designed for large-size and heavy workpieces.


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