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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Targeted Five-Axis Machining


Focusing on a particular part size range allows this shop to use a versatile type of five-axis machine tool. Five-axis machining now makes up 40 percent of the shop’s business.

Shop Leaders Share Thoughts on Five-Axis Machining


Modern Machine Shop recently started a “Top Shops” discussion group on LinkedIn. The group is for owners, managers, engineers and other senior personnel in CNC machining facilities. A recent discussion thread from that group revealed various shops’ thoughts on five-axis machining.

Otherworldly Precision


A contract shop produces critical parts for the Curiosity rover that will soon depart for Mars.

Corner finishing

An Overview Of 3 + 2 Machining


You don't have to use all five axes of a five-axis machine at the same time to get great benefits. Here's what 3 + 2 can do for you.



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.

Profiler Expected to Exceed 100 Cubic Inches per Minute in Titanium

By: Peter Zelinski
Five-axis, five-spindle machine aims at reduced cost per piece for production of large aircraft components.


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