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The Value of 3+2

Full-five-axis machining is complex and neat to watch, but five-axis positioning is appealing in its own right.

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Positioning in four or five axes can minimize the number of times a part is touched during production.

When you attend shows like IMTS (which runs September 12 to 17 this year), you typically see machine tool builders displaying five-axis equipment. Typically, the builders showcase their five-axis technology via simultaneous, choreographed movements of spindle (and/or rotary tables) and complex demo workpieces, such as turbine blisks, blades or impellers. These movements are not only impressive to watch, but are sometimes essential for a given application.

However, as you watch these demos at the show, call to mind some more prismatic, blocky parts you’re currently running across multiple machines. You might not have an application that requires full-five-axis contouring, but you might find value in 3+2, like the two shops mentioned in this article did.

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