Why a Few Degrees Matter

3 + 2 machining might not be as captivating as five-axis contouring operations, but it can be just as valuable.


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Five-axis machines enable two types of multi-axis machining operations: full contouring and positioning (a.k.a. 3 + 2 machining). Thought of as siblings, contouring would be the alluring one and 3 + 2 would be more on the homely side. This is because contouring operations feature complex simultaneous motion of all five axes during a cut while 3 + 2 only uses the rotary axes to position and then lock the tool and/or workpiece at different angles outside of the cut.

That said, many shops find great value in 3 + 2. One is Canada’s Moulexpert. It now leverages 3 + 2 to manufacture more reliable and effective molds for thin-walled containers. Among other benefits, this capability has enabled it to reduce setups of mold inserts from as many as 25 to two, as detailed in this story.


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    With so many choices in five-axis machining technology, how do you know which is best for your shop? First, consider the parts. Then, look at existing processes and potential five-axis benefits.

  • Tool Considerations for High Speed Cutting

    Fast CNC processing and high-pressure coolant contribute to removing metal at dramatic rates. But what should a shop know about cutting tools in high speed machining?