The 5-Axis machine sales continues to grow yearly, boasting a Compound Annual Growth Rate of almost 7 percent, and for good reason - Efficiency
While typical CNC machines move in 3-axes (X, Y, and Z), 5-axis machines add two rotary axes, which opens up many more opportunities and benefits surrounding machining productivity gains:
- Easy set up with fewer clamp changes
Parts can now be held by only one surface or even a portion of that surface. For example, dovetail workholding fixtures only require the addition of a small dovetail feature machined into a single surface. This allows for unobstructed access by the cutting tool to five of the six surfaces (in the case of a square or rectangular part).
- Ability to machine complex shapes
Machining complex shapes and features are easy with 5-axis machines. To accomplish this with 3-axis CNC machines requires special set ups and fixturing, and can be very time consuming. Even then, you do not get the benefit of continuous 5-axis movement which produces superior contour shapes.
Every time you move the part or clamp and re-clamp there is a real chance of moving the part, which leads to lost alignment and reduced accuracy. With 5-axis machining you are using a constant 'zero' location from one feature to the next, improving accuracy.
- 3-axis plus 2-axis machining
Beyond reaching 5 surfaces in a single set up, 5-axis machining also provides for smooth and constant 5-axis movement of the cutting tool. But for some features, such as holes on multiple surfaces or angles it is best to operate the machine in 3-axis only, making 3-axis, plus 2-axis capabilities the best choice.
Though the benefits are many, there is still one issue that holds 5-axis machining back from being even more efficient, effectively clamping to a single surface. Dovetail work holding fixtures are one of the best methods of securing a part by a single surface, but they to present a challenge. Every part must first be machined to add a dovetail feature before being 5-axis machine-ready. This takes time and detracts from some of the efficiency gains promised by 5-axis machining.
A good solution to this dilemma is Dovetail Machine-Ready Blanks from TCI Precision Metals.
Ready to ‘Load, Lock, and Go’ Directly into Dovetail Workholding Fixtures
Dovetail Machine-Ready Blanks are custom produced to your specifications and are Machine-Ready – order from one to thousands with quick turnaround. Each Blank includes a precision Dovetail feature to match the brand and model of your specified fixture and arrives ready to go from receiving directly into your 4- and 5-axis CNC machining centers. With Dovetail Machine-Ready Blanks the full efficiency and added productivity of 5-axis machining is realized.
For more information or to request a quote contact us.
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