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.
  • Accuracy
    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.

Machine Ready Dovetail Blank

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.

-Thanks for reading

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