The production of complicated parts can be challenging. Especially when precision, small tolerances and repeatability are important . 5-axis machining allows milling in 5 axes: 3 plains and 2 rotation axes – at the same time, in a single setup. More complex parts and shapes can be milled faster by one 5-axis machine than by a 3-axis machine with further milling. Mainly: thanks to the mentioned single setup.
Milled parts do not have to be moved, and the advantages of 5-axis milling are more visible in machining complex shapes. That technology can improve efficiency, save time, and speed up machining processes.
What is 5 axis milling?
Five-axis machining is one of the most complex processes of CNC machining. At the same time – well performed – can provide:
- high precision of work,
- minimal tolerances,
- better surface finishes,
- increased productivity.
What is the difference between a 5 axis CNC machining and other milling types? It is hidden in the name of that process: a mill can shape objects in 5 axes at once. Unlike 3-axis CNC machines, spindle processes shape in one, smooth motion and one setup.
Parts milled in a 5-axis machine do not have to be moved to the other table to finish unshaped surfaces. Whole process can be performed in one continuous run. 5 axis machining delivers high efficiency in milling complex geometries. Thus, it can reduce the cycle times of shaping material blocks (steel, aluminum, polymers).
These mills can be differenced by kinematics (in other words: how a particular type of machine operates):
- TT, as for Table Table, "Gantry" setup – the spindle is static during machining. All axes are shaped by moving an object attached to the table. It is the only moving part in that process,
- HT, as for Head Table – the spindle and table can move during the process,
- HH, as for Head Head, sometimes called "gated" - a table is static and all movement is performed by a spindle on a numerically controlled arm.
Each of these methods has its advantages and disadvantages. Mainly due to chosen technology of milling and the physical limitations of shaping objects with a CNC spindle.
For example, HH and HT kinetics allows the mill of large objects. The whole weight of the object is placed on the table.
TT mills are better at cutting objects close to the base: mainly due to the possibility of deeper insertion of the cutting tool and spindle.
HH kinetics is more challenging for the operator – especially while using longer CNC milling cutters. Their size and shape should be taken into account during the process. Still: that method enables the removal of larger amounts of material faster.
Although complicated, the decision of which kinematics to use is the duty of professional CNC operators and CNC-focused companies. Based on their combined experience, such companies can mill parts with great precision and small tolerances. Of course: by using professional five-axis milling.
The most important advantages of 5-axis milling
Possibilities created by 5-axis milling makes it interesting for many branches of business. The main reason is clear: it allows the shape of complicated parts - with high speed, repetable, and with minimal tolerances. The key advantages of 5-axis milling are also:
- almost unmatched precision of milling – shaped elements remains in one machine. That process eliminates possibilities of human error during the transition between machines,
- higher productivity – the time needed to mill a single element is shorter. That allows producing higher quantities of objects,
- time and money saving – for operators and customers. 5-axis milling is faster and usually requires coding of only 1 CNC machine. Higher speed of shaping objects also can produce more revenue. E.g. by shortening the time of delivery or more (cost) effective use of working hours.
Applications of 5-axis milling
The usage of 5-axis milling machines in CNC-focused companies allows for the production of high quantities of highly complicated parts. It is a technology that allows fast, agile, and most importantly – precise production of elements for many branches of business:
- automotive: parts like turbocharger impellers, that requires high precision and perfect balance, due to high-speed operation,
- furniture: for example – sophisticated decoration elements made of aluminum or copper,
- aviation industry: for example jet engine rotors and other parts of these engines,
- every other industry, that needs high precision of milling complex shape elements.
High-efficiency milling machines - time optimization is cost-effective
Although very efficient and effective, 5-axis milling requires:
- best (and well-calibrated) equipment,
- special software,
- perfectly trained operators,
- good selection of cutting tools and extra equipment (e.g. effective cooling or shavings removal).
In RADMOT we know how important dependable equipment is for 5-axis milling. That is why we use Hermle mills, considered one of the industry standards. For software, we choose CAM by HyperMill. We are an experienced team of CNC operators, focused on details and delivery of the best possible end product. Our approach to milling allows us to work fast and effectively – also thanks to the 5-axis milling in our company.
What types of material can be machined in a 5-axis mill?
5-axis mills allow the production of elements made of a vast variety of materials – answering the needs and preferences of the customer. Such materials differ by their physical properties (hardness, type of machining, heat conductivity, etc.), although they have one in common: can be machined in 5-axis CNC mills.
In RADMOT, we are able to machine materials such as:
- aluminum (cast and solid),
- plastics (e.g. POM).
What are their uses and properties?
The usage of aluminum in 5-axis milling is common, due to the properties of that alloy. High durability, low mass, good conduction (electricity and temperature), and natural corrosion resistance make aluminum alloys popular in CNC milling. Its mechanical properties and overall good machining makes that alloy a good for 5-axis machining..
Copper has very good thermal and electric conductivity. Also – that metal is very easy to mill, due to its softness. Blocks of copper are often shaped in 5-axis machines, especially for `industries
- medical – copper has bactericidal properties and is resilient to repetitive sterilization,
- energetic – due to high electrical conductivity,
- automotive industries,
Just like copper, brass has very good electrical conductivity, but alloys containing copper and zink generate less surface friction. Good engineering properties, temperature resilience, and good machinability make that alloy often used in 5-axis milling machines.
Plastics, e.g. POM
POM (polyoxymethylene) is a type of polymer with good thermoplastic properties and high melting temperature (175 °C / 347°F). That material is very machinable and has good mechanical properties – that allow it to shape complicated parts with 5-axis machining. The high stiffness and stability of POM-made elements make that material perfect to make parts that need to be good isolators and remain cost-effective.
Why order 5-axis milling services in RADMOT?
Many companies offer 5-axis machining but there are 6 reasons why you should choose RADMOT:
- We use industry-standard software CAM HyperMill.
- We use the most modern machining tools, regularly calibrated, to deliver the higher precision of milling.
- We use the most precise and dependable CNC machines on the market: Hermle and Fanuc.
- Our CNC operators have over 15 years of experience in 5-axis machining.
- We can achieve tolerances even below 0,02 mm.
- On our 5-axis machines we can mill parts up to 500 x 500 x 350 mm and weigh 5 kg.
5-axis machining in Radmot - contact us
At RADMOT, we can offer CNC milling services, CNC turning services as well as many additional services, including washing, aluminum anodizing, laser marking and assembly.
Contact us and tell us what you need. We have been providing CNC services for almost 40 years. Our quote is completely free. And if you have any doubts about what technology will work best for you, our expertise is at your service.