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CNC Machine Basic Parts: Guide To Understanding 5-Axies of CNC Machining

Guide To Understanding 5-Axies of CNC Machining

CNC machine basic parts have come a long way since the days of manual machining. These parts have seen and been a part of immense innovation in CNC milling as the machines have gone from manual to computer operated. And as the axes of the machine have increased from 2 to 3 and now 5.

Computer numeric control machining has been revolutionized by incorporating highly efficient and advanced CNC machine basic parts and support software and hardware. These machines are now capable of doing what the past centuries' machinists could only dream of, and never experience.

One such example of futuristic CNC machining is the 5 axes CNC machine. What is 5 axes machine though? Don't worry. We have dedicated this article to elaborating the basics of the 5 axes CNC machining. So, let's dive in.

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CNC Machine Basic Parts: The 3 Axes Machining

Before we elaborate the 5 axes CNC machine, we think it is imperative to understand how a 3 axes computer numeric control machining works.

You might have an idea of how generic CNC machines operate. User inputs CAD/CAM files into the computer, which generates the g-code. The machine controller understands this g-code and controls the operations of the machine accordingly. That's for the computer-side of the process.

Now, coming to the mechanical side of the process, the machine has a cutting tool in a spindle. The workpiece is placed on the work holding device and stays stationary (unless it is a CNC lathe). And the cutting tool comes close to the workpiece and scraps off the additional material until the piece acquires the desired shape.

Now, comes the part of axes. Axes are 'pathways' along which the spindle can move. In a 3 axes machining, the spindle moves back to front, or along the Y-axis. It moves left to right, the X-axis and goes up and down that is the Z-axis.

The CNC machine basic parts in a 3 axes mill work to drill holes, make slots, cut sharp edges etc. on the metal piece.

The 3 axes machining may have been a significant step up from the bi-directional or XY machines. However, it still has its fair share of shortcomings compared to a 5 axes CNC machining. These machines are only ideal for simple geometries and shallow milling. And show their inability in the face of deep cuts, narrow machining, and complex geometry.

CNC Machine Basic Parts: The 5 Axes CNC Machine

Did someone say deep cuts, narrow machining, and complex geometry? Enter: 5 axes CNC machine.

The 5 axes CNC machine with its ultra-modern, robotic parts is the ultimate solution to all the complex milling problems. It is the well-equipped, more efficient big brother of the 2 and 3 axes CNC machines.

The 5 axes CNC machine is an innovation in CNC milling that has made possible what was unthinkable. It has minimized lead times. What took months to create is now done, packed, and shipped in a matter of hours.

The 5 axes CNC machine allows the part to be machined along 5 axes, the XYZ axes, the rotational C axes and either A or B axes. Confusing, right? Let us explain.

In a 5 axes Vertical machining centre CNC machine, the spindle moves laterally along the X and Y axis and longitudinally along the Z-axis, just like in the 3 axes machine. However, the 5 axes machine either rotates the part along two other axes, i.e. A or B and C or have a spindle the rotates.

Five-axes machine can cut and scrape the material from all 5 axes simultaneously with its CNC machine basic parts. This feature makes it the go-to choice for complex parts manufacturers as its movement along 5 axes make it capable of performing complex machining with efficiency.

Why Do Manufacturers Choose 5 Axis CNC Machines?

All progressive machinists who create complex parts every day choose 5 axis CNC machines because of all its benefits to crafting complicated shapes and designs. Following are only a few of the many reasons why machinists choose a 5 axis CNC machining:

Machining Complex Shapes

Like you can't expect a fish to walk, you can't expect a 3 axes CNC machine to tackle complexity like a 5 axes CNC machine does. No matter how complicated, intricate and meticulous the machining project gets, trust a 5 axes CNC machine to do it nicely. Given all other conditions for optimal machining are met, of course.

The 5 axes machine can cut and shape highly complex design, perform deep and narrow cutting, make swivelled designs and machine at difficult angles with precision and ease.

Precision and Accuracy

Precision and accuracy are features inherent to all CNC machines. However, when machining complex parts, 3 axes machines may compromise on accuracy.

The 5 axes CNC machine never trades accuracy and precision for complexity. The CNC developers have created this machine to aid in the manufacture of highly complex and intricate parts with utmost precision.

Increased Tool Life

The cutting tools are the heart of a CNC machine. Because with a cutting tool, a CNC machine would just be a CNC that does nothing but occupy space and looks cool.

In 5 axes machining, because the spindle can move along 5 axes and tilt, it can get closer to the part, this reduces the need for longer tools and short length tools work just fine.

Using shorter tools in a CNC machine enhances the tool's life. They minimize vibrations and eliminate the chances of tool breakage.

Minimizes the Need for Additional Steps

The 5 axes machining with advance CNC machine basic parts eliminates the need for additional steps. It does not need any pre-process preparation of the workpiece, nor does it produce a workpiece that requires post-production finishing.

Because it takes a metal block and produces a fully machined piece with excellent surface finish, machinists often call 5 axes machining a 'Done in One' process.

Moreover, eliminating additional machining and finishing significantly increases production capacity as it minimizes lead time and reduces chances of error.

How to Get Good Results with 5 Axes CNC Machining

If you don't use the 5 axes machine to the best of its potential, you will be wasting your money and the capability of a machine, that is made to do wonders. Read on to find out how you can get maximize on your 5 axes machine.


Before you embark upon investing in a 5 axes CNC machine, understand the geometry of the parts that you usually make. If you make relatively simple or slightly complex parts, 3 axes machining will do. Only get a 5 axes CNC machine if you craft highly complex parts.

Trained Personnel

No one ever hands a Boeing 777 to a person who has driven a motorcycle all his life, right? You need trained personnel for driving cutting-edge machines. Therefore, if you want to get the most out of 5 axes CNC machining, ensure your team is trained to operate the CNC machine basic parts.

Appropriate Software

Choosing the right CAD/CAM package is critical for the optimal operation of a 5 axes CNC machine. Moreover, it's best to simulate the process beforehand to spot potential problems and mitigate them before they lead to severe consequences.


Most 5 axes CNC machines have tools that are specific to their unique functionality. So, to cash in on 5 axes mill, ensure that you use appropriate tools.


CNC machine basic parts have a significant role in the innovations that led to the CNC milling industry revolution. These parts became a platform for enhancements of functionality that ultimately uplifted the entire CNC process.

The 5 axes CNC machining process is a manifestation of innovation in the CNC machine basic parts. A 5 axes machine has lots of benefits over its counterparts.

However, 5 axes machines are only a smart choice for machinists who create large volumes of complex parts. If you buy a 5 axes machine to do what a 3 or 2 axes machine can do, you will waste a lot of money.

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