5 Time-Saving Benefits of 5-Axis Machining


When you need complex parts made fast, you need a machine shop with advanced technology to deliver precision parts with a quick turnaround.

But if the job shop you go to uses 3 or 4-axis machines to make intricate parts, you could be stuck dealing with unnecessarily long lead times.

At Peerless Precision, our 5-axis machining capabilities guarantee high quality and unparalleled efficiency while saving customers time and money.

5 Axis Machining

How Does 5-Axis Machining Differ from 3 and 4-Axis Machining?

In standard 3-axis milling, a cutting tool rotates along the X, Y, and Z axes to remove material from a fixed workpiece. By machining standards, it’s a relatively slow process that’s ideal for machining simple parts.

4-axis machining is the next step up, adding an additional axis of movement to the cutting tool so that it can rotate around the X axis. Unlike with 3-axis milling, the workpiece itself also rotates, allowing for both milling and turning capabilities.

Finally, 5-axis machining adds yet another rotational axis, enabling access to the workpiece from any direction with a single setup. This versatile technology is commonly used to machine high-precision parts with complex features.

5 Time-Saving Benefits of 5-Axis Machining

5-axis machines offer various benefits that decrease lead time to deliver complex parts faster:

1. Reduced need for fixturing.

Since 3-axis machines are unable to rotate parts, special fixturing is required to machine certain features. But on a 5-axis machine, it’s possible to hold a part in one position and rotate it to achieve complex geometries.

5 Axis Machining2. Complex feature capabilities.

Rotating on an additional axis allows 5-axis machines to maneuver complex geometries and tight angles with greater reach and flexibility.

For example, take a look at this cylinder for an actuator assembly. The contours and bosses on this aluminum part would have taken at least four operations on our 4-axis mill. On a 5-axis machine, we are able to achieve the required features and geometries in only two operations.

3. Shorter run times.

5-axis tooling easily reaches all sides of a part, removing material exceptionally fast and cutting slashing cycle times by up to 50%.

We recently machined parts for thermal imaging and night vision cameras for one of our defense customers. Using 5-axis machining capabilities, we successfully reduced first operation times from 2.5 hours to 1.25 hours and second operation times from 1.25 hours to 20 minutes!

4. Smoother surface finishes.

There are 3D milling capabilities built into our 5-axis machines that allow us to achieve extremely smooth surfaces on parts, reducing the need for extensive finishing operations.

Because the part is much closer to the cutting tool than on a 3 or 4-axis machine, we can use a shorter tool that produces less vibration and produces a smoother surface finish.

5. Fewer setups.

Having to manually rotate a part on a 3-axis machine means programming multiple setups to achieve complex features on multiple faces. Not only is this process inefficient, but it also introduces the risk of incorrect alignment each time the part is repositioned.

On the flip side, 5-axis machining accesses a greater number of part faces simultaneously, minimizing the need for setups.

The best thing about 5-axis CNC machining services at Peerless Precision is that you’ll never pay more for this advanced technology. Our CNC milling rate is the same across all machines. So if you see 5-axis machining on your quote, don’t panic! You’ll actually end up saving time and money.

We’re happy to quote your part for you both ways (3 or 4-axis vs. 5-axis) so you can see for yourself the difference that 5-axis machining makes. Request a quote from our MA machine shop today!

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  • Curtis Wright
  • FLIR
  • Kaman