What is Five Axis Micro Machining?

What are the benefits of five axis micro machining? Efficiency, Precision, and repeatability.  During typical three axis machining procedures the part usually has to be repositioned in the vice at least one time. One position to machine the surfaces accessible from the top, and another to machine those accessible from the bottom.  If the part has features on the sides, then additional work holding positions will be required to access those.  When five axis machining, the machine has the freedom to reorient the workpiece during the operation to allow nearly unlimited access to all of the features of the part.

Each time the workpiece is repositioned in the vice it takes time away from the machining process.  Since five axis machining eliminates these steps the process becomes more efficient, more parts can be completed per hour, and the savings can be passed on to the customer.

Our five axis micro milling machines are calibrated to a degree which exceeds what a machinist can typically achieve during a manual setup.  This insures that when the  machine reorients the workpiece the alignment of features on different planes of the part is guaranteed.  By eliminating operator error during workpiece repositioning five axis machining greatly improves precision and dimensional accuracy.

For the same reason precision is increased by five axis machining, so too is repeatability.  Once a CNC program has been proven it faithfully does the same thing, again and again.  Given that a machine is well maintained, and by eliminating the human element of re positioning parts, you can count on the same results for 10, 100, or 1000 parts.

It’s easy to see the benefits of five axis micro machining over traditional three axis machines.  This automatic repositioning of the workpiece by the machine is referred to positional five axis, or 3 + 2 machining.  But what if a part doesn’t have clearly defined sides or work planes?  What about fluid or organic surfaces, such as air foils or dental implants?  These operations are where five axis machining truly shines.

Full Simultaneous Five axis machining never restricts the workpiece to one orientation.  Instead the machine is continuously repositioning the workpiece while performing the cutting operation.  This allows optimal access and alignment of the cutting tool at all times.  This results in the best possible surface finish, and in some cases allows parts to be produced that would be impossible on traditional three axis machines.

In summary, Five axis micro machining allows us to provide you, the customer, with parts that are less expensive, more precise, available sooner, and in some cases not possible by other manufacturing processes.

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