6-Axis CNC Machining

While low level 3-axis CNC machining can handle big pieces and long-duration shape forming that can take hours based on the material being used, extremely delicate and highly accurate work needs to be done with systems that have far more axis to work with in terms of positioning. For years, the reliable systems used have been 4 and 5-axis CNC systems. Now, there is a 6-axis CNC option, which opens the doors for even greater detail and capability, especially for high accuracy work that can’t be produced by bulkier systems.

The realm of complicated geometries is where the 6-axis CNC machining system really shines and does its work. This is not the option one uses for larger pieces that don’t need a high level of detail and can be handled by lower number axis systems. Instead of working on machine gears, a 6-axis CNC machine is going to be handling delicate products such as electronics machining, medical equipment that has to be custom-designed, prototyping for aviation and aerospace equipment with high demand specifications and similar. Turbines and similar parts that need to be crafted in one piece to ensure their integrity and strength at high speeds are also fair game. In short, a 6-axis CNC machine system is going to be used when the product from a lower system simply doesn’t meet the hard criteria of high-level engineering and design.

The basic 3-axis approach works from three primary directions: horizontal, vertical, and depth. Adding additional axes allows a machining system to provide far greater control when it comes to curvature and depth versus just straight lines in motion. This is extremely useful when dealing with parts and shapes that are not right angles or straight lines. Once a system gets up to the 5-axis level, it starts to have the capability of the human hand, being able to replicate multiple angles in short time and without having to withdraw, reposition, and apply again. The 6-axis CNC machining system increases the speed at which a fine-detail machine can work, and it broadens the work capability further. This is advantageous for certain types of tooling that don’t work well with less mobility and motion range. However, because the 6-axis system requires a greater amount of dexterity and finesse, it tends to be a costlier system to operate. This is not the kind of CNC machine one wants to use when crafting a metal gear, which requires far more mundane motion and long-term work to form versus fast, minute motions needed with medical equipment, for example. Add in the fact that a 6-axis CNC machine has far more parts to maintain, and the operating support needed is far greater.

Rarity in Availability

Because of their complexity, a 6-axis CNC machining system is not going to be an everyday tool that everyone has lying around waiting to be used. Only dedicated CNC shops are going to invest their capital in obtaining one, going through the training to run it correctly, and then set up the infrastructure to support its maintenance and long-term operation. The commitment is significant, which is oftentimes a drawback for smaller shops to invest in. They would rather stick with a 5-axis or 4-axis system instead, which takes less to operate and can come close to desired specifications, usually.

Key Advantages

When time is of the essence for highly-detailed work, the 6-axis CNC machine will shine brightly. The system works far faster than even a 5-axis CNC machine, and it produces a higher level of detail in the output product. Even when the products are evenly matched, the 6-axis system will simply be faster in terms of time taken, which can matter when under pressure to get a product manufactured by time and date certain.

A 6-axis system provides incredibly greater control when shaving is needed for small measurement changes and adjustments not possible with other machines. This is critical when layering has to be milled or trimmed off the product versus just bluntly cut at an angle, especially when a round shape or curve is involved.

6-axis CNC machining works extremely well with softer materials such as aluminum, wood, and thin steel as well as ceramics. These materials can deform under heavier applications or lose too much material, especially when friction heat occurs. With less friction and more application, the 6-axis system avoids the related problems and produces results.

Evden Enterprises has put the time and energy into providing 6-axis CNC machining services to customers, a big difference from other CNC services available. Because Evden’s teams have spent so many years with CNC systems, the 6-axis option was a natural addition to Evden’s stable of services possible and available for customers to take advantage of. Call to find out more!