How Axis Construction Works

Engineer Or Architect Uses Pencil Pointing To X And Y Axis For Beginning Construction Development

While much of the world is built on assembly lines, produced in parts that number the thousands and constructed the same way again and again, the scale of efficiencies doesn’t solve every problem mankind has even today. In fact, it’s quite often that a specialized part is needed, either as a one-off replacement or a unique part that is occasionally needed. The cost to mass-produce these occasionally used parts is far too high to justify their multiple production in a regular market, but they still meet a need on a regular basis. These parts are custom-made, CNC-machined components, specifically crafted one at a time for unique use and application.

The term CNC machining technically refers to computer numerical control machining, a process by which products are made with heavy-duty machines, either through cutting or grinding, and all the activities are controlled by computer programming. While originally such work was done manually with powered machinery, the integration of computers made the work exact and applied to the finest detail, far better than any human-controlled application could produce.

The first step in axis construction is the material itself. It must be of sufficient size and matter that it can be worked on. Ultimately, the excess is removed from the material to create the desired part and shape. This is done either through grinding, cutting, drilling, or burring off the excess. However, as anyone knows who has tried to carve or grind with a given tool, most applications that remove material tend to work in one direction, like a saw or a bit. That would require a lot of work to finish the design, with a lot of room for mistakes. So, CNC machining utilizes a key feature that allows one to approach the material from multiple angles, axis construction.

Axes are defined as points. These are directions in which a CNC milling machine can do its work. At a minimum, milling machines have 3 axes, commonly referred to as X, Y and Z. These refer to axis directions. The two most common are horizontal and vertical. However, there is also depth, ergo the Z axis. When a machine is able to combine all three in the same working assembly, it has the ability to move around, in and out as it works on a target material. The scale at which it moves is then controlled by the user, or in the case of CNC machining a computer program.

For low-cost CNC machining, the 3-axis milling approach is probably the most affordable and easiest to apply. It is ideal for parts that are standard, don’t need very fancy work, and need to be fabricated at low cost and low time. However, as more detail, intricacy and work needs to be added, it gets harder and harder for 3-axis machining to meet expectations. This is when it’s time to up the ante with a more complex approach.

The 4-axis CNC machining approach includes all three axes noted above, but then also includes spinning of the material. This element gives the machine the ability to produce circular shaping to a material versus just angular applications. It is ideal for parts that have curves, circular angles, and curved depths. The spinning factor is referred to as the A-axis in the industry. Many engraving applications as well as design work are applied with a 4-axis machine system versus the less accurate 3-axis system noted above.

Above the 4-axis level, intricate work is applied with the 5-axis milling machine. This combines all the above, but the spindle holding the material can also move with the three axes of X, Y and Z as well. The combination of both tool and material moving in so many directions gives multiple positions and angles by which the tools can be applied, all of which can be controlled in detail by computer programming. Essentially, the target material can be shaped in five directions in the same, continuous process.

Believe it or not, there is, finally, the latest advancement in CNC machining, the 7-axis system. It includes everything one already has with a 5-axis approach, and then it adds another two axes to provide even further capability for movement while working on the target material. The primary difference of this most advanced system is that the tool arm itself can rotate, dubbed the E-axis. Because of its ability to create intricate parts, the 7-axis system is regularly used for highly specialized part fabrication used in military, scientific or aerospace applications.

Evden Enterprises provides clients access to all these systems discussed above, from basic part fabrication to extremely intricate and detailed work as well. When your part design matters the most, then you want to be using one of the highest-skilled machining services available. Evden has earned its reputation through solid work with unerring accuracy. Find out with your next project what’s possible.