Gearing Up for Successful 5-Axis Machining John Zaya
Five-axis machining is a valuable capability for many businesses, but having a powerful machine is just one part of the equation. Mission-critical parts like impellers and blades, medical components, molds, gear housings and valve bodies leave little room for error. They involve complex surfaces that need simultaneous movement of the part and tool. This puts a premium on access and proper approach to the part, which is exactly where the right tooling and workholding strategies help. The smaller or more intricate those features, think dental implants, the more it should drive these decisions. In fact, one of the main advantages of 5-axis machining – or likewise 3+2 machining when used – is that it allows for the use of shorter, more rigid cutting tools than three-axis machining. Faster feeds and speeds with less tool deflection and shorter movements combine to result in good finish and more accuracy, heavier cuts and fewer setups, all which To improve access, and, in turn, tool performance, we need to understand common areas of interference. The outside diameter of the spindle housing, for one, limits how close the table can come to the tool; something that may not have been a consideration for three-axis machining, except for parts with deep pockets or contours. Table size is another interference consideration. lower total cycle times. Part Accessibility What do large tables and small parts lead to? Long tool holders and tools, which result in low speeds, low depth of cut and a higher chance of chatter. There is one fundamental difference in machinery that we look at first when helping a customer design workholding: Is it trunnion-style that tilts and rotates the table, or gantry-style machine where the
One main advantage of 5-axis machining is the use of shorter, more rigid cutting tools. Faster feeds and speeds with less tool deflection and shorter movements result in a good finish, more accuracy, heavier cuts, and fewer setups, all of which lower total cycle times.
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