What is 5 Axis Machining?

In the past few years, machining has changed. Over the past few years, machining has evolved from simple processes and tools to sophisticated and advanced ones. The 5-axis machining process is one of the most sophisticated machining processes today.
When people hear about 5-axis CNC, they often think of high-tech, expensive, and difficult to operate machines. But is this really the case?
We will answer this question as well as provide other important information about this machine.

What Is 5 Axis Machining?

The possibilities of part shapes and sizes are endless with 5-axis machining. The number of directions that the cutting tool is able to move in is what the term "5-axis", refers. In a 5-axis machine, the cutting tool can move along the linear axes of X,Y,Z, and rotate on the A,B axes. You can, in other words, process all five sides of the part with a single set-up.

What does the "5" in 5 axis stand for?

While traditional laser cutting machines have three axes, X, Y, and Z, 5 axis adds two more axes to the machine: A and B. These two additional axes ensure that the machine can make more accurate cuts. These two additional axes ensure that the machine can make more accurate cuts. It also supports 3D cutting.

Why choose 5 axis machining

5 axis machining allows for the production of highly complex parts. Compared to traditional 3-axis machining, 5-axis machining reduces production time and costs and improves accuracy and surface quality.

How 5-Axis CNC Machines Work

A 5-axis CNC machine can control the movement of a workpiece in five axes simultaneously, including the X, Y, and Z axes, as well as two rotary axes. This makes it possible to complete more complex cutting paths in a single setup, producing finer and more precise parts.
Specifically, a 5-axis CNC machine cuts a workpiece by controlling the movement of a tool in multiple axes. For example, the tool can move in the X, Y, and Z axes while also rotating around the X and Y axes. This allows the tool to approach the workpiece at any angle and direction, allowing for more complex cutting paths.
5-axis CNC machines typically use CAD/CAM software to generate the cutting paths and convert them into machine-recognizable G-code. The machine then controls the movement of the tool according to the G-code to complete the part.

5 axis machining pros and cons


The biggest advantage of 5 axis machining is the ability to cut on curved surfaces, facilitating the growth of many industries.
Below are the key benefits of 5 axis CNC machining.

  1. Curved Cutting: The creation of 5 axis has made it easy to handle highly complex curved parts, and the laser head can rotate flexibly to cut a variety of geometries.
  2. High Precision: While manual machining operations require additional settings for optimal machining, 5 axis machining is computer-controlled and can easily perform a variety of high-precision cuts. 5 axis CNC machine reduces machining tolerances and contactless cutting greatly improves the machine's life.
  3. Easy to operate: The machine is very easy to operate and does not require much experience.
  4. Smooth Cutting Surface: Laser cut metal has a smoother cutting surface than traditional tools. And you can easily get the desired shape.
  5. High Productivity:5 axis processing is virtually error-free, and the cutting speed is fast, taking only minutes or even seconds to complete the cut.


  1. High cost: 5 axis machining is an advanced cutting technology. Its production process and cost are higher than the ordinary machine. So its selling price is also slightly higher than normal cutting machines.
  2. Complex design: If it is used for cutting curved surfaces, you need to build the model of the material to be cut on the modeling software first. This is a huge challenge for beginners learning CAD or other software.

What types of parts can 5 axis machining machine have?

A good understanding of the range of curved surfaces the machine cuts can help you better engrave. Some common complex curved parts are engine blades and propellers for aircraft.
There are also disc-curved parts, box parts, etc.

The Difference Between 5-Axis and 3+2-Axis Machining

The majority of people are not aware that there is a distinction between 3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis CNC. In 5-axis CNC, the tool's rotation is continuous on all 5 axes.
In 3+2 Axis, on the other hand, the machine runs a 3 Axis programme, but the cutting tool is fixed at an angle. In addition, the locking angle depends on the two rotation axes.
Speed is the main advantage of 5-axis machining over 3+2-axis CNC machining. This is due to the fact that 3+2 Axis machined tools require constant stopping and restarting of the machine in order to achieve optimal tool orientation. With 5-axis CNC machining, on the other hand, there are no stops because the machining involves a single operation.

Operate 5 axis machining better

Many people don't understand the full capabilities of a 5 axis CNC machine. So here are some strategies to help you get the most out of your 5-axis CNC machine.

Choosing the Right Software

You must get the right information before using a 5-Axis CNC milling machine. To get the correct information, you need to check the data on the design for accuracy and completeness. It is also important to validate the design process before converting the CAD design to a CAM equivalent.
You can choose the ideal CAD/CAM software and controls for your design task with the right information. The simulation software is used to monitor part dimensions, interference and tool length.
In addition, with this information, cost analyses can be performed to ensure that the correct and most cost-effective process is used to complete the job.

Choosing a Tool Inspection System

Using the wrong tool for the job increases the risk of errors. In addition, the wrong tool can easily wear out or break during machining, increasing production costs and reducing product quality. One way to mitigate this is to use a tool inspection system. This system helps you analyze the tool you want to use, ensuring it suits your job and minimizing errors.

Preventing collisions

Collisions can lead to damaged components or damaged machines. There are software tools available that can mitigate this risk. So how does it work? The software simulates the design process and can often detect collisions before they occur, thus providing a way to change design commands. There are several such software, but popular ones include Predator and ModuleWorks.

Industry Applications for 5-Axis CNC Machines

5 Axis CNC machine machining offers a variety of benefits to the industry, including reduced human error, high-quality products and consistency. Many industries use this type of machining to manufacture their products and components, but the main ones include:

Medical Industry

Precision and accuracy are important to the industry as part failure can spell disaster during surgery, testing, or medical condition diagnosis. Medical industry uses 5-axis CNC machining to manufacture research equipment, MRI devices, surgical implants and medical instruments.

Electronic Devices

Electronic devices are part of our daily lives as they are part of business and consumer products. 5 Axis CNC machining helps produce the tiniest of components required for properly functioning these electronic devices. You can produce electronic housings, semiconductors, hardware, metal lath, heat sinks, and printed circuit boards.

Energy industry

Parts for the energy sector must conform to strict standards and specifications in order to prevent catastrophic failures. Additionally, when the industry uses unsuitable parts, it can often result in the entire system being crippled, leading to a loss of revenue for the companies involved. In the industry, 5-axis machining is used to manufacture drills and pistons.

Aerospace Industry

In this industry, parts are required with complex shapes and contoured corners. This industry uses 5-axis for complex geometries, which makes it the preferred process for machinists.


5-axis CNC machining helps to produce complex parts with high quality surface finishes. Although the initial cost is high, this machine helps save money and time in the long run. Due to the high accuracy of its parts, it is a machining process that is used in a wide range of industries, including aerospace, electronics and medicine.