• June 21, 2024
  • Shatou, Changan, Dongguan, CN
3-Axis CNC Machining

What is 3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis CNC machining?

CNC machining is classified by the number of axes it operates in. These movements determine the part features that can be manufactured and also affect productivity and accuracy.

In general, the more degrees of freedom available, the more complex the geometry that can be produced, most commonly with 3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis milling machines.

In this article, you will learn about 3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis CNC machining. This will include an introduction to their basic principles, the differences and how to choose one for your machining project.

3-Axis CNC Machining: Definition and Principle

1, What is 3-axis CNC machining?

3-axis CNC machining is a CNC machining method that controls the X, Y and Z axes respectively to machine the workpiece.

2,  Explanation of 3-dimensional coordinate system

The 3-dimensional coordinate system consists of X, Y and Z axes respectively. The X and Y axes form the horizontal plane and the Z axis is perpendicular to the horizontal plane, which is used to position and move the tools (such as tools, drills, milling tools, etc.).

3, Control of the three-axis machining route

The control of 3-axis machining route needs to determine the starting point, ending point and machining trajectory of the tool head. The controller needs to control the position and direction of the tool relative to the workpiece based on mathematical calculation to achieve the preset shape and size of the workpiece.

4-axis CNC machining: definition and applicable scenarios

1, What is 4-axis CNC machining?

4-axis CNC machining is to add rotation axis direction to 3-axis, usually rotating around X, Y or Z axis, so that the tool can cut or machine at any position on the workpiece surface.

2, Features and advantages of 4-axis machining

Four-axis machining enables workpieces to be machined from all angles, improving efficiency and quality for workpieces with complex shapes, variable shapes, or those requiring multi-angle cutting.

3, Applicable scenarios and applications

4-axis machining is widely used in automotive, aviation and aerospace fields, such as radiator, turbine blade, deflector, staircase handrail and other workpieces that need multi-angle cutting or machining.

5-axis CNC machining: definition and technical implementation

1, What is 5-axis CNC machining?

5-axis CNC machining is to add rotation axis direction to 4-axis, so that the tool can cut or machine in multiple planes or multiple angles.

2, The principle and technical realization of 5-axis machining

Five-axis machining needs to determine the rotation direction, rotation angle and cutting direction of each axis according to the design of the workpiece, and control the rotation and motion trajectory of each direction axially through the controller during the machining process, so that the tool can cut or engrave complex shapes precisely.

3, Applications and limitations of 5-axis machining

Five-axis machining is mainly used in the fields of aviation, aerospace, automotive and mold manufacturing, such as metal engraving, grooving and fine parts, etc. For large workpieces or heavy workpieces, five-axis machining may have limitations.

The development trend of CNC machining and future prospects

1, The development history of CNC machining technology

CNC machining technology has been developed over the years, from tool CNC, milling machine CNC to multi-axis, high-speed, five-axis machining, the technology continues to innovate and improve, and the application areas have been expanded.

2, The digital transformation and intelligent development trend of manufacturing industry

With the digital transformation of the manufacturing industry and the development trend of intelligence, CNC machining technology will be more intelligent and efficient, such as the application of the Internet and big data technology in the manufacturing industry, will effectively improve production efficiency and quality.

3, The future development direction and challenges of CNC machining

CNC machining technology will pay more attention to accuracy, speed and reliability in the future, while facing challenges in energy consumption, environmental protection and cost. In addition, strengthening human-machine interaction and intelligent manufacturing are also the future development direction of CNC machining technology.


Beginners should understand the differences between 3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis CNC machining, as most CNC machines use these machining processes. While there are many advantages to using 5-axis machines, not all products are suitable for 5-axis CNC machining, and products suitable for 3-axis CNC machining may not be suitable for 5-axis machining. If you need a high quality product that is custom made, consider contacting the jmproto team and we will be happy to assist you.

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