First, you had X, Y, and Z. That was hard enough. And now you can cut on the A and B axis too.
It can be a little intimidating when you’re just learning 5-axis machining for the first time. Don’t worry though – you have absolutely nothing to be afraid of.
Cutting on all 5 axes isn’t as tough as you think. So relax, take a deep breath, and read these tips to make your first 5-axis machining experiences as successful as possible:
Should You Have a CAM System?
In the overwhelming majority of situations, no, you do not need one. If you only need to program 2D and 2.5D 3-axis work on different sides of the same part, you can use conversational programming to do the job.
However, if you do need to run full 5-axis simultaneous work, you do need a CAM system. But, this only happens in about 20% of all situations, and maybe even fewer than that.
Will I Have Any Additional Maintenance Costs?
If you do, they’ll be minor at the very worst. That’s because really the only additional check you may need to make would be to re-measure the centerlines for the A and B axes. You might want to do this annually to make sure all the cuts are done right.
The CAM Software You Should Use
Good news: if you’re happy with your current CAM software, you don’t need to make a change. So, that’s not absolutely essential for doing the job.
However, you may want to consider making a change if you just tolerate your software and have been thinking about a change for some time already. As you know, some CAM software manufacturers make a better product than others.
The Main Difference Between a 5-Axis and 3-Axis Setup
To help ease your fear about trying this new setup, take a look at an example. Say you’re cutting a part that would benefit from a 5-axis setup. Normally, you’d manually flip the part and do more setups to finish the work. However, with a 5-axis setup, you simply program the parts you would normally setup manually.
You do the entire setup just like you would do a manual one. You first create an origin point. Then you create a work plane your tool axis will be perpendicular to. Finally, you program the 3 axis geometry needed to finish that side of the piece.
That’s it. Nothing to be too worried about at all. And the best part yet? You’ll be so much more efficient in your production.