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What is 4-Axis Machining Center

The 4-axis machining center involves a similar process in 3-axis machining, in which the material is removed using a cutting tool. Then, it can produce the desired profile and shape. The 4-axis machining center can work on the X, Y, and Z axes, but includes rotation around X-axis, also called the A-axis. It is ideal when cut-outs and holes need to be created around a cylinder. This machine can provide systematic and quick work based.

What is The Difference Between 5-Axis and 4-Axis Machining Center?

Below are the differences between 5-axis and 4-axis machining centers:

  1. DIFFERENCE IN AXIS

The 5-axis CNC machining possesses two extra axes, such as A-, B-, or C-axis, depending on the configuration. While the 4-axis machining center has an additional axis, which is the A-axis.

  1. ROTATION IN AXIS

5-axis CNC machine enables rotation on the A-, B-, or C-axis. While 4-axis machining allows A-axis rotation.

  1. FLEXIBILITY

The 5-axis machining center has an additional axis compared to the 4-axis machining. The additional extra allows the 5-axis machining center an extra edge over the 4-axis machining center when it comes to flexibility.

4-Axis CNC Machining Application

The 4-axis CNC machining is crucial in many applications related to manufacturing. They are functional in producing deep cavities mold, machining on part’s tilted surface, and producing complicated 3D shapes. All can be done without compromising precision.

Three Things to Consider When Choosing 4-Axis Machining Center

1. Your Budget

The 4-axis machining center is more inexpensive compared to the 5-axis machining. The primary reason is when you move from 3-axis to 4-axis to 5-axis, the features, functions, and capability increases.

2. Your Requirements

For projects that deal with producing simple and small parts, you should go for 4-axis and 3-axis. For complex parts, 5-axis CNC machining is ideal.

3. Operating Procedures

The higher the axis number, the more complex it is to work. For the simplest operating procedure, the 3-axis is ideal, followed by the 4-axis machining center.

Features and Benefits

The 4-axis CNC machining allows more complicated parts production. It can also increase the part numbers you can operate with at a time. Most manufacturers prefer 4-axis machining as an efficient process for improving production capabilities.

Additional Advantages

  • Easy to work with pallet automation or workpiece
  • Individually configure and extremely standardized
  • Can be utilized for any range of materials and large parts
  • Ideal for small to medium batch sizes production
  • Numerous sizes are ideal for any workpiece
  • Wide range of powerful machining items with their own tool shank sizes
  • High longevity and availability due to its reliable, robust technology
  • Short and top-performance non-productive times for higher productivity
  • Horizontal spindle for higher chip fall
  • Designed for highly resilient and high process stability up to limits
Machine Concept

The topology-optimized and rigid design structural parts are the basis on which the 4-axis machining center gains its high accuracy and high cutting performance. Top quality is also the basis for high productivity.

Main Components

Tombstone

This component is exclusive for 4-axis machining. The arrangement of this component is like a tower with multiple mounting points for the workpiece. It is rotated with the fourth axis to access more surface area and parts. Tombstone components are mostly found in horizontal and vertical CNC machines.

Chucks

Lathe chucks or chucks are broadly utilized for workpiece clamping with the fourth axis when the tombstone is not used. When turning and milling are required, this component is used. But you can work only with a single part at a time.

Vise

This component performs as a workpiece’s mounting surface. It is commonly used for 4-axis vertical CNC machining. The vise allows an entry of the workpiece from 3 directions. Additionally, the vise can be mounted on the surface of the tombstone, enabling you to machine additional parts at one time.

Working Principle

The process of the 4-axis machining center is divided into three steps:

  1. Programming

Programming can be done through a CAM program. It creates an ideal toolpath for the CNC machine. The rotation speed, machining sequence, and tool selection can be recognized in the CAM program.

  1. Workholding

The fourth axis chuck is carefully clamped by a workpiece. The tombstone component is connected to the 4-axis which serves as a mounting surface for various parts. This means, that the multiple tasks of machining are completed in one go with hassle-free workpiece calibrating.

  1. Machining

The 4-axis machining center can work both turning and milling operations. It can be worked through code feeding created by the CAM program.

Different Types of Four-Axis Machining Center

Positional (3+1 Axis) 4-Axis Machining Center

This type of machine is generated by the upgraded version of a 3-axis. Its function is similar to the 3-axis machine. However, 4-axis can be rotated along the x-axis.

Simultaneous 4-Axis Machining Center (True 4-Axis)

This machine can use all four axes. It enables more complicated details as the workpiece and tools can rotate and move at one time.

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