4-axis CNC machining involves a total of four degrees of freedom. This means that either the tool or the workpiece can be moved/rotated along four axes. Therefore, the machinability is significantly higher than 3-axis CNC machining. Having a 4th axis allows the manufacture of more complex parts. It can also be used to increase the number of parts you can use at one time. Therefore, manufacturers are very fond of 4 - axis CNC machining as an economical way to increase production capacity.
1. Improve production capacity. Your part design may not require 4-axis CNC machining. However, if you want to increase your production capacity, you can use a 4-axis CNC machine to increase the number of parts that can be machined at one time, which is especially useful for machining large numbers of small parts. Setting up workpieces for each part is time-consuming and hinders production, in which case all you need is a positioning 4 - axis CNC machine with a tombstone fixture.
2. Refine cylindrical objects. The fourth axis is a rotation axis. Therefore, the workpiece can be freely rotated and machined at the same time like a CNC lathe. Thus, intricate details can be achieved on cylindrical objects with 4 - axis CNC machining. CAM programming is also simpler thanks to the 4th axis capability.
3. Processing sharp corners. With the help of the 4th axis, parts with sharp edges on the ends or sides can be easily machined. The part can simply be rotated at the right angle so that it can be end milled without problems. It is especially useful for introducing edge features in cylindrical parts. 4th axis rotation allows milling of edges while turning cylindrical features. So you don't need to switch between mills and lathes to finish parts.
The main advantages of 4 - axis CNC machining over 3 - axis CNC machining are as follows :
1. Fewer setup changes: 4 -axis CNC machining allows parts to be processed from four different angles. This minimizes the need for unnecessary settings changes.
2. Higher production capacity: Compared with 3- axis machining, 4-axis CNC machining can process more parts. Using a tombstone fixture in a 4 -axis machine can more than quadruple the number of parts you can machine at one time.
3. More efficient: any 3 - axis CNC router can be converted into a 4-axis CNC router. It requires a fairly small investment. But compared with the three-axis CNC router, it greatly improves the production speed and capacity.
4. Supports milling and turning: It is much easier to machine cylindrical features with a 4 -axis CNC machine. Unlike 3 -axis machines, both milling and turning of parts can be done on one machine.