Hurco Taking advantage of 5-axis machining strategies

Editor: Barbara Schulz

Germany – A look at the misinformation that prevents mouldmakers from taking advantage of 5-axis machining strategies to shorten total machining times. By Michael Cope, Senior Applications Engineer from Hurco

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Using simultaneous 5-axis machining instead of 3-axis machining supports increased feed rates due to the use of shorter, stouter tools. Additionally, you can achieve heavier cuts, and Z-depths are not a challenge.
Using simultaneous 5-axis machining instead of 3-axis machining supports increased feed rates due to the use of shorter, stouter tools. Additionally, you can achieve heavier cuts, and Z-depths are not a challenge.
(Source: Hurco)

Five-axis machining allows the use of shorter tools, enabling you to push faster with increased feed rates. When using simultaneous 5-axis machining for mould work, especially deep-cavity moulds or tall-core moulds, you can make heavier cuts, and Z depths do not present a problem. This yields shorter total machining time.

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Simultaneous 5-axis or 5-sided (3+2) machining

Some products require simultaneous movement (true 5-axis) to allow the tool to reach complicated features on the workpiece. However, the majority of parts can be successfully machined by using the two additional rotary axes to position the part at some designated angular orientation and by using a 3-axis tool path to machine the necessary characteristics. Mould work is an instance where a 5-axis machining centre is a worthwhile consideration, especially for deep-cavity moulds or tall-core moulds.

Jason Vawter, general manager of North Vernon, Indiana-based Injection Mold, attests to the true value of employing 5-axis machining for mould manufacture: “The longer we use our 5-axis machining centre, the more applications we uncover. For example, we had a multi-cavity tool with multiple slides per cavity. Each slide had 20-degree-angle holes as well as a 25-degree angle on the back with tapped holes. Prior to our 5-axis machine, machining these would require one setup for each operation on a 3-axis mill and five setups with an hour to an hour-and-a-half on each block. 5-axis machining permitted one setup and 20 minutes for each piece.”

Efficiency at maximum precision

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Despite such success, myths and misconceptions regarding 5-axis technology still persist, especially when it comes to its limitations within mould and die work. Before we review some of the more common myths, it’s important to understand the difference between full 5-axis machining and 5-sided machining, in addition to the variety of terminology that is used interchangeably and which has contributed to confusion about the true potential of 5-axis machining.

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