What is the difference between 3 and 4 axis CNC Machining?

Mosi Li
Mosi Li

Director Project Engineer at 3Q Machining - China top CNC Machining Custom Part Manufacturer

What is CNC Machining

CNC machining is a manufacturing technique for removing material. It uses sharp cutting tools, available in a variety of shapes and sizes, which are precisely controlled by a computer. CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control.

How CNC machining works

CNC machining starts with a computer, on which designers prepare a part using CAD (Computer-aided Design) software. This digital part is then converted into a format that can be recognized by a CNC machine.

Instructions are sent to the CNC machine in the form of  “G-Code” after which the machine can start cutting.

Most CNC machines have a “worktable” and work holding device to keep a block of material — known as the “workpiece” — in place. The worktable may or may not move, depending on the style of the machine.

When machining starts, the cutting tool makes contact with the workpiece, cutting away layers of material. The tool and/or workpiece is moved and/or rapidly rotated according to the G-Code instructions so that cuts are made in exactly the right places until the part is finished.

Different types of CNC machine

CNC machines include CNC mills, CNC turning machines (or lathes), CNC routers, and Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) machines.

CNC mills have rotating cutting tools that are moved to different areas of the workpiece to make cuts and can be used to make many different pats. CNC lathes work the other way, rotating the workpiece against a stationary cutting tool, and are used to make cylindrical parts.

CNC routers are similar to CNC mills, but have less power and cannot cut the hardest materials. They can, however, be faster than CNC mills.

EDM uses electrical discharges (sparks) instead of a sharp cutting tool to cut material. No physical contact is made between the tool and the workpiece.

CNC machines are often defined by their number of axes. More axes mean they can move their tool and/or workpiece in a greater number of ways, giving greater cutting flexibility and the ability to make more complex parts in a shorter time.

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What is 3 axis CNC Machining

What is 3 axis CNC MachiningThe 3 Axis CNC Machining machines that operate along different axis points. CNC routing removes material from the workpiece until the required shape/specification is achieved.

These cnc machines have at least a 3 axes and operate along an XYZ plane: X axis (vertical), Y axis (horizontal), and a Z axis (depth).

 

The number of axis on a CNC machine determines the type of work it can do, the level of detail it can cut, and the workpiece locations it can manipulate, also the efficiency and cost.

3 axis cnc machining implies that the workpiece remains in the same position while the cutting tool operates along the XYZ plane to trim away material. This is suitable for parts that don’t require a lot of depth and detailing. 3 axis machining is most commonly used to produce mechanical components and parts.

Three axis CNC machining: generally refers to three axis that move linearly in different directions, such as up and down, front and back, left and right. Three axis can only process one surface at a time, which is suitable for processing some disc parts.

 

What Is a CNC Router

What is 4 axis CNC Machining

4-Axis CNC Machining involves the same processes involved in 3-axis machining, where a cutting tool is used to remove material from a piece to create the desired shape and specifications. However, in the case of 4-axes cnc machining, milling is performed on an additional axis. A 4-axis CNC machine operates on the X,Y and Z axes like a 3-axis machine, but it also includes rotation around the X-axis, which is called the B-axis. This is the 4th axis that’s added to our cnc machining process. In most cases, the workpiece will be rotated to allow for cutting to occur around the B-axis.

4 Axis Cnc Machining

4-axis cnc machining is useful when holes and cut-outs need to be made in the side of a piece or around a cylinder. They can provide quick and efficient work based off computer numerical inputs for precise results.

4-axis CNC machining: Add a rotation axis to the three axis, generally 360° rotation on the horizontal plane. But it cannot rotate at high speed. Suitable for processing some box parts.

The Characteristics Of CNC Machining And How To Improve The Efficiency Of CNC Machining

What is the difference between 3 and 4 axis CNC Machining?

The major difference between the 3 and 4 axis CNC Machining is there’s an additional rotation axis on the 4 axis cnc machining to allow it to machine parts in the side or around of a piece, to have quick and efficient work based off computer numerical inputs for more complex precise parts.

3 Axis CNC MACHINING

3 Axis CNC MACHINING

4 Axis CNC MACHINING

4 Axis CNC MACHINING

Our Advantages of CNC Machining

There are huge numbers of CNC machining service providers. Why should you choose us? Here are the top 3 reasons:

1. Experience
Our engineers have built up rich, deep experience from many previous projects, so they can handle complex and precision parts in several industries without a problem.

2. Advanced Equipment
3Q machining has extensive in-house equipment for both manufacturing and testing. Your parts will be manufactured and inspected with our advanced in-house equipment, including HAAS 3-, 4-, and 5-axis CNC milling, Hexagon CMM, and Olympus XRF analyzer

3. Fast Turnaround
On average we return quotes within 24 hours, parts ship within 7 days or less, and we have a 99% on-time delivery and quality rate.

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