5-Axis Machining Alternatives
There are currently three alternatives to achieving full 5-axis machining capabilities:
Dedicated 5-axis Machining Center
There are currently more than fifteen (15) original equipment manufacturers of 5-axis machining centers sold in the U.S. These manufacturers include all of the biggest names in manufacturing technology including: Cincinnati Machine, SNK, Makino, Haas Automation, Deckle-Maho, Nicholas-Correa, Okuma, Toshiba, Mitsubishi and Zimmerman.
The majority of these machining centers are large, powerful, accurate and
expensive with prices averaging well above $500,000. The least expensive 5-axis
machining centers on the market today have a starting price of about $250,000. The chief draw-back of the dedicated 5-axis machines is their range of motion which is generally limited to (+/- 30°). Work pieces that require a steeper angle of cut must be manually repositioned and restarted. Also, these machines are significantly less rigid than a 3-axis machine of the same size and class.
A relative newcomer to this market are the trunnion style 5-axis machining center which allows the machine bed to tilt and rotate thereby providing access to all 5 sides of a part exactly as a performed by tilting-rotary tables (see below). Unfortunately, this design severely limits both the size and weight of the parts that may be machined, reducing the accessible machine envelope by up to 60%.
Tilting / Rotary Table
Spindle Head Attachment
Tri-Tech Model 5414 spindle head attachment is fully programmable and can
be used to convert nearly any 3-axis CNC machine to a true, simultaneous
5-axis machining center. The M5414 has a wide range of motion including tilt
capability of +/- 90° and continuous 360° rotary motion. Because the M5414 is
a spindle attachment, it can access all points of the machining center's work
envelope. The M5414 is portable and can be mounted, in less than thirty (30) minutes, with no modification to the host machine. At 150 pounds, the M5414 is a heavy duty attachment yet compact enough to attach to many smaller to mid-size machines.
While the low priced 5-axis machining centers are fairly rigid, they cannot match the rigidity of their 3-axis counterparts for significant metal removal. The M5414 allows the user to perform all significant metal removal using the heavy duty 3-axis machining center then mount the M5414 attachment to complete 5-axis profiling, holes, pockets, etc. using up to 3/4" cutting tools.
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