by Kat Griffin Kat Griffin

5axis CNC machiningA 5-axis CNC machine is a type of computer numerical control (CNC) machining tool that has the capability to move a cutting tool or workpiece in five axes simultaneously. These axes are typically labeled as X, Y, Z, A, and B, and they represent different directions of movement:

  • X-axis: Horizontal movement from left to right.
  • Y-axis: Horizontal movement from front to back.
  • Z-axis: Vertical movement up and down.
  • A-axis: Rotation around the X-axis, often referred to as the “tilt” axis.
  • B-axis: Rotation around the Y-axis, often referred to as the “rotary” axis.

Traditional 3-axis machining is suitable for producing parts with relatively simple geometries. 5-axis machining offers several advantages over traditional 3-axis machining.


Here are 6 advantages of 5-axis CNC machining:


  1. Enhanced Precision:
    With the ability to move in five different directions simultaneously, 5-axis CNC machines can achieve much higher levels of precision and accuracy. This is especially important for complex and intricate parts where tight tolerances are required.
  2. Complex Geometries:
    5-axis machining allows for the production of parts with complex geometries that would be difficult or impossible to achieve with traditional 3-axis machines. It can easily handle features like undercuts, angled surfaces, and compound curves.
  3. Improved Surface Finish:
    The multi-axis movement of the cutting tool allows for better surface finishes. This is especially important for applications where a smooth finish is required, such as aerospace components or medical implants.
  4. Decreased Tool Interference:
    5-axis CNC machining reduces tool interference since the machine can tilt and rotate the cutting tool to avoid obstacles on the workpiece. This minimizes the risk of tool collisions and damage, increasing tool life and reducing downtime.
  5. Single Setup:
    In 5-axis machining, a single setup can often complete a part that would require multiple setups on a 3-axis machine. This simplifies the machining process, reduces errors, and increases overall efficiency. This efficiency translates into shorter lead times and lower production costs.
  6. Cost-Effective:
    While 5-axis CNC machines have a higher initial cost compared to 3-axis machines, they can be more cost-effective for manufacturing complex parts in the long run. The reduction in setup times, improved precision, and versatility make them a valuable investment for industries like aerospace, automotive, and medical manufacturing.



5-axis CNC machines equip companies like MWI with the capability to create more elaborate and accurate components while streamlining production processes. These versatile machines are valuable assets in industries that require high precision and complexity in their manufacturing procedures.