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3 axis CNC router VS 4 axis CNC router VS 5 axis CNC router

Author: Jack; Last Modify: May 19, 2020

According to the processing path of the CNC router, CNC Router machine are generally divided into 3 axis CNC router, 4 axis CNC router, and 5axis CNC router. Choosing the right type of CNC router can effectively reduce equipment purchase costs and complete work efficiently. This article introduces the different types of CNC router with different axes to give you a better understanding of CNC engraving machines and help you choose the right CNC router model to achieve your desired processing results.

Before we start to introduce the CNC router, let's clarify the concept of the axis. In CNC machining, the axes we usually refer to the three linear coordinates such as X, Y and Z of the Cartesian three-dimensional coordinate system and the rotation coordinates like A, B and C that rotate around the three linear coordinate systems. Further, we refer to the coordinates rotating around X as A, the coordinates rotating around Y as B, and the coordinates rotating around Z as C. For each additional axis, two forward and reverse directions of motion are added. The pictures below will make you understand them more vividly.

cnc router processing path Processing path of cnc router

Through different combinations of three, four, and five axes, we manufacture 3 axis CNC, 4 axis CNC, and 5 axis CNC machine. Each additional axis means that the machine tool has two more movement directions, and more movement directions means that the machine tool has more processing angles and can process more complicated geometric shapes model. According to the processing path and processing direction of the CNC router, we classify the machine tools as follows.

cnc router Processing path of cnc router

3 Axis CNC Router

The 3 axis engraving machine refers to a basic CNC machine, which is processed by a linear motion in three directions of XYZ, and is driven by a stepper motor or a servo motor to achieve simultaneous movement in three directions. The structure and movement form of the three-axis engraving machine are relatively simple. The direction of the tool will not change during processing. The most effective processing surface is only the surface of the workpiece. Due to the structural advantages, 3 axis CNC machine can achieve very large machining strokes. At the same time, the programming of the three-axis engraving machine is relatively simple, so the three-axis engraving machine is suitable for beginners or novices in the CNC industry. Although the 3 axis engraving machine is an entry-level CNC router in the field of numerical control processing, its low cost and easy operation make it one of the most important production equipment.

According to different processing requirements, we modified the process based on the three-axis structure and thus produced a 3 axis CNC machine with multiple spindles. This type of multi-spindle 3-axis engraving machine can achieve independent operation of multiple spindles or synchronous movement of multiple spindles. The following are different types of three-axis engraving machine to help you understand their structural form.

3 axis cnc router
Single spindle CNC router

3 axis cnc router Double Spindle ATC CNC router

 4 processes cnc router Four processes CNC router

2 z axis drive eight spindle cnc router Two z axis drive eight spindle CNC router

What 3 axis CNC router can be used for?

3 axis CNC router can be used to process a variety of non-metal materials such as acrylic organic board, PVC board, hibiscus board, two-color board, wood board, density board, marble, fire board, rubber board, glass, crystal, etc. It can also be used for carving, cutting, making art reliefs, and panel furniture. In addition, this 3-axis engraving machine can also achieve a variety of complex cutting interface work piece processing by adopting a variety of tools.

4 axis CNC router refers to the addition of a device that can rotate around a certain linear coordinate axis on the basis of three axes. The processing path of this type of 4 axis engraving machine consists of XYZ A, XYZ B and XYZ C. According to the installation method and movement mode of the rotary device, we divide the 4 axis CNC router into a rotary axis CNC router and a 4 axis CNC router. Rotary axis engraving machine adopts three-axis linkage and four-axis linkage mode. When the rotary device is mounted horizontally, the rotation axis is parallel to the X axis. When the rotary device is installed vertically, the rotary axis is parallel to the Y axis. 4 axis engraving machine adopts four-axis linkage and four-axis linkage. The spindle can swing left and right and parallel to the Y axis. Rotary axis engraving machine can only realize three axes simultaneously. The extension of the tool axis can only intersect the rotation axis from an angle. So the tool can only cut the workpiece at a fixed angle. The advantage of the four-axis engraving machine with this structure is that it can effectively process four processing surfaces, especially when processing cylindrical and four-sided three-dimensional workpieces, greatly reducing the number of clamping times, and making multi-sided processing easier. And with the features of low cost, simple procedures to produce, this rotary axis CNC router is more suitable for products processing accuracy is not required and an efficient mass production can be realized by incorporating a plurality of synchronized spindle.

rotary axis cnc router

For a 4 axis CNC router, the tool can approach the workpiece from multiple different angles and efficiently process three effective machining surfaces. The advantage of this type of four-axis engraving machine is that it can make full use of the geometry of the tool, control the angle of the force, reduce the vibration of the force, extend the life of the tool, thereby enhancing the stability of the process and the accuracy of the process. Compared with the rotary axis CNC router, the 4 axis engraving machine uses a more accurate right-angle reducer in conjunction with a planetary gear reducer and a servo motor to achieve higher control accuracy of rotary motion.

 cnc router kit

This type of 4 axis engraving machine can realize the processing function of three-axis engraving machine, and is more suitable for the processing of three-dimensional models and the processing of large three-dimensional sculptures.

foam cnc router

5 Axis CNC router

The five-axis engraving machine refers to the addition of two devices that can rotate around a linear coordinate axis on the basis of three-axis linkage, to achieve a five-axis linkage processing method. The five-axis linkage processing path includes XYZ + AB, XYZ + AC, and XYZ + BC. According to the combined form of the rotary device with different structures, we are divided into the following five-axis CNC router forms such as one rotary table with one sway head, double sway head, double rotary table.
In other words, the 5 axis CNC router is to add two rotary axes on the basis of three axes, so that the tool can contact the workpiece from any angle.

 cnc router sample

The key to distinguish 5 axis CNC router is whether the machine tool has the RTCP function (Rotational Tool Center Point). As the name implies, the actual contact point between the tool and the workpiece surface will remain unchanged. On the normal line, the tool holder will rotate around the tool center point. For ball-end knives, the tool center point is the target track point of the NC code. In order to achieve the purpose that the tool holder can simply rotate around the target track point (that is, the tool center point) when performing the RTCP function, the offset of the linear coordinates of the tool center point caused by the tool holder rotation must be compensated in real time. It can change the angle between the tool holder and the normal line at the actual contact point between the tool and the workpiece surface while keeping the center point of the tool and the actual contact point between the tool and the workpiece surface. And effectively avoid interference and other effects.

5 axis cnc router

Compared with the three-axis engraving machine, the advantages of the five-axis engraving machine mainly focus on the following aspects: 1. The length of the tool has been greatly improved, the tool is more rigid, the vibration is smaller, and the accuracy is higher. 2. Reducing clamping time without special tooling fixtures to process special angles, which effectively improve production efficiency. 3. Due to the proper machining angle and contact method, the machining quality of the workpiece surface can be effectively improved.

cnc router application

Application of 5-axis machine tools: precision machining of five-sided three-dimensional sculptures, models and complex geometric surfaces.

The above is an introduction to 3 axis CNC router,4 axis CNC router and 5 axis engraving machines. Choosing the right type of machine tool is very important to control costs and improve efficiency. I hope this article will give you a preliminary understanding of the machine tool and help you choose the right CNC router.