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The Number of Axes in CNC Milling

In CNC milling services, the terms 3-axis, 4-axis, and 5-axis refer to the number of axes that the cutting tool can move along simultaneously.

3-Axis CNC Milling

In a 3-axis CNC milling machine, the cutting tool moves along the X, Y, and Z axes simultaneously. This allows for cutting and shaping of a workpiece in three dimensions.

4-Axis CNC Milling

In a 4-axis CNC milling machine, the cutting tool moves along the X, Y, Z, and an additional rotary axis simultaneously. The rotary axis is usually the A-axis or B-axis, which allows the cutting tool to rotate around the workpiece. This additional axis enables the milling machine to produce more complex geometries that are difficult to create with 3-axis machines.

5-Axis CNC Milling

In a 5-axis CNC milling machine, the cutting tool can move along the X, Y, Z, and two additional rotary axes simultaneously. These rotary axes are usually the A-axis and B-axis, but can also include a C-axis. This type of milling machine allows for more complex machining operations, such as creating curved surfaces and sculpted parts.

As the number of axes increases, the complexity of the parts that can be machined increases as well. However, machines with more axes tend to be more expensive and require more skilled operators to program and operate.

While 3-axis CNC milling is a simpler and more affordable option compared to 4-axis or 5-axis milling, there are still some complications and limitations that can arise:

Limited Range of Motion

3-axis machines are limited to moving the cutting tool along the X, Y, and Z axes, which means they can only create geometries that are perpendicular to these axes. This can make it difficult to create complex shapes or parts that require more advanced cutting techniques.

Difficulty with Undercuts

Undercuts are areas of a workpiece that are difficult to machine because the cutting tool cannot access them directly. In 3-axis milling, undercuts can be particularly challenging because the tool can only approach the workpiece from certain angles.

Increased Setup Time

Depending on the complexity of the part being machined, setting up a 3-axis milling machine can be time-consuming. The operator must carefully position the workpiece and ensure that the cutting tool is programmed to make the correct cuts in the correct locations.

Higher Risk of Tool Breakage

Because the cutting tool is only able to move in three directions, it may encounter obstacles or hard spots in the workpiece that can cause it to break. This can be particularly problematic when machining hard materials like metals or ceramics.

Lower Efficiency

Compared to 4-axis or 5-axis milling, 3-axis milling is generally less efficient and may require more passes to achieve the desired shape or finish. This can increase production time and cost.

Despite these limitations, 3-axis milling can still be a viable option for many machining applications, particularly for simpler parts or prototypes.

Dat Chi Technology (Malaysia) have been in operation as an active industry player of within this related field of CNC milling services since 1997 till to date. Dat Chi Technology (Malaysia) is an expert in specific to 3-axis CNC milling services. They have now grown into a well-established company with a team of more than fifty (50) well-trained employees with professional workmanship, which also includes five (5) professional and certified machinists. They have successfully invested into the latest advanced technology equipment and built production centres, both locally and globally, comprising of a total line up of thirty-five (35) units of the world class machineries. Thus, gearing Dat Chi Technology forward with the abilities to deliver high-end and high precision engineering products in compliance to its existing and potential client's strict product specifications and delivery timeline.

Dat Chi Technology (Malaysia) is located at:


No. 83, Jalan Tiaj 1/3,

Taman Industri Alam Jaya, Bandar Puncak Alam,

42300 Puncak Alam,

Selangor, Malaysia.

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