5/1/2014

Mold Work Makes Five-Axis Worthy of Consideration

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The business case for five-axis machining.

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Just because you don't do simultaneous five-axis machining doesn't mean that your shop can't benefit from a five-axis machine.

Mold work is an instance where simultaneous five-axis is a worthwhile consideration, depending upon the mold. Manufacturing molds on a three-axis machining center has limitations, especially for deep cavity molds or tall core molds.

While you can use a three-axis machining center for mold work, long, skinny tools are necessary if you have a deep-cavity mold. With long, skinny tools, you have to slow down the feedrates to minimize chatter and prevent tool breakage. Often, you can’t achieve the quality of surface finish you need using three-axis machining for mold work. For fine finishing operations, especially on small diameter molds, three-axis machining can make the process more difficult than it needs to be.

With simultaneous five-axis machining, you can use shorter, stouter tools, which means you can push faster with increased feedrates. Using simultaneous five-axis machining for mold work means you can take heavier cuts and z-depths aren’t a problem. All of this results in shorter total machining time.

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