Are you a machinist or CNC operator looking to improve your manufacturing processes? Then you might have heard about the term "4th axis" in CNC machining. The 4th Axis is an essential feature that allows for the cutting head to rotate, making it possible to machine complex curves and shapes. But what exactly is a "true" 4th axis and how does it differ from a "fake" one?
What is a 4th Axis in CNC Machining?
A true 4th Axis is a rotary axis that allows the cutting head to rotate around the X, Y, and Z-axes. It is capable of continuous rotation, meaning it can rotate 360 degrees without stopping. A true 4th Axis is also known as a rotary table or a trunnion table. It is a crucial component of a CNC machine that enables it to machine complex curves, shapes, and contours.
Real 4th Axis vs. Fake 4th Axis: What's the Difference?
The term "fake" 4th axis refers to a component that rotates the workpiece, but it's not a true 4th axis in the context of CNC machining. A real 4th axis is designed specifically for CNC applications and offers precise positioning, high torque, and compatibility with the CNC control system.
A fake 4th Axis, on the other hand, is a simple indexer that can only rotate to predetermined positions. It is limited to running either X/Z/A or Y/Z/A simultaneously, necessitating the disabling of either the X-axis or Y-axis instead of enabling rotary (A-axis) functionality. It is also known as a limited-axis indexer. The cutting head is moved to the predetermined position, and then the indexer rotates to the next position. This process is repeated until the desired shape or contour is achieved. A fake 4th Axis is cheaper and easier to implement than a true 4th Axis. However, it has limitations in terms of the complexity of the shapes and contours it can machine. It is also less accurate than a true 4th Axis because of its limited range of motion.
The hardware and software configuration of the true 4th axis is superior to that of the fake one. The true 4th axis has the capability to cut slots at any angle on a cylindrical object, whereas the fake 4th axis can only produce slots at a fixed 90-degree angle.
Advantages of a True 4th Axis
A true 4th Axis offers several advantages over a fake one. It allows for continuous rotation, making it possible to machine complex curves and shapes accurately. It also reduces the number of setups required to machine a part, which saves time and increases productivity. A true 4th Axis also improves accuracy by eliminating errors caused by multiple setups.
In conclusion, a true 4th Axis is a rotary axis that allows for continuous rotation, making it possible to machine complex curves and shapes accurately. A fake 4th Axis, on the other hand, is a simple indexer that can only rotate to predetermined positions. While a fake 4th Axis is cheaper and easier to implement, it has limitations in terms of the complexity of the shapes and contours it can machine. A true 4th Axis offers several advantages over a fake one, including increased accuracy, productivity, and reduced setup time. When considering a CNC machine, it is essential to understand the type of 4th Axis it has and its capabilities.
Genmitsu has launched the new true 4th axis for the 4040-PRO CNC router. Shop now to get more information: https://www.sainsmart.com/products/4040pro-4-axis