Comparison with three-axis simultaneous milling

Milling can produce a good curved approximation of the surface. When using a ball-end tool for three-axis simultaneous milling, the tool can be guaranteed to cut to any coordinate point on the workpiece through linear feed motion in the x, y, and z axes, but the direction of the tool axis cannot be changed. The actual cutting speed at the point on the tool axis is zero, and the chip space in the center of the tool is also very small. If these points are involved in cutting, unfavorable cutting conditions will lead to a decrease in the quality of the machined surface, increased blade wear, and extended processing time, so that high-grade tool materials cannot be fully utilized.

Compared with three-axis linkage milling, five-axis linkage milling has a series of advantages. At this time, through the movement of the two rotating axes, the direction of the tool axis can be adjusted at any time, so that the angle between the milling cutter axis and the workpiece surface and the actual cutting speed remain unchanged. The tool path can be set more flexibly to meet the requirements for the given peak and valley depth of the workpiece surface. When using a ball-nose tool for machining, no matter what orientation the tool is relative to the workpiece, the chips are always separated on the hemispherical surface. Chips with the same geometry and dimensions are therefore always cut every time. What changes is the motion trajectory of the cutting edge when separating chips, as well as the cutting edge contact conditions and cutting geometric motion conditions determined thereby. In other words, the cutting process and geometric motion parameters can be influenced by purposefully changing and determining the orientation of the tool, and both can be optimized from aspects such as tool wear, surface quality and machining process stability.

Figure: Geometric motion relationship of five-axis milling of ball-end milling cutter

Of course, the CNC programming of five-axis linkage milling is relatively complex and requires higher computing power and speed of the computer numerical control (CNC) system. It requires each linear feed axis of the machine tool to make large compensation movements while avoiding interference and collisions. Therefore, in mold manufacturing, only the advantages of five-axis simultaneous milling can be used to process workpieces within a certain range.

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