The Difference Between 5-axis and 3-axis Laser Cutting

When selecting a laser-cutting solution for your part or component, it’s important to consider whether a 3-axis or 5-axis machine is necessary. While 3-axis laser cutting machines are capable of producing traditional parts, 5-axis machines can create more intricate components in a shorter amount of time and with greater precision. At Metal Craft, we take pride in delivering the optimal solution for your specific part or project.

Click to Enlarge

The Difference Between 5-axis and 3-axis Laser Cutting

What Is a 3-axis Machine?

A 3-axis machine is set up by an operator using computer instructions. The machine works on 3 axes — X, Y, and Z — using a cutting tool. This means it can cut in left, right, up, down, front, and back motions to manufacture parts. 3-axis machines are ideal for conventional part shapes and simple geometries but may require an operator’s intervention to reposition workpieces for more complex shapes because it is limited to 3 axes.

Benefits of 3-axis Laser Cutting

The primary benefit of 3-axis laser cutting is that it can create simple, rapid prototypes without the expense of a 5-axis machine. It increases the degree of freedom compared to traditional cutting methods and allows for a broad range of shapes and surface finishes.

What Is a 5-axis Machine?

A 5-axis machine works on the X, Y, and Z axes like a 3-axis machine, with the addition of A and B axes. This allows the tool to rotate front or back around the X-axis and left or right around the Y-axis. The 5-axis machine eliminates the need for an operator to reposition the workpiece and comes in two varieties, 5-axis, and 3+2-axis machines. It can achieve more complex geometries, planar compound angles, curves, and organic shapes that typically require molding with a high-quality finish.

Benefits of 5-axis Laser Cutting

5-axis laser cutting provides various advantages over 3-axis laser cutting. It offers the following benefits:

  • Improved flexibility to design and manufacture various parts and highly complex 3D components
  • High efficiency for high-volume leads, quicker machining speeds, and continuous operation
  • Produce larger part sizes and require fewer tooling changes and intervention
  • Parts require less setup time and secondary processes or finishing

Choosing 5-axis Over 3-axis CNC Laser Cutting

A 5-axis machine offers all the functionality of a 3-axis machine and can produce more complex 3D components. It is the preferred method of producing industrial parts with high precision for the aerospace, oil and gas, and medical industries. A 5-axis machine is ideal for producing deep and complex parts, reducing the time and operator interference required to manufacture them. Its operation can be completely automated and provides high-accuracy finished components.

Why Work With Metal Craft?

Metal Craft offers engineering services to design and produce solutions for our client’s needs. We offer 5-axis laser cutting, metal spinning, and metal stamping. The eight reasons to choose Metal Craft include:

  • CNC automation
  • Customer-first approach
  • Experience
  • Flexibility
  • Hassle-free shipping
  • Quality
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Design advisory

Contact Our Experts for Premium Laser Cutting Solutions

While 3-axis machines can create conventional shapes and geometries, 5-axis laser cutting is ideal for complex shapes and geometries. Metal Craft has been delivering quality metal services since 1969. With over 50 years of experience, we can provide you complete engineering and laser-cutting solutions. Contact us or request a quote for more details about our capabilities.