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A 4- or 5-axis machining centre has one or two rotary axes in addition to the three linear axes X, Y, and Z. Depending on the machine and its kinematics, this can be the A-, B-, or C-axis. This axis configuration is defined in the standard DIN*66217. Every rotary axis is assigned to a linear axis. The A-axis turns around the X-axis, the B-axis turns around the Y-axis and the C-axis turns around the Z-axis.
In Figure 1 the axis configuration in accordance with DIN*66217 and the “right hand principle” are displayed. If you hold your right hand in front of your face like in the picture, then the Z-axis is seen from the front (middle finger). This is how the axis configuration can be best remembered.



Figure 1:  Coordinate system in accordance with DIN 66217​
 

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No offense but... 4/5 axis isnt happening for alot on here just
getting or have CNC machines nowheres near the capabilities.
Seems a bit much advanced. Maybe over at cnczone its worthy.

Unless @MT Stringer has something hidden going on.

That pic reminds me of a few times i have waved the "z-axis"
to a few people I knew, the x/y was stationary. That configuration
was definitely remembered.
 

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Rick
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No offense but... 4/5 axis isnt happening for alot on here just
getting or have CNC machines nowheres near the capabilities.
Seems a bit much advanced. Maybe over at cnczone its worthy.

Unless @MT Stringer has something hidden going on.

That pic reminds me of a few times i have waved the "z-axis"
to a few people I knew, the x/y was stationary. That configuration
was definitely remembered.
Right about now I'd be happy owning a cnc with just 3 axis :)
 

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Start with one Axis. Manual control. A router handheld or mounted in a table.
Nextwave has a 2-axis system. Router table mounted. Control of the fence distance from the bit is the 1st. For extra money you can get CNC control of bit height. You still have to manually move your wood over the bit. No 3D carving, profile cutting, V-carving, etc..

I could find use for 1 axis CNC control of a stop block (compound miter backstop) or fence distance (table saw or router table). I know someone makes a digital sliding stop block for miter saw stations.

4th axis is typically just a rotary attachment to a 3 axis CNC.

5th is tilt angle (4) and tilt direction (5) of the router/spindle. I could take advantage of such control on a more conventional 3-axis CNC bed. Dynamic tilting of the router bit as it runs around the edge of a coffee table top for instance.

4D
 

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Start with one Axis. Manual control. A router handheld or mounted in a table.
Nextwave has a 2-axis system. Router table mounted. Control of the fence distance from the bit is the 1st. For extra money you can get CNC control of bit height. You still have to manually move your wood over the bit. No 3D carving, profile cutting, V-carving, etc..

I could find use for 1 axis CNC control of a stop block (compound miter backstop) or fence distance (table saw or router table). I know someone makes a digital sliding stop block for miter saw stations.

4th axis is typically just a rotary attachment to a 3 axis CNC.

5th is tilt angle (4) and tilt direction (5) of the router/spindle. I could take advantage of such control on a more conventional 3-axis CNC bed. Dynamic tilting of the router bit as it runs around the edge of a coffee table top for instance.

4D
4D - I have the Nextwave "2-axis" system you're talking about - Ready2Rout, with the Ready2Lift add-on, now a package with both controlled by the same pendant (though you can do it as a separate piece as well). It is great to be able to put, say, a 5/8" dado, 1/16" deep, .85" from the edge of the piece, all with a simple touchscreen. It's controlled by, I think, three stepper motors (2 on the lift, one, I think, on the fence). I takes a bit to get familiar with it, but the more I use it, the more fun it is.

Legacy CNC touts their 5-axis systems, which add a tilt to the rotary axis. I don't know if that's a true 5-axis system, but it looks cool. I've seen some other CNC systems that seem more to me like a true 5-axis system - e.g.,
I'm not sure how robust these systems are, but wow - they look cool. Very different use from what I had been imagining.

Does that sound like a correct understanding of a 5th axis?

Larry
 

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I don't consider tilting of a rotary axis true 5th axis work. An old lathe trick to make tapered/conical parts where (in this CNC case) the software thinks it is making a cylinder. That is unless the tilting can be done dynamically (5) while the bit moves in X, Y and Z directions (3) as the wood spins (4).

Using my adjustable angle clamping jig I frequently am cutting 3-axis jobs with the wood at an angle ON the jig (4) and the jig also tilted (5). But neither 4 and 5 are dynamic (changing) during my 3 axis cuts. Now if I added a stepper to the jig so it could change angles under PC control during a cut that would be 4 dynamic axes. Haven't yet found a need/reason to do that.

4D
 
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