There’s no doubt that Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machining has absolutely revolutionized the manufacturing process. What was once operated by hand wheels could now be controlled much more precisely by servos. But, what CNC modernization did for traditional 3-axis milling, 5-axis machining has done for 3-axis machining. By supplementing the traditional X, Y, and Z axes with additional rotational axes A and B, shapes that were once considered “too complex for machines, and require a human hand to create” are now just some advanced G-coding and a button-push away from reality.
The movement of both the tooling and the fixturing is entrancing to watch, as parts and tools dance an incredibly intricate and complex ballet in all three dimensions of space (and a couple of time dimensions thrown in for good measure, if you count the feed and speed parameters). However, at the end of this dance, instead of roses on the stage, you are left with a dimensionally perfect part, whether it’s an aluminum Jack-o’-lantern (you have to watch the video for that one) or a titanium widget destined for a Falcon 9 or Crew Dragon assembly.
Forget the usefulness of the technology. Pay no mind to the efficiency of production and reduction of machine time. This has been an incredibly stressful week for everyone, so for just 5 minutes, disengage your brain, and enjoy the incredibly graceful mechanical dance of 5-axis CNC machines. Revel in their ability to work and turn a block of material into a beautifully complex finished piece, faster and more accurately than ever before in human existence.