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4 Axis Vs 5 Axis CNC Router, What Are The Differences?

Publish Date: Nov. 24, 2020 Author: Jackie Publisher: EagleTec CNCModify Date: Nov. 24, 2020

According to our sales staff and customers' conversation, clients considering purchasing a 4-axis or 5-axis cnc machine usually ask this question: 4 Axis Vs 5 Axis CNC Router, What is The Difference Between Both? What Are the Benefits of a Five Axis Router Over at Four Axis? I feel it is necessary to write an article to explain the differences between the two thoroughly.

Therefore, in this post, we'll make a comprehensive interpretation of this topic today. Enjoy!


The 4 axis cnc routers discussed in the post here refers explicitly to the type of 4 axis spindle rotation cnc router. And the 4 axis rotary cnc router is not within the scope of this article. Please be aware.

Before we dive into details, let's see how do they work first.

4 Axis Vs 5 Axis CNC Router, What Are The Differences?cid=2

How Does 4 Axis CNC Router (Spindle Rotation) Work?

The 4 axes refer to X, Y, Z, and A. A swings ±120° along the X-axis. Suppose we will machining a cube object; the 4 axis router can get three sides (left side, topside, and right side) milled in one setup. Please refer to the diagram above.

How Does 5 Axis CNC Router Work?

The five axes are the XYZ axis plus two rotation axes A and C. A-axis can rotate ±120°around the X-axis; C-axis can rotate ±360°around the Z-axis. Therefore, 5 axis cnc routers allow cutting or milling on any of the five sides of an object. It will enable one workpiece to be worked on all five sides in one setup. Please see the above diagram for a better understanding.

4 Axis VS 5 Axis CNC Router

Now that we knew how both types of machines work let's dive into their difference details.

Five axis router is more flexible than cnc 4 axis router.

5-axis can mill all five sides of an object in one setup, while 4-axis can mill three only. To use four-axis machining for five faces, we have to do it this way: machining the three sides after the first clamping; then adjust the position of the workpiece and carry out the second clamping, and complete the other two sides.


● They have different mill capacities.

If we want to use a 4-axis to mill a cavity, it cannot be completed due to its limitations, while a 5-axis can do this job.

What Is the Benefit of A 5 Axis CNC Router Over a 4 Axis?

In conclusion, the 5 axis cnc router machine is beneficial over a 4 axis in the following aspects. This includes:

● Machining complex shapes that require five sides machining in one setup.  

● Cutting intricate details just like a cavity

● Increased productivity: it can complete 5 sides of milling in one working cycle with one program; On the contrary, if it is a four-axis, it needs two working cycles and two programs.

● Higher quality finishes - completing all the work by one set up so that there will be no errors caused by multiple clamping.

● Feature accuracy – the same as above.


I hope it helps! See you next time.

Original Post from EagleTec CNC

Copyright: original works, for permission to reproduce, reprint, please be sure to indicate the form of hyperlinks to the original source of the article, author information, and this statement.


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