CNC Router Systems from Techno Inc.

Rotary 4th Axis

Some CNC machines can be extended to utilize 4th axis capabilities. Typically, a machine that cuts using a rotary table and tailstock uses a rotary axis as its 4th axis. Any machine with 4th axis capabilities greatly increases its potential work range for applications such as carving, scanning and indexing. Indexing is the simplest function to use on a 4th axis. Indexing is utilized for applications when multiple operations are required on several different sides of a workpiece. In these cases, the axis is usually defined as the A-axis. Within a G-Code file, X-, Y- and Z-commands are provided for the machine's three axes. At certain points in the file, rotary commands or "A" commands are given to index or rotate the part into a new position. A good example of indexing is inlay work performed on pool cues.

pool cue inlays

The cue maker / programmer will program a pocket routine in the CAD/CAM software. He will then cut and paste the G-Code for the pocket several times with an A-axis command in-between each pocketing operation to rotate the part at regular intervals, typically 90°.

Another type of 4th axis application is sometimes called an axis swap. A toolpath for a flat part is generated with the intent of carving it on a cylindrical surface. This is done by swapping the X- or Y-axis for the rotary axis. Thus, the original X-axis of the flat part is now going to be carved around the workpiece in the rotary table. This is the equivalent of wrapping the toolpath around a part instead of along the X- or Y-axis.
4th axis tooling

The last 4th axis application is what is referred to as true 4th axis machining. Toolpaths are generated using all 4-axis commands: X, Y, Z and A. This utilizes the full potential of the rotary table and allows the machine to create the part in the most efficient and flexible way. There are, in fact, several parts that cannot be made by swapping, but require true 4th axis machining.

4th axis tooling

Accessories: 4th Axis Rotary Table

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Techno CNC Routers