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A Comprehensive Guide To 3 Axis CNC: Machine Specifications And Comparisons

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CNC is short for computer numerical control. This specific type of technology uses a combination of motors and computers to control the machine tools used in certain manufacturing industries. The 3-axis CNC machine is one of many types of CNC machines, and it is a device that can create three-dimensional objects by moving a tool along three axes. This type of CNC is perfect for making detailed objects with tight tolerances.

Below, we’ll go into further depth about different types of 3-axis CNCs and their specifications and comparisons of various features that are often overlooked by those who want to acquire this technology for the first time.

3-axis CNC Milling Machines

3-axis CNC milling machines are used to create three-dimensional objects from metal, plastic, or other materials. They are controlled by a computer and can be used to create a wide variety of objects, including precision parts and medical implants. 3-axis CNC mills are based on the same principles as 2-axis mills, but an additional linear movement is included for use with other tools such as laser engravers, polishers, and more. A 3-axis mill consists of two independent rotational axes and one linear axis. A mechanical or electrical linkage connects the three axes and allows the cutting tool to rotate along each axis. A 3-axis mill works using 3 main movements:

  • Movement along the Z-axis, perpendicular to the cutting tool, adjusts the Z-feed so the latter can cut along the face of a workpiece.
  • Movement along the X-axis, parallel to the cutting tool, allows the milling head to move along the length of the workpiece as well as across the workpiece.
  • Movement along the Y-axis, perpendicular to the cutting tool, allows the milling head to move on a workpiece from end to end.

Types of 3-axis CNC Mills

There are three types of 3-axis CNC mills:

Horizontal mills

A horizontal 3-axis CNC mill is a machine that can move a cutting tool in three directions: left-right, forward-backward, and up-down. This type of mill is used for machining parts that are too large or heavy to be machined on a vertical 3-axis CNC mill.

Vertical mills

Vertical 3-axis CNC mills are machines that use three linear axes to move a tool or workpiece in space. The three axes are typically designated as the X, Y, and Z axes. The X-axis moves the tool or workpiece horizontally, the Y-axis moves it vertically, and the Z-axis moves it towards or away from the spindle.

Bridge mills

A Bridge 3-axis CNC mill is similar to a standard 3-axis CNC mill, but it has an additional bridge that spans the workpiece, allowing the cutter to reach all sides of the workpiece. This increases the machine’s flexibility and allows it to work with larger or more complex parts. They are typically employed to generate patterns from large flat surfaces or to machine small details.

Specifications of a 3-axis Mill

A 3-axis mill is a mill that can move in three directions: the x-axis, the y-axis, and the z-axis. This allows the mill to cut material in more complex shapes. The specifications of a 3-axis mill vary depending on the model, but some common specifications include the mill’s power, its speed, and the size of the cutting tool:

Power is usually measured in horsepower or the amount of energy that the motor can produce. The power of a mill is related to the cutting speed. It is also important to take into account the surface area of a mill that needs to be powered in order to get an idea of how powerful it really is. The bigger the motor, the more power it will have and you can operate it at higher speeds without worrying about its motor burning out or breaking down.

Speed refers to how fast the workpiece moves when machining, and it’s often measured in rpm (revolutions per minute). The speed determines how much material is removed with each pass, and it can also be expressed as surface feet per minute (sfpm). When the workpiece has a diameter of more than eight inches, you need to reduce the speed to prevent overloading the spindle motor.

The size of the 3-axis CNC mill’s cutting tool is measured in mm. Generally, the smaller the number, the larger the milling tool. For example, a 3 mm tool is used for precise finishing operations, while a 45 mm tool is used for large-scale machining. Some CNC mills are fitted with multiple tools.

Price comparisons of 3-axis CNC Machines

There are a few factors to consider when comparing the prices of 3-axis CNC machines. The first is the size of the machine. Some machines are larger and can accommodate a larger workpiece, while others are smaller and can only handle smaller pieces.

The second factor is the quality of the machine. Some machines are made with higher-quality materials and have more features, while others are made with cheaper materials and have fewer features.

The third factor is the brand of the machine. Some brands of machines are known for higher quality, while others are known for lower quality. You may want to pay a higher price in order to get a good quality machine.

The last factor is the capabilities of the machine. The higher the capabilities of the machine, the more devices and software it has, which will add to the price.

As we had just stated above, the price range for 3-axis CNC machines can vary depending on the specific make and model of the machine, as well as the features and capabilities that it offers. However, in general, 3-axis CNC machines can range in price from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

Applications of 3-axis CNC Machining

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Three-axis CNC machining is used in a variety of industries, including aerospace, automotive, medical, and manufacturing. Some of the most common applications of this kind of CNC machining include:

Aerospace industry

3-axis CNC machining is used to design and manufacture parts for aircraft such as air conditioners, gas valves, and other critical components.

Automotive industry

3-axis CNC machining can be used to produce a wide variety of parts for cars and other vehicles. Some of the parts that can be machined using three-axis CNC machines include engine blocks, brake rotors, and transmission housings.

The medical field

In the medical industry, 3-axis CNC machining is often used to create medical devices and implants. Some of the most common medical devices that are created with 3-axis CNC machining include pacemakers, prosthetic limbs, and joint replacements. By using this type of CNC machining, medical device manufacturers are able to create complex shapes and components that are precise and durable.

How to use a 3-axis CNC Machine

There are a few things you need to know before starting to use a 3-axis CNC machine. First, you need to understand the coordinate system of the machine. X refers to the left-right direction of the tool, Y refers to the forward-backward movement of the tool, and Z refers to the up-down movement of the tool.

Second, you need to know the programming language of the machine. There are 2 basic types of programming languages used in CNC machines. One type of programming language is called CAM and the other type is called G-code. CAM is easier to learn than G-code and can get you up and running fast but you may be limited on the types of appliances that you can program using it. G-code is more difficult to learn but can be used on virtually any CNC machine. When learning how to use a CNC router, focus on one type of programming language and stick with it until you master it.

Third, you need to know about the features of the machine. These are spindle speed, feed rate, acceleration, and backlash. The spindle speed refers to the number of revolutions per minute. The feed rate refers to the motion that occurs in millimeters per second. The acceleration refers to the change in travel of the tool when a tool is accelerated on.

Lastly, you need to know about tool change and tool break. These refer to the speed at which the tool changes direction when it is moved or if a tool breaks, that is if it becomes stuck on the spindle. This speed is called tool change time. These times are marked on the machine, but they vary depending on the machine and the style of programming used.

How to choose the right 3-axis CNC Milling Machine

When choosing a three-axis CNC milling machine, there are a few factors to consider. The most important factor is the size of the workpiece that the machine can accommodate. Other factors to consider include the speed and accuracy of the machine, as well as the type of materials it can cut.

Small machines are used for cutting thin strips or small objects. They are used in projects such as engraving, drilling, and milling. They are more affordable, but not very accurate. While large 3-axis milling machines can be used for larger projects. They typically have a feed rate of 4-20 inches per minute. They are used for turning, milling, drilling, and cutting. They are more expensive than small machines.

The accuracy of a three-axis CNC milling machine depends on the diameter of the spindle and the feed rates. The feed rate determines the accuracy of a milling machine. The higher the feed rate, the more accurate the cuts will be. Smaller diameters of the spindle cause the machine to be less accurate.


A 3-axis CNC milling machine is a powerful tool that can be used for a variety of projects. When choosing a milling machine, it is important to consider the size and power of the machine, as well as the features that are important to you. The best milling machine for your needs will depend on your specific projects and requirements.

The Complete Guide To The Different CNC machining Axis


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