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Do I Need 3, 5, or 9-Axis Machining?



At Temco Tool, we use the latest machining technology with a wide range of capabilities to meet your needs. Our manufacturing floor operates 3-9 axis milling, lathes, grinding, two types of EDM technology, and state of the art metrology. With these machines, we produce intricate parts in the most efficient and accurate way. Our capabilities allow us to develop your part from prototype to production for the most precise of jobs. In this post we will discuss types of metal cutting used at Temco, focusing on lathe and axis machining.


Lathes are common in the machining industry, used to produce round piece parts. Live tooling allows for milling and drilling features as well. The lathe is typically the fastest, most accurate machine to produce parts with round geometry.

3-Axis Machining

3-axis Machining is the most common of CNC capabilities. These machines move, as the name implies, on 3 different axes. By operating on the X, Y, and Z work envelope, this type of machine can produce parts quickly. It is limited when feature geometry is located on different planes around the part shape. Parts often need to be relocated on secondary fixtures to cut features that are not accessible with a typical 3-axis orientation.

4 and 5-Axis Machining

4 and 5-axis machining allows the manufacturing professional to spin and/or tilt the part. This enables the machine to access to the sides of the part. 4 – 5 axis machines can produce geometry that may not be accessible or easily machined in a 3 axis work envelope. Because of this, set-up time and handling of the part is reduced. Accuracy of part features is greatly improved. Some variations of 4 and 5 axis machines include:

4-Axis "3+1"

  • The machine can position in 4 axes
  • the 4th axis is for orientation and position only

5 -Axis "3+2"

  • The machine can position in 5 axes
  • the 4th and 5th axis are for orientation and position only

Full 4 and 5-Axis

  • The machine tool can simultaneously control all 4 or 5 axis.
  • This allows the production of extremely complex geometry that requires full synchronous control.
  • An example of this type of machining would be swept surfaces and compound angular contours. These are often found in impellers and turbines.

9-Axis Machining

9-axis CNC is a blend of lathe and 5-axis machining. With 9 functional axes, the part can be turned and multi-axis milled in a singular set-up. The largest benefit of this type of machine is the elimination of manual loading and secondary fixtures. A multi-axis machine like this can make a fully finished product. It maintains the highest precision by eliminating additional operations. This is a true "Done in one" type of production.


Precision parts can be produced using many different techniques with an endless list of variables to consider. There are Pros and Cons to every approach. The key to our success is having a large variety of options and a staff of experienced technicians who work with our customers’ needs. We analyze all options and requirements of the job and choose the most effective method. At Temco Tool, we can produce parts using all the methods described above. If you have any questions or comments please ask below in the comments field.

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