Into the 5th Dimension as in Multi-Axis CNC Routers

Vertical machining by CNC Routers is of the 5-axis type. Depending on the material or the substrate the operations are either milled or routed. The vertical machining machines are moving on 5-axis. The cutting element may move up or down or move sideways or move forwards and backwards. The work holding surface may also be moving. All of these operations are employed during prototyping which is akin to two or more people chiseling and removing or shaping the clay model in automotive renderings. 

The question asked by non-technical people is this ‘there are only three dimensions, so how does this machine work on 5-axis”? Here is a good explanation of the 5-axis conundrum.

 Imagine that the object is placed on the working surface and it is moving. The cutting tool on the spindle is fixed in one position.

Here are the possible movements.

• The objects move up and down while the spindle is stationary.
• The object moves side to side
• The third movement is the forward and backward movement.
• The fourth movement is the side to side rotation changing the angle of the cutting bit
• The 5th movement is the back and forth movement again changing the angle of the spindle.

Now change the moving object to the action of the spindle and reverse the movements meaning the object is fixed and the spindle is moving. Check this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zvUm5R3wbk) and you will notice the action of the spindle replicating all the movements and making the explanation of the 5-axis clear.

 Omni CNC Technology Co. Ltd from Jinan in China makes the 5-axis Router CNC in the video. They are one of the leading innovators in the CNC domain with several types of CNC machines in their catalog. The OMNI 5-axis CNC router has a heavy duty gantry as well as the machine table that provides excellent rigidity during the high speed milling operations. Primarily used for mold making (as in the video) the machine can also process other materials such as resin tooling board, expanded polystyrene and other composites used in mold design and large metalloid molds used in aviation. The machine’s forte is 3d surface engraving and shape cutting.


Artistic Engraving and Carving with Updated Software and Robust CNC Machining

Commercial signage has gone beyond basic design concepts involving straight lines and right angles. Production routing tools in CNC machining are capable of complex shapes. The tooling ensures maximizing usage of material while minimizing machining times. The complexity of curved shapes which was operationally difficult has now emerged as an exciting routing technology.It is possible due to new software tools such as true shape nesting. The software acts in tandem with new toolpath cutting strategies. Even tool bits have undergone fluting design changes that allow ramping in and out of the material. Cutting times have reduced enormously due to multi-tool pocketing. Pattern texturing for signage as in the YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EmzRxC9ODw) is due to enhancing profile cutting along vectors which change the Z-axis cutting depth in a random fashion. The result is a stunning and unique texturing that adds interesting and unique features to signage carving.

Toolpath Strategy

Software advancements with updated editing and designing tools allow importing and editing projects. For example, the signage in the referenced video contains different vectors. The tooling bit is following a vectored tool path algorithm, but the CNC carving to an onlooker appears random. Toolpath strategy is one of the important features of both CNC Router and the software implementing the G-coded design.

Robustness of CNC Machine

The Router in the video is OMNITECH’s 1325 model which is a proven CNC performer and famous worldwide as among the best CNC Router for sign making. The video exemplifies the wood engraving of an elaborate logo design routed with extreme precision at high speed. The Router is heavy duty making it suitable for sign making, prototyping, and woodworking among other functions. It is a versatile artistic carving tool when used with new interactive tooling software. Fileting tool paths allow vector geometry to reduce the points of arc segments and converting into a smooth curve. Converting 2D drawings into 3D component construction is comfortable with advanced tooling software which the capable 1328 model can perform complex routing effortlessly.

Curved decorative panels and signage architectural elements are efficiently designed and routed on CNC machines. The 1325 model is ideal for outdoor and indoor sign cutting on several substrates such as MDF, acrylic, engineering plastics, and non-ferrous metals among others. Accessories such as fixing a rotary device to the Sign making 1325 CNC Router allows indexing as a 4th axis for processing structural columns. Adding a dust collector is advantageous when working with wood and plastic.

Artistic manufacturing is a combination of efficient CAD design such as OMNI CNC and integrating with Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) technology. It brings complex artwork to life as in the video. The creative process of using lines, arcs, and other geometry for positioning the x, y and z coordinates allows free styling that was unimaginable in the past. The future of CNC machining and new technologies in the CAM domain such as generative designing (artificial intelligence (AI) tools, cloud computing enable CNC machines to generate designs on the fly) is already underway. 


Cutting Edge Engraving Through CNC Machining

CNC engraving technology has evolved in the last decade as computer-aided design and manufacturing embraced various industries. The advantage of minimum lead times has allowed faster production. It does not matter whether it is a prototype or repeat machining of design; the technology is available as the file is in the CNC computer’s memory. Stored files already have the calculation of the earlier tool path which allows machining a design again. Software programs that enhance design methods are available off the shelf. The programs are easier to learn.

The quality and speed of the engraving are relatable to both the software program and the build quality of the CNC router.

CNC Routers for Engraving

The engraving on solid wood and non-ferrous metals require that the build quality of the CNC Router is strong. Any basic type CNC Router uses 3-axis configuration which means that solid object on the Routing table provides stability during the engraving process. Among several manufacturers of CNC Routers Omnitech from China has created a niche in the manufacturing of affordable CNC Routers for engraving. 

The OMNI 1325 model is the perfect engraving CNC Router; not only it is robust in build quality it is priced reasonably, making it affordable for production as well as interior designers.

The 3-axis control motor on the 1325 model is AC servo type. Construction is of robust build and heavy duty suitable for woodworking, channel letters, sign making, custom millwork, engraving, artistic sculpting among others. There are other models in the same range with Model OMNI 3030 ideal for hobbyists because of the working size of 300 mm x 300 mm. The OMNI 1224 has aworking size of 1200 mm x 2400 mm. With a decent 2,2 kW spindle at 24000 rpm, this router is a big seller for engraving large pieces.

Software Quality

The programs based on advanced vector algorithms with a simple interface allows editing so that modifications to the tool path is easily incorporated. Some advanced tools use mirroring and merging 3D relief which makes repeating symmetrical design modeling simple and easy. Other advanced engraving techniques use fade relief tool for creating shadow perspectives. Engraving is a form of sculpting. Smart engraving strategies utilize software programs for the engraving of text and irregular shapes.

The engraving process of incising a design on a hard surface was primarily used in the jewelry trade embellishing gold and silver vessels. The process graduated to printing plates where the intaglio etching method oncopper printing plates became the standard. It was after the introduction of computer numerical control that engraving by CNC machines became sought after for the ease and speed. Jewelers have the small 3030 model in their premises allowing them a high degree of personalization and the capability of engraving on awide variety of surfaces. These surfaces could be round as in rings, vessels, cups or flat surfaces. With software capable of translating picture half-tones to G-code the process of engraving images has become simpler and artistic.


Enhancing Stone Processing Capability via CNC Router

Understanding the nuances of granite stone sink making

CNC systems are the cornerstone of stone fabrication. Advancement of production techniques using stone is primarily due to the use of computer numerically controlled routing machines. One such machine that is getting appreciation all over the world is the OMNI-CNC Stone Carving CNC Router. This Chinese CNC router is becoming popular primarily for the robust construction, precision and affordability.

The stone carving router from OMNI CNC is a 3-axis machine equipped with a powerful 4.5kW water cooled spindle capable of 24000 rpm (revolutions per minute). The feature of this CNC router is the machine table with coolant tray on wheels that allows moving the stone plate easily.

Anatomy of Stone Sinks Routing

CNC machines can slab cut stone particularly granite which is the hardest stone. . After cutting the stone with bridge saws the edges are routed on the CNC machine for application of epoxy. The edge work involves half bull nose edges and sink bottoms with a radius generally measuring three eights of an inch. This prevents flat bottom edge of the sink allowing the slope to the drain. CNC machining forms the perfect shape.

The other advantages of CNC stone routing is there is hardly any wastage of the granite or engineered stone. Remnants (remaining pieces from a larger slab) are utilized in countertop production which has made the use of CNC router an important cog in the kitchen production industry.

China produces some of the finest granites as stone quarrying is big business. The evolution of CNC stone routing in China has taken the industry into world class status as Chinese engineers such as OMNITECH began the process of innovation. In less than a decade the name of OMNI CNC is synonymous with CNC routing. One of the hallmarks of the OMNI CNC Stone Router is the machine frame which has extra thick steel tubes welded providing stability to the heavy stone workpieces. Along with the gantry that also has reinforcing ribs constructed out of tubular steel the firm beam assembly is a fine example of OMNI’s precision engineering and quality of workmanship.

To understand the beauty of granite stone sink routing a quick perusal of the You Tube video (link at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_VRp2XTzMI.) shows the efficiency of the machining under a bed of water on the wheel configured table. The CNC machine’s chief feature is the accuracy particularly when making ogee edges. The quality of machining is exemplary – of course it does not matter if the CNC router has to bevel edges or straight edges or has to have a Dupont edge (a combination of ogee and half round). The OMNI CNC router is up to the task with its high spindle power and advanced control system.


Affordable CNC Routers for Aluminum Composite Machining

Aluminum composite materials are the most preferred material in the signage industry. There are several reasons for the popularity of the material the main is its relative affordable cost and the second being it very versatile. The material is waterproof, rust proof and the smooth finish is ideal for durability in outdoor signs.

Aluminum composites comprise the bonding of a non-aluminum layer sandwiched between two aluminum layers. The process of cutting through these three layers with a clean edge or finish requires engineering tools.


While it is true that a sharp knife can do the job for a straightforward cut it is very slow and when large sheets have to be cut it can be cumbersome. Also corners and rounded profile are indeed challenging to use a sharp knife. The other known tools are panel saws, circular saws and table saws that can easily cut through composites. Handling large sheets is an issue for these tools.

Fortunately the use of CNC routers has solved the problem rather admirably. These routers such as the OMNI CNC Basic Type Router are perfect for indoor and outdoor signage cutting as well as engraving. The Router can cut several types of material such as

•  Plastics

•  Composites which include
o  ACP – aluminum composite panels
o  ACM – aluminum composite material
o  Other solid surface material

•  Non-ferrous material among others.

The CNC router from OMNI CNC is widely used in-
ACP Cladding of building facades. Thermoplastic core is bonded between two aluminum panels. The bonded ACPs are light in weight, rigid and strong. Patterns similar to other materials such as wood, stone or marble can be painted lending to imaginative interiors in partitions or as wall screen decorative paneling. ACP panels can be drilled, punched and cut into complex shapes making installation easy which saves cost and time. Other uses include

•  Creating signage for indoor and outdoor use
•  Models and prototyping
•  Architectural elements for decoration

The router is robust in build with strong machine frame and its high frequency spindle of 3kW or more is powerful and rated to work with minimum or zero maintenance. The spindle can handle 6000 to 18000 revolutions per minute which can tackle the most intricate cutting job with precision. Another feature that allows this high positioning precision is quality stepper motors. This motion system can divide steps into micro steps due to stall torque and high power at low speeds. This is an essential feature for accurate cutting of aluminum composites with smooth finished edges.