When you first start creating your own CNC designs, a three-axis machine will typically offer enough control and flexibility to bring any of your designs to life. Eventually, however, you may find that you feel somewhat constrained by the limits of an X, Y and Z axis.
Maybe you’re making a cylindrical component, for example, that needs holes or cut-outs milled in its sides. This type of work can be done with a three-axis machine, but it will often be a slow and somewhat inefficient process. By adding a fourth cutting axis to your CNC machine, you can reduce lead time and complete complex projects in fewer steps.
A fourth axis rotary table offers a convenient, cost-effective way to take CNC milling to the next level.
This compact 6” rotary table makes it easy to seamlessly machine challenging components by adding a fourth rotational axis around the X or Y axis, depending on how it’s mounted. The fourth axis can be programmed in the same manner as the X, Y and Z axes, and its motion can be interpolated with that of the other three axes. It also uses the same size 34 motor as the X, Y and Z motors, offering 1200 in/oz. of torque. If you’re working on a project that only requires three cutting axes, the rotary table can be easily removed from your CNC mill as well.
CNC mills are most-commonly found in industrial manufacturing settings, but they have plenty of useful applications in the art world as well. From engraving to furniture making, artisans have found all sorts of creative uses for CNC machines in the past.
Take the award-winning Indian sculpture artist and designer Ruchika Grover, for example. This artist employs a unique combination of CAD techniques and hand craftsmanship to reproduce detailed organic structures like the veins of a leaf in stone.
Grover typically starts by studying organic textures and illustrating them on paper. Once she’s mapped out these complex forms on paper, she uses computer-aided modeling software to develop digital prototypes of her designs. During this prototyping phase, she also considers which materials – such as marble, granite and limestone – will work best for her design. Finally, the design’s dimensions are translated into CAD instructions for a CNC mill that uses diamond and carbide-tipped cutting tools to shape the stone.
Each of these designs can take days of milling time to complete. After the milling process is done, Grover spends many more hours finishing the pieces by hand. It’s a truly impressive artistic endeavor that illustrates the remarkable power and precision of CNC machining. You can get a behind-the-scenes look at Grover’s work in the video below.
To learn more about how you can make the most of your CNC machine, stay tuned for the latest updates from our blog or give us a call today!