3 Axis vs 4 Axis vs 5 Axis CNC Router

When you are seeking to buy a new CNC router you have to consider the number of axes needed for your router machine. This is a common problem for every person looking to purchase a CNC router machine. Here we will review all differences between a 3, 4, and 5 CNC router axis.

Important Tips for 3, 4 and 5 Axis CNC Engraving Machine

5 Axis: X-Y-Z-A-B, X-Y-Z-A-C, X-Y-Z-B-C (The spindle can be rotated 180 degrees around from left to right)

4 Axis: X-Y-Z-A, X-Y-Z-B, X-Y-Z-C (4 Axis linkage)

3 Axis: X-Y-Z (3 Axis linkage)

4th Axis: Y-Z-A, X-Z-A (3 Axis linkage)

ABC is made to perfectly correspond to the rotation axis of the X, Y, Z.

3 Axis CNC router Machine

3 axis cnc router

3 Axis CNC Router kits can connect and go along three different axes concurrently.

• X-axis: left to right
• Y-axis: front to back
• Z-axis: up and down

3 axis CNC router machines have the ability to move along three axis; the X-axis, the Y-axis, and the Z-axis. These machines also can cut along the X-axis where the router moves the bit right and left. The machine along the Y-axis moves from front to back and along the Z-axis it cuts the Z-axis moving up and down. All these machines are used for cutting a range of works from flat, 2D and 2.5D components.

3 Axis CNC Router Applications

3 Axis CNC Engraving machines have a wide application from cabinets to furniture, from sign making to brass machining, from marble & stone engraving to 3D modeling, from musical instruments to architectural mill-work, etc.

3 Axis CNC Router kits can be applied to many types of materials, including wood (solid wood, MDF, Plywood, chipboard), plastic (PVC, ABS, Acrylic), Marble (Artificial stone, granite, ceramic), metal ( stainless, corrugated metal, aluminum, brass), etc.


4 Axis CNC Router Machine

Simply consider adding a rotation axis to the 3 axis router which is also referred to as the A axis. How can you distinguish a real 4 axis CNC router kit? A good example is the 4 axes 3D cylinder engraving machine. It usually comprises of short round stick 3D buddha with a 4 axis design and can only work with the 3 axis system. The X and Y-axis are mainly used to drive the rotation axis with the real working system being a 3 axis CNC router.

The 4 axis CNC routing machine works on both sides with the all tools having the XYZ axis; XYZA, XYZB, XYZC which are all linked. The best thing about this routing machine is the ability of the 4 axes to work simultaneously and in a synchronized manner.

4 Axis CNC Router Applications

4 Axis CNC Engraving machines are able to process 3D workpieces from the Roman column to Dragon pillar, Buddha statue, and Guanyin statue, etc. 4 Axis CNC Routers are also be widely applied to the processing of cabinet doors, paint-free doors, mahjong tables, computers and so on.

Best 4 Axis CNC Routers for Sale

4 Axis CNC Router Working Videos

5 Axis CNC Router Machine


These routing machines are similar to 3, 4 axis design of CNC routers, but have an extra pair of axis that can move along. The two extra axis help to shorten project time due to their capability to cut multiple edges of material at a go. The longer feature of the X-axis makes the whole machine less stable and accurate while they require more attention compared to other forms of CNC routers.

5 Axis CNC Router Applications

5 Axis CNC Engraving machines can be applied to manufacture complex curved surfaces of various metal & non-metallic materials. 5 Axis CNC Router machines are suitable for training various model making and five-link processing talents. They are suitable for the deep processing of various materials from fiber to foam, from wood to resin, from plastic to clay, from aluminum alloy to non-metallic materials.

Which is the Best CNC Router for You?

While the possibility of high-quality work is straightforward when using routing machines, these machines are sophisticated pieces of technology. If you are looking to create high design pieces of design, the 4 axis and 5 axis CNC routers are the most appropriate. Either way, the 3 axis routing machine is also commonly used and is much affordable.

Since you now have a better understanding of how CNC routing machines work, we can proceed to review the differences between these models.

5 Axis CNC router machine helps to cut material along two extra axis and is much better than the 3 axis routing machine. This machine can cut on five sides of the material at the same time. The 5 axis routing machine is used to cut large 3D material parts. Additionally, the 5 axis routers have higher gantry and a longer X-axis making the machine less stable and accurate. Limit the height of the gantry and length of the X-axis to enhance the ideal control.

Routers are highly sophisticated pieces of machines that require specialized expertise to operate and work with. The 5 axis routers are much expensive in comparison to the 3 axis model but are flexible and offer users the ability to create better designs.

Click Here to Get Best Price!

How Many Axes Do You Need?

You may from time to time encounter CNC routers that offer an additional axis that can accommodate up to 11 axis. At first, this seems to be a great envision when it comes to adopting all these axis but it’s simple. Machines with two and more spindles usually have more axis in their overall set up and design.

Machines with two spindles and low turrets can accommodate several axis: the upside turret can have four spindles and the lower one 2 turrets. Concurrently there are also opposing spindles which can accommodate 2 axis as well.

A tool like the aerospace valve can be compatible with a 5 axis CNC router or we could opt for a multi-axis router that has a pair of spindles for the C axis and a rotatory B axis. The lower turret allows the user to have a second X and Z additional axis with the same geometry.

So, what’s the number of axis you need?

This is a tricky question but the overall number of axis required is determined by the type of application you are seeking. Take a close look at this example:

Turbine blades are complex machines and are most suited for the 5 axis which allows for the tool to be taken around the airfoil of the blade. 3 axis mode is mostly applicable where the index of the blade is in a position that allows the three linear axis to lie on the surface perfectly.

This is not the most efficient way and the routing geometry will inform you when you need a change of axis configuration.

The number of axis needed for your routing machine and is determined by several factors. A customer may sometime come with a part which I may recommend to adapt to a 5 axis CNC router. Contrarily, customers’ preferences may be on working parts that would improve the overall functionality of the machine.

This machine may not be optimized correspondingly to the 5 axis router but may give a customer added advantage in the long term. Another important factor is the amount of work that can be handled and also perform different tool changes. This is the understanding involved in the machine’s capability to do certain works.

2 thoughts on “3 Axis vs 4 Axis vs 5 Axis CNC Router

  1. Pingback: 5 Axis CNC Router Buying Guides - FORSUN

  2. Pingback: 4 Axis CNC Router Buyer Guide - FORSUN

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Translate »