How does a rotary axis CNC router work?
The 4th axis CNC router adds a working path that rotates around the X- or Y-axis, which is often called the A-axis. A common 3 axis CNC router spindle has three axes of working paths (X, Y, and Z). But the A axis is realized by rotating the workpieces. The rotary axis CNC router has different configurations but is usually in the “vertical processing” type. The workpiece is fixed on the rotary device on the X- or Y-axis and rotates around the A axis with the fixture. With a single fixture, the rotary axis CNC router can process all four sides of a workpiece.
During the processing of the 4th axis CNC router, it is not necessary to repeatedly rotate the workpiece manually. So it reduces the number of clamping times and completes the processing of the workpiece at one time. Compared with an ordinary 3 axis CNC router, the 4th axis CNC router reduces manual workload and improves production efficiency.
In addition, since the tools of the rotary axis can process in layers, it is possible to ensure higher processing quality. Besides that, the CNC rotary axis can also realize the processing requirements of partial processing without being limited by the size of the objects.
What can a rotary axis CNC router machine do?
3D engraving and carving
Although a rotary axis CNC router woodworking machine has four feeding axes (X, Y, Z, and A), it can realize 3-axis linkage processing. The CNC rotary axis can process 3-dimensional engraving on cylinders, square rods, wood sticks, etc.
3D wave board processing, milling, cutting, and engraving of cabinet doors, craft wooden doors, paint-free doors, screens, craft windows, and other furniture products.
The 4th axis CNC router can engrave and carve various reliefs, hollow-out engraving, and other molds.
The rotary axis CNC router is good at cutting and processing advertising signs, PVC boards, expansion boards, two-color boards, logos, acrylic letters, crystal boards, and lightboxes.
With appropriate CNC tools, the rotary axis CNC router can also engrave and carve letters and patterns on marble, granite, tombstone, ceramic tile, and many artificial stones.
The rotary axis CNC router can engrave various exquisite patterns and texts on wood, bamboo, artificial marble, organic board, two-color board, crystal, and other materials.
Parameters of rotary axis CNC router
|Worktable size (mm)
|1200x1200, 1300x2500, 1500x3000, 2000x3000, customized
|Z axis travel (mm)
|300, 400, 500, 600, customized
|Rotary device diameter (mm)
|100, 200, 300, 400, customized
|Number of rotary devices
|1, 2, 4, 8, customized
|3.0kW, 4.5kW, 6.0kW, 7.5kW, 9.0kW optional
ATC spindle optional, 18000-24000RPM
|HIWIN linear guide, helical rack and pinion, TBI ball screw
|Motor and driver
|Stepper or servo
|DSP, NC studio, Mach3, SYNTEC, SIEMENS, LNC
|MDF, plywood, chipboard, particle board, hardwood, acrylic, PVC, ABS, marble, granite, artificial stone, ceramic, aluminum, and other composites
|Cutting, milling, 2D, 2.5D, 3D engraving, carving
How much does a rotary axis CNC router cost?
As we all know that different specifications result in different CNC router prices. That's why our sales staff needs to learn about your processing demands first. So they can recommend suitable machine specifications and quote for you. The rotary axis CNC router price is $4000 to $22,000 on average.
As mentioned above, the specifications of the rotary axis CNC router have an important influence on the CNC router price. Generally speaking, a rotary axis CNC router with a large worktable and a high-power spindle is more expensive than that with a small table and a low-power spindle. Besides, other configurations, like ATC spindle, vacuum table, auto lubrication, etc., also affect the rotary axis CNC router cost.
Therefore, free feel to contact us if you'd like to know the price and specifications of any rotary CNC router.
Installation methods of the CNC rotary axis
Removable from the worktable
The first choice is to put a separate 4th axis rotary table on the machine table. This method requires a high Z axis to make sure the rotary axis CNC router spindle has enough processing space. In addition, you can fix the CNC rotary axis device on the worktable or remove it at any time. This is more convenient for users who often process small workpieces.
Beside the worktable (along X or Y axis)
When placing the 4th axis rotary axis beside the worktable, we need to consider the size of the processing workpiece and the effective processing size of the machine. Because the diameter of the rotary device has an effect on whether to raise the gantry. Besides, installing the 4th axis rotary device beside the worktable has an effect on the engraving size of the machine. You may need to extend the length of the gantry. Normally, you can disassemble this type of 4th axis rotary device.
Under the worktable
This installation method only applies to the users whose work doesn't require a worktable. It makes the rotary axis CNC router a wood lathe. This type of rotary axis is suitable for cylindrical processing, for example, handrails, statues, sculpture, table legs, chair legs, frames, balusters, etc.
Independent from the worktable
The CNC rotary table can also be independent of the machine bed. If the width of the rotary axis CNC router is greater than 2 meters and the diameter of the rotary shaft is greater than 200 mm, we recommend using an independent 4th axis rotary device. This will not affect the effective working size, but will also benefit the packaging and transportation of the machine.
How to choose the installation position of the CNC rotary axis?
As we mentioned above, there are basically 4 types of installation methods for the 4th axis rotary device. But do you know how to choose among them? Below are some tips from our ten-year-long manufacturing experience.
We often recommend our customers to choose the rotary axis along the Y-axis if the X-axis travel is 1300mm and 1500mm. We also call it the side rotary axis CNC router. Besides, the diameter of this rotary axis can be 80mm, 100mm, 200mm, 300mm, etc. The applicable maximum diameter of the CNC rotary axis is subject to the machine size.
In case you don't need long rotary axis travel, you can install the rotary device along the X-axis of the rotary CNC router. Generally, the diameter of this type of CNC rotary axis table is less than or equal to 300mm.
As we said, when Y-axis travel is larger than 2000mm and the diameter of the rotary axis CNC device is over 300mm, we suggest using a parallel and independent device. However, if the 4th axis rotary device diameter is less than 200mm, we recommend the removable rotary axis. The removable rotary axis can save you a lot of cost than the parallel one. It is convenient to be fixed and removed from the worktable.
Features of rotary axis CNC router
- The rotary axis CNC router structure adopts welded thickened large steel tubes, which are sturdy and durable.
- Imported guide rails and racks endure reliable precision and the automated lubrication system guarantees smooth operation.
- The specially designed Z-axis structure and high-power X and Z-axis drive motors can effectively improve engraving accuracy. In addition, the rotary axis CNC router can increase the processing speed by more than 2 times.
- Cables of the rotary axis CNC router adopt double sheathed high flexible shielding cable, which are anti-interference and anti-static. It will not break during long-term use.
- The automated control system, such as LNC, SYNTEC, SIEMENS, etc., can realize efficient machining, saving time and input cost.
- All the limits of the rotary axis CNC router use the original Omron products to improve return-to-home accuracy.
- The high-performance stepless speed-regulating inverter has protection functions for overcurrent, overvoltage, undervoltage, overload, and overheating.
- The 4 axis CNC machining uses the three-position curve prediction algorithm to ensure the speed and accuracy of curve operation.
- Besides, the rotary axis CNC router can be well compatible with a variety of software at home and abroad. For example, JD software, Powermill, Wentai, Type3, UG, AutoCAD, ArtCAM, etc.
Why choose the rotary axis CNC router?
- The rotary axis CNC machine can make the spindle always face the machining surface at the most suitable angle. This reduces the force on the tool side, increases the machining stability, and improves the machining accuracy.
- The 4th axis CNC router machine does not need to repeatedly rotate the work piece. It reduces clamping times and manual participation. Besides, it can also complete the tool path calculation at one time to ensure higher machining accuracy and efficiency.
- The rotary axis CNC router can process a workpiece multiple times in layers, reducing the number of finishing operations. And it correspondingly improves the processing quality and processing efficiency.
- Rotary axis CNC router adopts an integrated engraving method to automatically generate a closed rotary engraving processing path. It is not affected by the accuracy of the fixture, especially for irregular workpieces. The rotary axis CNC machine has higher processing accuracy compared with other processing methods.
- This 4th axis CNC machine can realize local processing of the workpiece by setting the angle range and length range of the tool.
- The rotary axis CNC router can reduce finishing allowance and its tool paths allow for layered roughing.
- Rotary engraving does not leave positioning marks on the workpiece.
What CNC router software and control system can a rotary axis CNC router use?
Any CNC router software that can generate G code can be used for the 4th axis rotary CNC router theoretically. For example, Artcam, Type3, JDPaint, Powermill, Mastercam, etc.
We provide multiple options for the control system for our rotary axis CNC routers. For example, SYNTEC, LNC, NCstudio, SIEMENS, Mach3, DSP, etc.
Each control software has several versions and different control ways. You can choose the most convenient and efficient one for your rotary axis CNC router. For instance, MW5800A and MW2200A are the most commonly used LNC control system versions. The former one is panel-controlled, while the latter one is computer-controlled.
What is the difference between 4 axis and 4th axis CNC router?
The biggest difference between a 4 axis and a 4th axis CNC router lies in whether the spindle can rotate. The spindle of a 4 axis CNC machine can rotate ±90 degrees from the left to the right along X-axis. However, the spindle of a rotary axis CNC router cannot rotate but it has a rotary axis around the X or Y axis.
The 4 axis CNC router can process three sides (top, left, and right) of a workpiece in one operation. You need to turn the workpiece manually to let the front and back sides get processed. But the rotary axis CNC router rotates the cylinder workpiece, so all its side surfaces can be processed in one operation. There is no need for us to turn the workpiece manually.
3 axis machining or 4th axis machining, which one to choose?
3 axis machining is the simplest and most common type of machining. The workpiece is fixed in one position and the spindle can move in the X, Y and Z linear directions. So 3 axis CNC router is suitable for parts with low depth and fewer details and is good at flat engraving and cutting plates. Therefore, 3 axis machining could be the best option for engineering furniture and office furniture manufacturers.
The 4th axis machining involves the same process as 3-axis machining. Cutting tools remove materials from the workpiece to create the desired shapes and patterns. However, in the case of 4th axis machining, milling is performed on an additional axis. This rotary axis exposes all side surfaces of the workpiece by rotating. So the rotary axis CNC router enables the tools to work on all side surfaces of a workpiece instead of working only on the top surface as in 3 axis machining.
In addition, 4-axis machining eliminates the need for fixture changes, further reducing costs. Eliminating the risk of human error means that we machine parts with high quality without the need for costly quality assurance. Another benefit of eliminating the need to change fixtures is to maintain tighter tolerances between features on different sides of the part. The rotary axis CNC router removes the loss of accuracy due to fixturing and re-setting the workpiece.
How to lubricate the rotary axis CNC router?
Make sure to clean the residual oil stains and wood chips on the guide rails and ball screws before applying new lubricant oil. It is appropriate to lubricate the rotary axis CNC router twice every month, which means applying lubricant once every two weeks.
Remember to lubricant and make an idle run regularly if the CNC 4th axis router is not used for a long time.
Let the rotary axis CNC router machine run slowly after lubricating. This is to make sure that the lubricant can be applied to the guide rails and ball screws evenly.
How to choose a suitable rotary axis CNC router?
Firstly, choose the appropriate precision. Because precision plays an important role in the machining quality of products. You need to consider the precision of the machine bed, the guide rails, ball screws, and also the spindle. For example, the bed should go through heat treatment annealing, natural aging, and vibration aging to eliminate stress and ensure its rigidity. Besides, choose the famous brand or high-quality guide rails and ball screws.
Secondly, decide the configuration of the rotary axis CNC router. For instance, the worktable size, spindle power, worktable type, motor type and power, control system, tool changer, etc. All these details shall be discussed with the rotary axis CNC router manufacturer based on your specific needs. So, selecting the right CNC machine manufacturer is also of great importance.
Thirdly, sign a sales contract with the rotary axis CNC router supplier. This helps protect your legal rights and interests in case of any disputes occurred.
Tips to use the rotary axis CNC router safely
Misoperation of the rotary axis CNC router machine could cause problems during production. Some of the problems can be avoided if you run the machine according to certain operating procedures.
- Use the power supply with rated voltage according to the manufacturer's requirements. Overvoltage or undervoltage could cause damage to the 4 axis CNC router.
- Do not put the CNC router machine with rotary axis in a humid environment, which is highly corrosive to the machine.
- Stop the rotary axis CNC router immediately if there is any peculiar smell, noise or smoke during operation. Check the machine carefully before rebooting it.
- Do not replace or destroy the cables of the original rotary axis CNC engraving machine. Random replacement of any core parts may cause damage or misoperation.
- Operators shall be familiar with the CNC machine operating procedures before operating the machine to avoid any hurt.