Don’t Limit 5-axis Machines to 3-axis Capabilities

As 5-axis machines continue to acquire more space on shop floors than ever before, conventional workholding could limit a 5-axis machine to 3-axis capability. Implementing the right workholding solution is key in maximizing effectiveness – achieving higher productivity in complex parts that would require multiple operations on traditional horizontal and vertical machines.

For 5-axis machining, the workpiece needs to be secured in a way that provides clearance for movements of the spindle housing, the worktable, and the part itself, without creating interference areas that will ultimately crash the machine. Considerations other than those involved with the actual machining process can also come into play, such as clearance to allow a crane to load and unload when the combined weight of the workpiece and fixturing is excessive.

Unilock Riser Chucks are not purely for 5-axis setups – sometimes your workpiece just needs a little clearance help for something as simple as a drilling operation.

BIG Kaiser’s own workholding product manager, John Zaya, addresses how to avoid work envelope collisions by elevating the workpiece. “The most common interference areas occur between the table and the spindle housing of the machine. This is generally caused by the need to have a wide angle of attack to the workpiece from the spindle to the table.  Elevating the workpiece provides machining access and allows for the use of shorter tooling, resulting in better cutting parameters, faster feed rates, and heavier depths of cut,” he explains.

BIG Kaiser Unilock chucks are available on base plates or as stackable modules known as Riser Chucks, and can be used to achieve elevation and clearance for complex workpieces.

Watch these two videos to see Unilock Riser Chucks in action:

5-Axis Hermle C 50 U with Unilock Riser
Chucks machining a Porsche model

5-Axis DMG with Unilock Riser Chucks and KIPP
mounting hardware performing 6-sided machining

For more information, click here to download the comprehensive Unilock workholding catalog.