A CNC router, also known as CNC Milling machine is a computerized Numerical Controlled machine that enables you to cut various materials using a 3D cutting CAD/CAM software. The CAD/CAM converts your design into a tool path so that your machine can create 3D shapes.
It can cut various types of material, such as wood, foam, plastics and metals. When talking about the axis of the router we refer to the movement of the machine in which it rotates. When talking about the axis we refer to a fixed imaginary line for the measurement of the coordinates by which the router will cut.
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It can rotate X, Y, and Z meaning that the machine can move right to left horizontally (X-axis), front to back horizontally (Y-axis) and vertically up and down (Z-axis), as well as around itself. The working tool also have an X-Y-Z axis motion. Adding rotation movements in other directions on top of that and you have a 4 or a 5-axis machine or more.
In simple terms, a 3-axis router involves moving the cutting tool along 3 different axis, making it suitable for parts and prototypes that are not too deep. A 4-axis router adds also a rotary axis movement called "A axis", and a 5-axis CNC router involves movement of the cutting tool along 5 different axis simultaneously (2 additional axis).