5AxisMaker has a 5 axis CNC/3D printer combo machine. I understand what the benefits of 5 axis are for CNC machines, but are there any benefits for 3D printing. In this video they show the printer printing on an angle, but this could have been done with just linear layers.

Would there be any cases where a 5 axis printer would preform better than a 3 axis printer?


One aspect of having this level of control with 3d printing of a model is the removal of the need for supports and the attendant post-processing. In the case of the model shown in the video, some effects are created by printing the continents in a conformal manner that would otherwise be impossible with conventional 3d printing. Cosmetically, the results of the "5d" printer are superior in this example.

There would also be some structural benefit for models with high organic content, that is curves and bulges, as opposed to orthogonal designs. Even with orthogonal designs, one can achieve stronger parts with cross-layered plastic in all directions, rather than being limited by x and y filament layers.

I see on the web site that one can exchange tool heads as well. One could print a 3d model, layering the filament on all the surfaces, then use a tool head change to a milling bit and smooth the surface under CAD control. Alternatively, one could use foam or wood and mill a model shape to be covered with a 3d printed material.

Considering the relative novelty of this product, it's likely that many aspects of the creative utility have yet to be discovered!

  • $\begingroup$ RE the "relative novelty": the toolchain for 3D printing with more than 3 axes isn't there, so the only way you can take advantage of additional axes if you hand-craft the G-code yourself (or write custom software to generate it). Without a specific idea of how you're going to use your additional axes, they will be useless. $\endgroup$ – Tom van der Zanden Nov 21 '16 at 21:09
  • $\begingroup$ It would be interesting to see the software used by the OPs product manufacturer. As that product incorporates both milling and 3d printing, it is going to have severe requirements regarding the user interface. $\endgroup$ – fred_dot_u Nov 21 '16 at 22:49

Slicing prints for printing in 5 Axis is not going to be simple with the current software. If you look at the web site for the 5AxisMaker you can see they are using Algorithmic modeling software (Grasshopper). You would probably need to buy this as well and then spend a decent amount of time learning how to use this software as well if you were going to try and take advantage of the 5th Axis for 3D printing.

I have only seen Grasshopper used for 3D printing and 5 Axis used in research papers.


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