5-Axis: It’s All About the Right Ingredients!
Wade Anderson 02.10.2016
BBQ! Barbecue! Barbacoa, Bar-B-Que, Bar-B-Cue, Q! There are a lot of ways to spell it, and a lot of different flavors, from Chicken with Alabama White Sauce, Eastern Carolina Vinegar based pulled pork, Texas Brisket, South Carolina Mustard, and the list goes on and on. No matter the flavor or how you spell it, BBQ is one of my favorite passions of life. In the photo at the left you can see me catering for an Okuma team-building event. (That happens to be my “small” BBQer.) There’s nothing better than smelling and seeing smoke rolling out of a good BBQ pit on a cool fall day. Nothing like a smoked Turkey for Thanksgiving, or a great rack of ribs for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snack…..yep, I love some good ribs!
Bit By the BBQ Bug
I got the BBQ bug from my father, and yes, he’s a rib man too. Started cooking BBQ by myself when I was around 12 years of age, and at the ripe old age of 14 I had landed the gig of Chief Bottle Washer at our local BBQ restaurant which was my first actual paycheck-receiving job (Rick’s Lincoln Inn, Lincoln, MO). Although I was an absolutely terrible dishwasher, I proved over the years to become a really good BBQ cook.
THE KEY TO GREAT BBQ
For 6 years I ran a small competition BBQ team, where we traveled around the Southeast competing in the Kansas City BBQ Society (KCBS) cook-offs, winning trophies all over Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. What was our winning secret? The key to great BBQ is all about the ingredients. When I say ingredients, it’s really the total process.
- Selection of Meat (and Trimming)
- Spices (Rub)
- Sauce (Injection and Finishing)
- Slicing/Cutting/Pulling, Selecting Turn-in Pieces for judging, presentation, etc.
If I choose an inferior cut of meat my brisket will be too thin or my ribs will have shiners (where the meat draws back from the bone and the bone is “shining” at you). If my spices are a year old they’re going to be bland and lack the attention-getting pop of flavor on the first bite. If I don’t control and have a clean-burning heat source (wood/lump coal only for me please), I can wind up with a bitter stagnant smoke flavor instead of the smooth mellow tone that enhances flavor instead of overpowering it. To have winning BBQ, all these ingredients have to be superior. Let any one of them be subpar, and the end results will not hit the mark of excellence every cook (and competition judge…or perhaps even more important, just your buddies sitting around the table) is looking for.
INGREDIENTS FOR SUCCESSFUL 5-AXIS MACHINING
5-axis machining in a lot of ways is very similar. There are many “flavors” of 5-axis, from 3+2, 4+1, to full 5-axis contouring. It also takes the right “ingredients” to produce the great end results you’re looking for. Some of these ingredients include:
- Quality Machine Tool
- Programming – Tool Paths
- Process (Material Removal Strategy)
- Chip Control
- Inspection (Close the Loop
- Support (Guidance and Training)
START WITH A QUALITY MACHINE TOOL
I’ve been in this industry for a couple decades now (ahem, maybe a LITTLE longer than that!). And for sure, there are many good 5-axis machine tools to choose from. You won’t be surprised to learn that I’m partial to Okumas, and there are many reasons why. We have a wide selection of 5-axis machines to fit almost any application. Our MU Series are trunion-style rotaries in a vertical or horizontal spindle orientation. The Millac VH Series incorporates a tilting head and rotating table, where our Double Columns offer two rotating axes with the spindle, which allows you to do 5-sided and contouring work on very large workpieces. Let’s not leave out turning: Okuma covers the range of workpieces from small horizontal multifunction lathes with contouring B-Axis spindles to large diameter vertical turning machines.
Our Partners in THINC members bring a lot of horsepower to the table and allow us to work with best-in-class specialists in all of their respective disciplines. For example, by utilizing Okuma’s 5-Axis Auto Tuning along with Tool Breakage Detection and Part Probing by our partners such as Blum, Renishaw, and Marposs, customers can inspect the health of their Machine, Tool, and Part. Caron Engineering can tie it all together with their AutoComp software. These are just a couple examples, there are many more.
Okuma, our Distributors, and Partners welcome the opportunity to tackle your manufacturing challenges. I believe we have the most talented team in the machine tool industry with highest level of manufacturing expertise ready to help you in all areas of your manufacturing process. Together we can put the right ingredients together to bring you a winning recipe!
Wade Anderson is Product Specialist Sales Manager, Okuma America Corporation.