How 5-axis CNC machining and a Bacci lathe have inspired new manufacturing processes

The Bacci 5-axis CNC machine and lathe has become such an integral part of workshop life at Dovetailors over the past 18 months that it’s hard to imagine how we managed before it came along. It is no exaggeration to say that the impact has been transformational and incredibly exciting.

We are fortunate to have a diverse and committed team of experienced designers who are proficient in using CAD software and CNC programming, some of whom have been on the whole learning journey with us, whilst others have been able to join us as a direct result of the positive impact the Bacci has had on our batch production capacity.

What can the Bacci do?

The Bacci is what’s known as a 5-axis CNC machine. It arrived in late 2021, becoming the third piece of CNC machinery in the workshop. You can read more about the investment in our article Third CNC Machine Set to Boost Capacity at Dovetailors.

It can move the cutting tool in five different directions and, with the turning lathe, has a 360 degree design capability, allowing it to cut difficult angles and curves in a way that a traditional lathe or router cannot.

What difference has it made?

The design team can use software to generate 3D models of furniture parts and then programme the machines to execute those designs with precision and accuracy. This makes it possible to precision manufacture identical parts, increasing efficiency and reducing cost in the manufacturing process by automating many tasks that would have been time consuming before. Significant skill is required to get the best out of it and this has been a learning curve for everyone.

The precision and accuracy of the machines ensures a high level of quality control, reducing the likelihood of defects or errors. This also reduce the amount of waste material, as the machine can be programmed to optimise material usage.

The Bacci opens up so many possibilities for creating intricate details such as carvings, inlays or textures that can add depth and character to furniture. The turning lathe allows for precise shaping of cylindrical or tapered parts. This makes it an essential tool for creating round or curved elements of furniture and wood components.

Put simply, it helps us deliver even better products to customers and stay ahead of the competition in an evolving furniture market.

What the team says about it

“The 5-axis capabilities of the Bacci have really opened up how complex and technical we can get with designs now. What’s great is that once we finish fine-tuning a programme and we’re happy with it, we can just fire up the Bacci whenever we get repeat orders, which really boosts our batch production capacity.” – Catherine Martel

“The CNC lathe has been an exciting new tool for me. The possibilities it opens up have me rethinking how to machine components entirely. I have been able to programme a leg for a stool in one stage, including the tenon so it comes off the CNC pretty much in one piece, whereas before this would have been a much longer process” – Charlotte Fitzpatrick