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Depending on what type of CNC machine you have, your axis description might differ.
For a "flying" gantry type of CNC machine - the tabletop is stationary, and the X Axis moves north and south along the table and carries the Y Axis, and the Y Axis carries the Z Axis and moves it east and west, and of course the Z Axis holds the spindle and moves it up and down. In a flying gantry machine you can basically think that the X, Y, and Z axis are moving the spindle north, south, east, west, up, and down...
For a stationary gantry machine, the Y Axis is stationary and does not move, and the X Axis actually moves the tabletop that your workpiece is secured to north and south under the Y axis, which still holds the Z Axis, which holds the spindle. A stationary gantry is thought to be more stable, but at the cost of milling capacity.
Another machine I want to mention is an X-Y table CNC Milling Machine - in this machine the X and Y axis move the tabletop underneath the Z Axis. Basically the X Axis Moves the Y Axis which holds the tabletop, and the Z Axis is stationary and only moves up and down.
and the last CNC machine I can think of is a CNC lathe, which has two axis that move a cutting tool along a spinning part. Moving the tool holder basically the same way a X Y table would, just along a spinning piece...
Hopefully these descriptions portray the different parts, but they may be a little on the "loose" side :) Feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and give me some tips on better explaining them!