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Technical term for the driven and controlled movement directions of a CNC-controlled machine.

Distinction on the type of movement

  • Linear axis:
  • A linear axis allows the movement in a straight line (in the wood processing usually X, Y, Z), while a rotational axis enables the totation around a linear axis.
  • Rotational axis:
  • A rotational axis usually is identified according to the linear axis it rotates around: A for Rotation around X, B for rotation around Y and C for rotation around Z. If there is more than one rotational axis this often can not clearly be assigned, because each of the axes may be dependent on the position of the other axis of rotation.

In woodworking the most widespread rotational axis is the C-axis, because it is necessary for the use of adapter aggregates.

Distinction on the type of Control

According to their control CNC-axes can be executed as interpolating axis or positioning axis. The movement of an interpolating axis is coordinated with one or more other axes to generate a specific path of the tool. This usually is the case for the linear axes X, Y and Z. If a positioning axis moves, the control only coordinates the starting and target point but not the way of movement. Often this is used for the positioning of drilling units (PTP control) or the positioning of a C-axis.


Hauptspindel mit C-Achse und Aggregat