Axiom CNC Review[2021]: Pro V5 (AR8, AR6, AR4)

Axiom CNC Review[2021]: Pro V5 (AR8, AR6, AR4)

Axiom CNC Review[2021]: Pro V5 (AR8, AR6, AR4)

Axiom Pro V5 series is an entry-level industrial-grade CNC router that is best suited for small businesses.

It is designed to have incredible rigidity and can work for long durations without losing accuracy or repeatability.

Axiom sells three series of CNCs, the Iconic, the Pro, and the Elite.

The Iconic series is primarily for hobbyists, the Pro series is for small businesses, and the Elite is an industrial-grade machine.

Axiom Pro got a midlife overhaul and is now called the Pro V5, the major upgrade has been the controller that it uses.

The Pro V5 comes in 3 size options and all the three size options are almost the same and only vary in the work area it provides.

The three size options are AR4 (2' x 2'), AR6 (2' x 3'), and AR8 (2' x 4').

In this review, I'll be primarily talking about the AR8 Version of Axiom Pro V5.

Axiom Pro V5 Review

I reviewed the Axiom Pro V5 CNC router for its build, size, ease of use, material capability, support, assembly, and accessory support among many others.

1. Size

Axiom Pro V5 size
Axiom Pro V5 size
Axiom ProWork areaFootprint
AR4 V524" x 24" x 6.5"39.17"L x 37.36"W x 30.27"H
AR6 V524" x 36" x 6.5"51.18"L x 37.36"W x 30.27"H
AR8 V524" x 48" x 6.5"62.99"L x 37.36"W x 30.27"H

Size summary of Axiom Pro series CNC routers

The A8 version of the Pro series has a footprint of 62.99" x 37.36" and requires more than 30.27” of clearance. 

You will need to make a sturdy table to keep the machine as the size does not fit most conventional table sizes.

You can also opt for the AR8 stand from Axiom for an additional $649 from their official website. 

The stand from Axiom has excellent rigidity and has a neat compartment for the controller and toolbox.
You can cut workpieces with a maximum dimension of 24" x 48" x 6.5" on the AR8 Pro V5.

2. Material Capability

Badges made on Axiom CNC machine by Michael Branson
Badges made on Axiom CNC machine by Michael Branson

You can cut a wide variety of materials with this CNC machine like wood, plastics, phenolic, foam, composites, aluminum, and brass.

It can cut through steel at a shallow depth of cut with proper lubrication.

Even though the Z-axis clearance is 6.5", the maximum Z-axis travel is 6 inches meaning you can place workpieces that are up to 6.5" thick but can only cut up to 6 inches of it vertically.

3. Chassis/Frame

Axiom Pro V5 with optional stand
Axiom Pro V5 with optional stand

The AR8 Pro V5 has an all-welded steel frame which is better than the aluminum frames used in most desktop CNC routers at this price range.

Additionally, it has aluminum rails that run underneath the spoil board which prevents flexing of the spoil board and gives rigidity to the overall setup.

The gantry bridge is made of highly stiff aluminum extrusion and the gantry supports are made using gravity cast aluminum alloy.

The work bed is made using aluminum extrusions with an integrated MDF spoil board.

Overall, the frame is extremely heavy and of high quality.

This helps in damping the vibrations and is one of the major differentiating points with other CNC routers.

4. Linear Motion

All three axes use 16 mm thick precision ball screws for linear motion.

Most professional-grade CNC machines use ball screw mechanisms for linear motion as they provide excellent accuracy and have almost no backlash.

Axiom Pro V5 ball screw and profile guide linear motion components
Axiom Pro V5 ball screw and profile guide linear motion components

The Pro V5 has a resolution of 0.00393” which is one of the benefits of the ball screw drive mechanism.

However, ball screws have very low friction and the load can move it if it is not held in place. This is called back driving.

For example, if you are using a ball screw in the vertical axis, the Z-axis may not stay in place once it is moved up, the weight will make it move down.

To tackle this problem Axiom uses 48 V NEMA 23 stepper motors that prevent ball screws from being back-driven.

You can achieve a rapid speed of around 300 inches per minute (ipm).

The speed is comparable to the speeds on Avid CNC routers which are in the same price category as Axiom V5.

The gantries move on precision linear guideways that are machined with extreme precision to provide good accuracy and frictionless motion.

5. Spindle

The Axiom Pro V5 uses a 3 hp water-cooled electro spindle that has a variable speed range between 0 to 24,000 RPM. 

Cooling system for Axiom Pro V5 spindle
Cooling system for Axiom Pro V5 spindle

You can use it for prolonged durations as it is water-cooled. Additionally, water-cooled spindles are also quieter than air-cooled spindles.

The spindle speed is controlled by the controller via a VFD.

The spindle comes with two ER20 collets that can hold either a ½” shank tool or a ¼” shank tool.

You will get all the components for the cooling system with the purchase. The kit includes a reservoir, pipings, and a radiator with a fan all of which sits concealed behind the frame of the machine.

6. Controller and Electronics

Controller

Axiom Pro V5 Controller cabinet and handheld controller
Axiom Pro V5 Controller cabinet and handheld controller

Unlike most other CNC machines in its category, the Axiom Pro V5 does not need a computer for operation and can run solely off the handheld controller for operating the machine.

It uses the RichAuto B18 4 axis DSP controller for operating the machine.

RichAuto is a Chinese brand that makes controllers for CNC machines.

You can create G-code or M-code from the comfort of your desk and transfer it onto a USB stick and plug it into the controller for running the CNC router.

The controller has 512 MB of internal storage that you can use to store files that are frequently used.

In case of a power failure, the controller can save the process and resume the cutting after the power supply is restored which saves you precious time in resetting and reconfiguring.

For controlling the speed of the spindle Axiom uses a Siemens VFD controller.

Siemens VFD controllers are well known for being reliable.

The VFD, stepper drivers, power supply unit, and the controller sit inside a well-designed cabinet that you can place under the work table.

You will have to provide a 220 V power supply and the machine can draw a maximum of 10 A of current at 220 V.

This means it cannot be run from a regular 110V wall socket supply in your house and you'll need to use converters or do an upgrade.

Electronics

The Pro V5 series CNC machines come with homing sensors on all the axes which makes homing the device an easy task.

Additionally, it also acts as a limit switch that prevents the gantry from crashing into the frame.

A Z-probe is provided in the kit that allows you to zero the Z-axis after each tool change.

The Pro V5 comes prewired to accept the 4th axis rotary tool so that you can upgrade to a 4th axis easily.

The controller cabinet also has a prominent red button which is the emergency stop button that can be used to stop the machine immediately in case of an emergency.

All the cables run inside cable tracks that are located under the work bed which gives the machine a clutter-free look.

7. Software

The controller does not require any additional software to operate.

You can transfer G-code or M-code via a USB stick to the controller.

You will require a CAD/CAM software program for designing and generating G-code.

Axiom recommends Vectric for CAD/CAM purposes.

The post-processor for Vectric software is easily available and reliable. In case there are issues with the post-processor you can request Axiom for the post-processor for your software.

You can use any free or paid CAD/CAM software for designing and creating toolpaths.

8. Laser Module

ALK42 laser module on Axiom Pro V5
ALK42 laser module on Axiom Pro V5

The Pro V5 can be upgraded with the ALK42 laser module from JTech Photonics.

It is a 4.2 W, 445 nm laser that can turn your CNC router into a CNC laser engraver.

It features a power failure protection circuit that prevents the laser from turning back on when the power restores after a power failure.

A separate driver is provided with the kit that can be placed on top of the controller cabinet.

You can control the laser module right from the handheld controller as it can be configured to integrate with the handheld controller.

The laser mount attaches to the spindle mount magnetically and you do not need to remove the spindle for attaching the laser module.

This saves a lot of time and you can switch from spindle to laser module in a very short time.

You can purchase the laser module from the official website of Axiom for around 1,000$.

9. Accessories

Pro Dust Shoe

Axiom Pro V5 dust shoe
Axiom Pro V5 dust shoe

A dust shoe is a necessary accessory if you need to cut materials that produce dust, like wood and plastics.

The pro dust shoe can be added to your purchase for around $159 if you are purchasing your CNC machine from the official website.

It features a 3.5” long skirt made of nylon bristles and a transparent top cover.

You can connect your shop vac or dust collector using the 4” dust extraction port at the top of the dust shoe.

Rotary Kit

Axiom Pro V5 4th rotary axis
Axiom Pro V5 4th rotary axis

The rotary kit adds an additional 4th axis to the Axiom Pro V5. You can mill on cylindrical surfaces like baseball bats and chess pieces with the rotary kit.

You can buy the rotary kit upgrade from the official website for around $1,000.

The kit is easy to set up as the Pro V5 comes pre-wired to accept the rotary kit making it a plug-and-play accessory.

LED Lamp Kit

LED lamp kit for Axiom Pro V5
LED lamp kit for Axiom Pro V5

This adds a LED strip underneath the gantry to provide illumination on the cutting area.

It is a good upgrade to consider when you need to work in dark environments.

The illumination is good and it improves the visibility of the cutting process.

You can purchase it for around $40 from the official website of Axiom.

10. Assembly

The CNC kit arrives as parts and you need to assemble them.

Axiom provides a well-detailed assembly manual and there are several videos on YouTube that will guide you through the assembly process.

You can assemble the CNC in around 5 hours.

However, if you order the metallic stand for the machine expect the assembly time to go up.

The weight of the machine requires you to either have a hoist or help for lifting it up in place.

11. Community

The community of Axiom is not as large as that of similar machines like Avid CNC, X-Carve Pro, and Shapeoko Pro.

However, they do have an official forum where users can discuss their issues with the machine, share tips and tricks, and share ideas.

12. Customer Support

Axiom provides a one-year warranty for the Pro V5 machines.

You can contact Axiom through phone or email for support. The official support is quite reliable and prompt.

They provide training for using their CNC machine as an online module that you can buy.

Axiom also has an official YouTube channel that has several videos of its products.

With Axiom, you get a 100% USA-owned and manufactured product.

Axiom Tool Group Inc., the company behind Axiom CNC is based in Westerville, Ohio.

If you are a business, downtimes can be a real bummer for you.

Axiom is known to ship replacement parts quickly with most users receiving them within a couple of days.

13.Axiom Pro AR8 V5 vs Avid CNC vs Camaster vs Shopbot

Axiom Pro AR8 V5Avid CNC PRO4824Camaster Stinger 1 SR24Shopbot PRS standard Buddy BT48
Work area2' x 4' x 6"2' x 4' x 8"2' x 4' x 5"2' x 4' x 8"
ChassisWelded SteelHeavy-duty aluminum and steel plateHeavy-duty steel frameSteel and aluminum
Linear MotionBall screwsZ- Ball screw, X&Y - Rack & pinion Z- Ball screw, X&Y - Rack & pinion Rack and pinion
Rapid speed300 ipm500 ipm600 ipm480 ipm
Spindle3 hp, 0-24,000 RPM, VFD spindle 4 hp, 0-24,000 RPM, VFD spindle 3.5 hp router2.2 hp spindle
Price~$7,500~$8,500~$7,900~15,300

Table comparing Axiom Pro AR8 V5 with similar products

In the table above I have made a table to compare the other CNC choices, most people have when considering the Axiom Pro AR8 V5.

If you consider the Z-axis travel, Axiom offers 6" which is less than the 8" travel on Avid and Shopbot. This can be a limiting factor if you need to cut deeper than 6".

Axiom has a welded steel construction which is a good thing as it provides good rigidity and reduces vibrations.

In comparison, the other CNC machines in a similar price range use steel and aluminum bars that are bolted together.

But this means you cannot dismantle Axiom AR8 Pro V5 like you can with the other CNC machines.

The accuracy is less compared to Shopbot PRSstandard Buddy but to be fair, the Shopbot costs nearly double.

If you find the rapid speed of 300 ipm in Axiom a bit slow then you can consider a rack and pinion drive mechanism.

Axiom AR8 Pro uses a ball screw mechanism and they produce vibrations if operated at very high speeds. But they also provide you excellent accuracy and resolution.

Axiom offers a 3 hp water-cooled VFD spindle with the AR8 Pro V5 and it is the best deal when compared to what others offer.

A water-cooled spindle means, it runs quieter and longer allowing you to cut long projects. Additionally, it comes with a VFD to control speeds.

Most of the other manufacturers either provide a less powered spindle or else requires you to purchase one.

Moreover, the cooling system comes with a reservoir and the plumbing which is ready to run within a few minutes of unpacking.

Axiom AR8 has several useful officially supported accessories like the rotary table and laser modules to extend the capabilities of the machine.

In most of the other similar CNC routers, accessories like the laser module are not officially supported and you need to use third-party modules which can sometimes void the warranty.

14. Final Thoughts

The Axiom Pro V5 is a true entry-level industrial-grade machine designed for long hours of operation.

It has a frame and build that is better than most of the CNC machines available in a similar price range.

This CNC router can run for hours on end without breaking and can produce parts with tight tolerances and good speeds making it suitable for businesses that need to move volume.

Axiom complements its great machine with excellent customer support and highly effective training sessions for its users.

The Pro V5 is priced much lower than most other industrial-grade CNC machines like Laguna, Shopbot, Camaster while offering a quality that's very close.

Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)

Can I cut full size 4 x 8 sheets on the Axiom Pro V5 by tiling?

No, you cannot cut a full size 4 x 8 sheets on the Axiom Pro V. The 4' wide side of the work bed is closed on both sides preventing you from sliding a 4 x 8 sheet into the machine. The open edges are only 2 feet wide and you can only use workpieces with a maximum dimension of 2' x 4'.

About John

Hey I'm John. I talk about CNC's and Power Tools at Mellowpine. I'm a CNC hobbyist who has been making CNC's and writing about CNC's for a while. I currently also work as a consultant for business owners and hobbyists setting up their own CNC's. If you have any questions related to CNC, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at john@mellowpine.com

DIY Profile
John

Hey I'm John. I talk about CNC's and Power Tools at Mellowpine. I'm a CNC hobbyist who has been making CNC's and writing about CNC's for a while. I currently also work as a consultant for business owners and hobbyists setting up their own CNC's. If you have any questions related to CNC, I'd be happy to answer them. Reach me at john@mellowpine.com

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