CNC Press Brake Axis: Everything You Want To Know

It’s one thing to know about press brakes on sheet metal and another to understand how they work. Many people use press brakes to bend sheet metal. But, not understand the processes and principles behind these press brakes’ working well.

One of the most important things to know about your press brake is the various axes, their location, uses, and how you can get the best results. Today, we explain the different axes and how they work. Read on to learn more.

What Are the Axes on the Press Brake?

Individuals use CNS press brakes for folding sheet metals into several profiles. How accurate and how much they will bend depends on the back gauge and hydraulic and synchronous systems. But, for the brakes to be effective, they must have the correct number of axes.

The press brakes have an axis controlled by the CNC system. Generally, there are at least three control axes on the CNC press brake. The CNC XYZ axis definition gives each axis its name depending on its position in the space coordinates. The workpiece precision influences how many axes a press brake requires.

The three major groups of axes are Y1/Y2, X, and R, which are used for controlling cylinder stroke, the back gauge movement, and other parts. The torsion type of press brake usually uses two axes or more to bend simple workpieces on the press brake. The Y press brake axis is the only one needed for controlling the cylinder up and down movement.

But, how accurate the bending angle depends on the accuracy and repeated motions of the Y-axis. In short, the movement of different press brake parts is controlled by the control system via the axes that determine the bending angle and size.

Main Groups of Controlled Axis


The Y axis is mainly found on a synchro machine and can be divided into Y1 and Y2 axis. These axes work separately on the top of the left and right cylinders. They give the top beam the up and down movement on the press brake’s cylinders. These axes

independently adjust the top beam’s level and are full closed-loop axes.


This is among the three-axis on the back gauge that controls its forward and reverse motion. Measuring the flange length when an operator bends the press brake is crucial. When the sheet touches the back gauge, the stop finger’s x-axis positions it. The X-axis can be divided into X1 and X2 axes even though the width that moves is fixed. These axes allow the stop fingers on the back gauge to move forward and independently on either side.


This is used for controlling the back gauge up and down movement. It is crucial if you’re planning to place a bend into a piece and another further bend into the same piece. The axis can be divided into R1and R2 axes to give the back gauge complete control. As a result, tilting and bespoke work can easily be achieved.


The axis is also divided into Z1 and Z2, which can be programmed to work independently. It controls the back gauge’s stopper finger’s right and left movement of the press brake.

It is needed during bending a piece that requires several bending processes and cycles.

How the Z axis is positioned influences the bending accuracy and efficiency. This axis allows even support, contributing to bending the sheet metal for longer.

What is the Minimum Number of Axis for a Press Brake?

A press brake must have at least one. The Y axis is the most important, which controls the up and down movement of the ram or bed. It is crucial as it controls the angle being formed by these movements. The Y axis mustn’t press too far or not far enough as it can result in overbent and underbent. When choosing a press brake, please take note of the accuracy and repeatability of the Y-axis.

Most times, the press brakes use a 3-axis press brake that is Y1/Y2, X, and R. But some designs have a 4-axis press brake combination and some 8-axis press brake combinations.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Multi-Axis Press Brake?

The first thing you need to bear in mind is how complex the parts you intend to form are and the level of accuracy the formed parts need.

Additionally, consider the previous fabrication operations as they affect your press brake’s accuracy.

Feeding your brake from a laser machine gives the parts more accuracy. Therefore, you should consider adding more optional axes to avoid compromising that accuracy.

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