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What is the deal with 5th Axis (the brand)

F35Machinist

Cast Iron
Joined
Nov 3, 2021
Location
California
Today I was boring some holes into a new Lang base plate and was struck by how high quality the overall build and material were. The steel was somewhere between 55 and 60HRC. Before I settled on Lang, I had looked at some other options and one was 5th axis. As far as I know, their base plates are made of either aluminum or mild steel and their pullstuds have been known to break. On top of that, they are 20% more expensive than Lang! What gives? When I had asked for pricing and availability on the 5th axis products, they were all sold out. When I visited their facility, it was very busy and they were expanding. How on earth is this lower quality, higher price, Lang knock-off so popular?
 
I have often wondered the same thing and come to the same conclusions.

I think it mostly comes down to branding. We are a Lang shop, but I have noticed 5th axis "RUN CNC" hats and stickers in the shop.

Plus, as much as I like Lang's products (we might have 100k in Lang hardware), they are the worst to buy from. Hidden pricing, cumbersome website, and they won't let me purchase anything until they generate a sales order, so it's always a minimum of two calls or two emails to complete a transaction.
 
Today I was boring some holes into a new Lang base plate and was struck by how high quality the overall build and material were. The steel was somewhere between 55 and 60HRC. Before I settled on Lang, I had looked at some other options and one was 5th axis. As far as I know, their base plates are made of either aluminum or mild steel and their pullstuds have been known to break. On top of that, they are 20% more expensive than Lang! What gives? When I had asked for pricing and availability on the 5th axis products, they were all sold out. When I visited their facility, it was very busy and they were expanding. How on earth is this lower quality, higher price, Lang knock-off so popular?
social media presence is not a joke...
 
I bought a used but basically unused 5th axis from ebay a couple of years ago just to see. Was not impressed.

I don't have any Lang to compare, but I do have some Gerardi CompactGrip which is no contest a better vice than the 5th axis.

I don't know how they compare price-wise to Lang or if it's the same in the US, but Gerardi and 5th axis are pretty much the same price for equivalent sizes here in the UK.
 
There is probably no better case study in the differences between US business culture and German/European business culture than 5th Axis vs. Lang.
 
There is probably no better case study in the differences between US business culture and German/European business culture than 5th Axis vs. Lang.
My only real complaint about European tools/machines is if you need something critical around the time of their national holidays, you can forget it. Had it happen twice, once with a tool from Spain and a machine part from Germany. Had to wait over a month for each and in the case of the tool, we got 1 part of the order in because it was in stock not too long after, but the next was a custom piece and they were backlogged because of the holiday and we didn't get it for 3 months. Ended up going with another manufacturer while we waited.
 
My only experience with 5th axis is an original 5axis vise before they changed the design and a smaller dovetail fixture.
The 5x6 vise lifts, so putting a part in there for a 2nd op is out of the question. Supposedly the lift is what was fixed with the new version.
The smaller dovetail fixture works pretty good.

As for Lang, we bought a 3 jaw chuck for our 3+2 Koma rotary. They guarantee .0005" repeatability. And I found that to be far from the truth. Sometimes you get .008" (not .0008") sometimes .002". Far from .0005" that they claim.
I contacted them, sent it back for a replacement, same thing. I guess I need to make a set-tru back for it so I can indicate parts in.
About a week after we got the replacement, that model was discontinued and is no longer on their website.

And yes, someone said above... their website SUCKS! But it's not nearly as bad as YG-1's website. At least YG-1 makes a great product. Fuck Lang.
 
I've used Lang Makro-Grip vises for a while, and I've been pretty happy with them. I was just doing some research last night and came across a 5th Axis video comparing jaw lift, and they used brand new 5th Axis vises to compare to an obviously ancient and badly worn Lang.
 
I bought a used but basically unused 5th axis from ebay a couple of years ago just to see. Was not impressed.

I don't have any Lang to compare, but I do have some Gerardi CompactGrip which is no contest a better vice than the 5th axis.

I don't know how they compare price-wise to Lang or if it's the same in the US, but Gerardi and 5th axis are pretty much the same price for equivalent sizes here in the UK.
Glad I went with Geradi when I had the choice. I don't have any other self centring vices to compare to but it's very well made, bites into the material nicely and grips plenty well enough for my HURCO VM10. The magnetic workstop that came with it though sucks IMO. Nice idea, poorly executed.
 
My only experience with 5th axis is an original 5axis vise before they changed the design and a smaller dovetail fixture.
The 5x6 vise lifts, so putting a part in there for a 2nd op is out of the question. Supposedly the lift is what was fixed with the new version.
The smaller dovetail fixture works pretty good.

I use a 5th axis vise, its about 1.5 years old I'm assuming it's the new version,.. it definitely lifts, and is annoying as hell.. Can't wait for my Lang/Schunk goodies to arrive
 
I use a 5th axis vise, its about 1.5 years old I'm assuming it's the new version,.. it definitely lifts, and is annoying as hell.. Can't wait for my Lang/Schunk goodies to arrive
The newer version is has an X in the model number I believe. We've since made our own soft jaws, deeper dovetail (.250"). They don't lift and hold like a mofo.
It was a little tricky getting them flat so they wouldn't lift but it works. And we only use this vise with those jaws.
The original "hard" jaws that came with the vise mushroomed after a few uses. I would imagine they are 45 RC give or take. Garbage.
I'll never buy another product from them again.
 
The newer version is has an X in the model number I believe. We've since made our own soft jaws, deeper dovetail (.250"). They don't lift and hold like a mofo.
It was a little tricky getting them flat so they wouldn't lift but it works. And we only use this vise with those jaws.
The original "hard" jaws that came with the vise mushroomed after a few uses. I would imagine they are 45 RC give or take. Garbage.
I'll never buy another product from them again.
Yup mine has the X. I have no complaints with the standard serrated dovetail jaws that are on it for 1st ops, other than the vise is a bit clunky for some 5axis work
 








 
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