The Tricept 9000 made by Loxin in Spain and sold in the U.S. by Hartwig, St. Louis (hartwiginc.com), can mill, drill, route, deburr and finish, install fasteners and rivets, and even friction-stir weld with the right tool, according to the manufacturer. It can also handle optical inspections and touch probing. The machine uses a two-axis head, three precision actuators, and a pair of gear drives to get five axes of motion.

The design consists of a central tube and three linear actuators connected to a gimbal support on one end. At the other end, the tripod struts and tube come together in a stable triangle around the two-axis rotary head. Independently extending and retracting the struts moves the head in the X, Y, and Z axes, while the head rotates 360° horizontally and from 5 to –150° vertically. High-speed servodrives for the struts give the machine 3,500-ipm rapid traverse and 2-g accelerations and decelerations. Each of the three struts has a 39-in. stroke. Its working envelope can be envisioned as an upsidedown umbrella. The greatest Z reach is at dead center and this decreases as travel moves to the outer extremes. The small but rigid structure lets the device deliver high-speed machining in tight, awkward spaces. It can also use shorter tools at high speeds, which reduces vibrations. Positioning accuracy is 0.0015 in., and repeatability is 0.0004 in. To see Tricept in action, go to: http://vip.hartwiginc.com/triceptpkm)