CNC Machining is a popular way to make end-use metal parts. This manufacturing process is used to create custom items with high tolerances and interesting designs.
What Is Computer Numerical Control Machining?
Computer Numerical Control machining is a subtractive manufacturing process in which a block of material is selectively cut into a specific shape.
This process is similar to 3D printing in that CAD files are used to design a product. Instead of adding layers to create the desired shape, machining cuts away layers of a block of wood or metal.
All machined items start out as a block of material. This material is mounted on a spinning axis and introduced to a blade. The number of axes and the rotation capabilities of the machine define the shape that can be created with this process.
Machining is quite similar to wood lathing; as the object is turned against the blade, a new shape starts to take form. Many machines are even referred to as lathes. But while a wood lathe relies on the skill of a craftsman, machining relies on the precision of the device and the detail of the digital model.
What Can Be Made with a CNC Machining Service?
Machining is used to produce high-accuracy parts. Any shape that could be carved out of something can be made with machining. Common items include gears, screws, tools, and end-use parts for larger mechanical designs.
The most common materials used for this process are metal and plastic. Metal is a preferred choice because it produces durable parts that are immediately ready to use. Aluminum, brass, and steel are all popular. Nylon and ABS plastic also react well to the machining process.
A CNC-made part has several advantages. The most obvious reason to use this service is the high level of accuracy; products will always come out exactly like the digital model. CNC-made parts also have extremely high structural integrity, especially when compared to 3D printed products.
The limits to CNC manufacturing are related to the shape of the items and the tools used to cut it. Geometric complexity is significantly more expensive with this process. Certain angles and shapes simply can’t be cut by the available tools.
Several post-processing options are available for CNC-made parts. Items can be smoothed, bead blasted, anodized, or powder coated to achieve the desired finish.
Before getting a CNC quote, consider whether a subtractive or an additive process would be more appropriate for the item. Some products are better made with 3D printing service or injection molding.
How to Get a CNC Quote
3D Hubs provides instant quotes for all forms of digital manufacturing. Their CNC machining service is quick and easy to use.
Start by uploading a CAD file to the online manufacturing tool. The program will immediately determine if the product can be made with the requested service.
Next, the product will be matched with a nearby manufacturer. The CNC quote will include the price of production and the expected timeframe. Select post-processing options and receive your order in a surprisingly short amount of time.
Rely on 3D Hubs for instant quotes, accelerated manufacturing, and a risk-free machining process.