When it comes to pricing CNC machined parts, the biggest cost driver is often machining time. This can outweigh the material costs, set-up costs and even the costs of custom finishes, such as anodizing or plating. Design for manufacturability can promote time efficiency and waste reduction by considering fabrication during the planning process. For this reason, the design phase, rather than production, is the ideal place to cut costs.
Listed below are several tips to help you save both on your CNC machined parts.
Avoid Deep Pockets
Parts with deep internal cavities are often time-consuming and expensive to manufacture. The reason is that these designs call for fragile tools that are susceptible to breaking during machining, so we should avoid this.
Limit Use of Tight Tolerances
In order to eliminate unnecessary costs, the key is to only assign numerical values to mission critical features and surfaces. Other, less significant features should be controlled by the model (standard tolerance of +/- 0.005″).
Use Less Expensive Materials
In general, softer metals are less expensive to machine than harder materials for a few reasons: In most instances, the raw material is more economical. Softer materials, e.g., aluminum 6061, cut more easily, which means less machining time. Harder materials require more expensive tools, and are more likely to break and wear tools, which can add to the project cost.
Avoid Multiple Finishes
This applies to surface roughness or texture, and appearance-altering finishes like chem film, (sometimes called chromate,) or anodizing. Mixing and matching adds a lot of cost. For example, requesting a mixture of anodized and chem film finishes on a part adds several processing steps. The same applies when specifying a smooth finish in one area and a bead blast finish elsewhere.
Order Larger Quantities
Although modern CNC milling machines can combine multiple operations to run efficiently, they still need programming and setup. Ordering multiple quantities of the same part helps generate production efficiencies and lower the cost per piece.
If you’re researching ways to save money on your CNC machined parts, ByTune can provide the expertise you need to save time and money on your machining parts. More information about our design assistance and CNC machining capabilities is available on our website.