Automation improves machining costs every year for even the most complex parts but there are still correlations between piece design and machine or programming run time which can affect your overall part prices. If you have a piece that us or any one of our competitors have quoted and you’re not happy with the pricing; here are a few ways to reduce the cost!
1. Consider Setups
A simple milled or lathed part with one direction (one operation) of removed material will always be cheaper than a piece requiring multiple orientations or a multi-axis mill. Consider angular features and cuts as adding complexity that will generally increase your per part pricing.
2. Avoid Perfect Corners
Milling tools primarily use a rounded cutter to create square like features. EDM which requires an additional operation is the only way to get a perfect corner. Consider adding a small radius to your part designs to allow for our CNC tools to do one pass over. Our typical smallest mill end tool radius is .016”.
3. Avoid Finishing When You Can
Deburring, polishing or removal of machining marks will add human labor time which naturally increases the cost of parts. If your piece is not a cosmetic example you can often avoid this additional labor by allowing us to quote with regular cutting marks.
4. Avoid Over Engineering
If your drawing tolerances have features tighter than +/-.002 you will see a significant price increases and usually secondary operations will be required (EDM, Grinding). While the application for every part is different consider what you can get away with. In addition to that +/-.005 prototype tolerances will always be lower in cost that +/-.002 tolerances!
5. Consider Materials
Cutting times do correlate to material choices. The material cost itself is a component though smaller than machining times. High strength metals tend to be harder to cut. These would be things like Titanium, Inconel, some grades of SS and most tool steels. Aluminum is an excellent choice for softer materials as is 316SS.
In closing; ask questions! [email protected] can sometimes assist with feature recommendations and will always be willing to offer alternative methods to fabrication where suitable.