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CNC machining challenge

CNC machining challenge

The CNC machining challenge.


Imagine CNC machining a product that is going to be mistreated every day.

Can you guess the product

A Hint, the product needs to be

As light as possible so it is easy to carry.

Designed to be easy to handle even when wet.

Rugged so it can be dropped and mistreated.

Machined with precision of a micron

(thinner than a sheet of paper)

Machined to able to be screwed together and unscrewed.

Finished with Anodizing that last for years.

Did YOU guess the product?

While that sounds like a strange product it is in fact a flashlight.

It has nearly every design element incorporated into the design.

CNCxpress has been producing parts for flashlight for more than 10 years.
We worked closely with the customer to develop and keep refining their designs.

With earlier designs using replaceable batteries to the latest rechargeable batteries it needed to protect the internal components while being light enough to carry for a long time.

We used many different designs on the outer skin to lighten the design while reinforcing the critical parts.

As you can imagine over the year’s we tried many designs that could not pass the extreme testing. But the result is the machining one of the leading long-lasting flashlights on the market.

What can we learn from machining a Flashlight?

It takes a few different grades of materials to ensure it will function for a long time.

The machining of the outer case requires precision machining to cut grooves to lighten the weight. While still ensuring the thickness protects the internal components.

Machining the thread must be a very tight tolerance.
To ensure it is water resistant.
It must not be so tight it can not be assembled or stop it from being opened for servicing of the components.

The finish on the outside must be able to take a lot of abuse yet at the same time be able to make it easy to grip in all conditions.

Who would have thought a humble everyday product could have so many high-tech requirements.

Get your free Quotation


At CNCxpress we offer the latest machining service.
Fast quote and prompt machining of your parts or project.


If you prefer to watch the video. press play.

Machining shop size matters

Machining shop size matters

Machining shops size matters for the following 5 reasons.

 There are thousands of different machining shops from single operators to 100’s of machines.

Choosing a machining shop may impact both the quality and price. 

1. Purchasing power for materials.

The smaller the operators, the less likely they have the materials in stock. Increasing the likely hood they, will need to pay more for the raw materials.

Purchasing larger quantities usually give the bigger companies an advantage. When purchasing the raw materials needed for the projects.

The bigger Machine shops, usually carry stock of standard or often used materials.

This can have effects on prices of materials and ultimately the cost of the machined parts.

2. Project set up.

While smaller businesses operators usually have a lot of experience from doing varied projects.
They generally rely more on previous experience and training to set up the machines.

Most larger business have dedicated CAD/CAM systems and operators, With a management structure allowing  them to easily plan the efficient use of the materials and machine time. Because of the greater number of projects both completed and under way they have a varied experience for newer style of projects.

Saving both time and money.  

3. Types of Machines and tooling.


The machines are the biggest investment in any Machining shop.
Second to the machines is the tooling required for a project.

CNC services

Machining parts can use a variety of machines to get the best result.

Some smaller operators have to make do with older machines and in some cases get some of the work done outside their workshop.
Tooling may be needed for just one project and can be very expensive.

Larger operators will generally have a variety of machines choosing the lowest cost cnc services to process the parts.

Machine shops generally have a big selection of tooling that can be used on various projects. 

4. Operators experience.

Smaller operators usually have varied types of projects and can be more experienced with a range of projects. Their projects can be limited in scope according to the machines and the time spent on a type of project.

Larger workshops have more operators with greater experience with individual types of projects.
The operators usually spend more time on a single type of machine.
This enables them to program the machine for the project more efficiently, since they are aware of the small differences between machines. 

5. Quality checking and other services.

Depending on the CNC precision machining of the parts, the devices required to check can vary.

Smaller operators usually have limited access to
high grade very precise instruments.
In many cases, they would need to send work out for some additional finishes or options.
Such as Laser etching, Anodizing, heat treatment in some cases even polishing.

Larger companies could have in house 3d checking machines to ensure the project meets the exact specification. 

They could also have additional services inhouse for laser etching to help categorize parts or add branding to the finished parts.


Many people believe using smaller operators will save money. While it is possible it is not always the case even for small projects.

Get your free Quotation


At CNCxpress we offer the latest machining service.
Fast quote and prompt machining of your parts or project.


Materials selection for CNC machining price.

Materials selection for CNC machining price.

Material selection can impact the CNC machining price.

Material selection is critical in determining the overall functionality and cost of the CNC machined part.

There is a big range of materials machined to be used for parts.
Choosing the right materials and material grade will determine the life time usage and the wear factor.

Examples of most used materials selections.

As a guide here are some of the most popular materials used for CNC machined parts.

  • Alloy Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Plastics
  • Stainless Steel
  • Steel
  • Titanium
  • Tungsten

Each of these materials could have hardness grades and different composition.

Cost implications in CNC machining price

Material selection is critical in determining the overall functionality and the cost of the part.

You must choose important material characteristics—hardness, rigidity, chemical resistance, heat treat-ability, and thermal stability.
Just to name a few you will need to nominate this in your quotation request.

Why does the materials selections effect the price?

The price is calculated on the materials cost and the machine time.
Softer metals, like aluminum and brass, and plastics, machine easily with less CNC machining time.
So the price is lower.
Softer materials take less time to remove material, which reduces the time and CNC machining cost.

The cost is higher for harder materials, such as stainless steel and carbon steel.
These materials  must be machined with slower CNC machine spindle R.P.Ms and CNC machine feed rates.

What is an example of the differences for material selections?

Material Selection in time needed to make the custom machined parts.

An example is, generally aluminum will machine about four times faster than carbon steel.
Machining aluminum generally is eight times faster than stainless steel.

Explain more about the different grades.

Material properties for machining

Material grades also has an effects the cost CNC machined parts.

While there is an huge list of grades, a simple example of material material cost differences just for aluminum is as follows.

For a cost comparison example, 6061 aluminum bar stock is approximately half the price per kg than the cost of  aluminum plate.
The cost of 7075 aluminum bar stock can be two to three times the cost of 6061 bar.

This has a huge impact on the end cost of the parts, since it impacts the time needed to machine the parts.

We advise you choose the grade and type of the materials carefully. We are always ready to offer our professional recommendation for materials to assist you to get the most cost effective outcome.