How much does CNC machining cost?

The CNC machining cost is usually based on materials, order quantity and design.

Lets begin by identifying some machining factors that effect prices.

The CNC machining factors for your best price.

The machines, management and operators are factors that contribute to the projects cost.

This is true regardless if the project is large of small.

The entire process is as follows.

  • Pricing.
  • Project planning.
  • Purchasing materials and tooling.
  • Scheduling the processes.
  • Programing the machines.
  • Checking the parts.
  • Any additional finishes.
  • Packing
  • Shipping

To ensure any project is completed efficiently requires a highly skilled team of professionals.

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Some CNC machining factors that effect prices.

Quantity

Quantity:

Quantity has a big bearing on the price of CNC machining due to both the marterials cost and the actual production.

CNC machining prices are based on the machine set up time and the time required to process the project.

If you are preparing the part analysis and setting up equipment, the cost is similar for 1 piece or 10000 pieces.
So the cost per item will increase greatly for small orders.

This does not mean CNCxpress is not interested in doing smaller quantities. It can however, mean that the cost per unit may vary according to the quantity.

 

Design:

Design has the major impact on the cost of the CNC machining price due to the various types of machines that may need to be used to make the part.

For parts that require a thinner wall or tighter tolerances a higher grade of materials is needed, this will impact the tooling for the part. Tooling is included in the cost calculation.

The combination of the machines can can effect the cost massively.
Over the decades of completed projects and CNCxpress staff experience we can offer some suggestions and some insider knowledge to machine the end product according to the combination of machines for a quality outcome.

Also, what type of machine is the most cost effective to reduce waste and machine time.

Materials:

Using the correct materials grade can affect the waste and tolerance of the part being machined. 

An example of materials contributing to the machine time is as follows.

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.

Different grades of materials.

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.

Tolerance

Tolerance can be determined by the designer based on the form, fit, and function of a part.
Precision is a very important consideration, but you should consider the absolute tolerance needed .
Tolerance for custom machined parts can have a huge bearing on your overall cost.

The tighter the tolerance the more time needed to process the order.

It also impacts the:

  • Preparation time to program.
  • Quality of the tooling.
  • Types of machines needed.
  • Combination of machines needed.
  • Grade of materials.
  • Waste factor of materials.

We can offer some suggestions on the tolerances needed to perform certain tasks.

While our expertise is high precision we also believe each project has to be cost effective so we suggest the following.
Depending on the tolerance of the custom part and the geometry associated with it.
Tighter tolerances should only be used when it is necessary to meet the design criteria for the part.

Part Finish.

The finish on the parts will dictate the machining necessary.
With options for polishing final machining, heat treatment, anodizing or laser etching.

The options will depend on the final usage of the product.

Options may be as follows.

  • Generally heat treatment is to assist with the strength or wear factor.
  • Polishing to make the product easier to clean or better presentation.
  • Anodizing to add a color or protective coating to the finished product.
  • Laser etching to be able to permanently make the product or add branding to the product.

CNCxpress has all these options available, when getting a quotation you can add some specialized useage as the conditions.
We can offer you the best solutions included in the pricing or as options to the price.

 

 

Type of CNC machine.

There are various types of machines to do turning, milling and machining. Also various axis which can determine the ability to finish the entire process in one CNC machine..

Using the right combination of machines is one of the most important considerations in the pricing for CNC machining.
Most parts or projects will begin life as a square or circular block of material. The initial machining is generally that takes the longest and produces the most waste.

How to keep the waste and time to a minimum will effect the pricing of the project. As will the tooling necessary to ensure any mistakes are kept to a minimum.

Experience and planning has a large bearing on the project cost. At CNCxpress the well trained and experienced staff can evaluate the best method to get your desired result for the most cost efficient price possible. 
They know the capabilities of each machine to be able to work through the process effectivly.  

 

Size of the part.

Different types of machines can fit different parts and types of parts.

Generally speaking the smaller the part the more complex machine that can be used. This is because many 5 axis machines need the be able to move in more complicated patterns.

If the part is large then generally the less complicated processes such as turning and milling can be done on simpler machines.

Machine vs Manual work cost.

Different types of machines can perform tasks at different speeds and quality.

Many people think the bigger and more axis on the machine the more efficient the process and the lower the cost.

In fact this is not always true, the per hour cost of the labor has a huge impact on the efficiency in monetary terms.

How about an example?

Lets say we are making a part in a 5 axis machine.

These machines will do many of the tasks without having to move the part.

The cost of the 5 axis machine is about double the cost of a 4 axis and 4 times a 3 axis machine.

So the machine time cost is roughly 4 times a 3 axis and double a 4 axis.

The machine will change the tooling automatically but it does take some time. 

If the manual labor cost is lower then doing some of the easier tasks on less complicated turning and milling machines may prove to be more cost efficient.

This does require that like CNCxpress you have a well trained and efficient team of engineers and operators. In an enviroment where the Labor cost is still competitive.

Materials pricing factors:

 

The factors on this part of the site cover the materials part of the pricing.

We have another section How much does CNC machining materials cost that covers the materials factors and advice for pricing guidelines.

 

Latest Pricing News:

What does CNC machining mean?

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Machined parts

Aluminum precision parts manufacturing. Our production lines are capable of CNC turning and milling machining services. The raw material of aluminum alloy are range used in CNCxpress, see below.

CNCxpress has 3 departments that specalize in assessing the best value for customers.

CNC services

Long term projects or projects above 100 pcs. We are able to provide quotations based on quantity with stepped price reductions for larger quantities per order.

Custom Machined parts.

We have a variety of CNC machined parts in our catalog. We can adjust the current parts to fit the use clients require.

Custom CNC Work.

Generally projects from 1-100 pcs or one time projects. These projects are generally smaller quantities but may need greater input to keep the cost down.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the work of CNC machine?

CNC – Computer Numerical Control – Taking digitized data, a computer and CAM program is used to control, automate, and monitor the movements of a machine . The machine can be a milling machine , lathe, router, welder, grinder, laser or water jet cutter, sheet metal stamping machine , robot, or many other types of machines

How many types of manufacturing processes are there?

The 6 Types of Manufacturing Processes. 3D printing is now the 6th manufacturing process! For decades there have been five basic types of manufacturing processes.

What are the different types of manufacturing processes?

There are actually multiple types of processes a manufacturer uses, and those can be grouped into four main categories: casting and molding, machining , joining, and shearing and forming.

What is a machined part?

Process such as abrading, cutting, drilling, forming, grinding, and/or shaping of a piece of metal or other material performed by machine tools such as lathes, power saws, and presses.

What is full form of VMC machine?

Lathes, milling machines, EDM machine, routers, water-jet, laser cutting etc. VMC stands for vertical milling center and refers to a particular type of milling machine where the spindle runs in a vertical axis known as the z axis.

What is meant by HMC machine?

A horizontal machining center ( HMC ) is a machining center with its spindle in a horizontal orientation. This machining center design favors uninterrupted production work. One reason for this is that the horizontal orientation encourages chips to fall away, so they don’t have to be cleared from the table.