CNC Machining (Computer Numerical Control)
CNC machining is used to produce incredibly accurate, high quality parts with an excellent finish.
Prototype tools can be injected in-house and production tools can be run by our subcontractors or supplied to you for moulding. We can also provide a full range of tool refurbishment.
Prototype Projects in-house CNC machining facilities
Prototype Projects operates a suite of 5 CNC machines capable of CNC machining, milling turning, spark erosion and surface grinding.
Because we can replicate manufacturing across multiple machines, we can deliver production quality parts without the cost of complex and expensive tooling associated with the production manufacturing process.
CNC Machining Process
CNC machine types include simple mills with linear and rotary movement, lathes and more complex machines with multiple axes that can work multi-dimensionally to produce highly accurate parts which may be used for form, fit and functional testing.
The CNC process involves sending a complex program which has been processed using a 3D machining program to generate the required cutter paths to the CNC machine which then runs an automated process to carry out the required ‘machining’ procedures. The CNC machine can be programmed to repeat the process, so multiple parts can be replicated to the same specifications.
The result is pinpoint accuracy, consistency and quality, even on the most complex of concept models or parts.
When to use CNC Machining
CNC is a “reductive” process whereby parts are produced via physical removal of material using computer controlled milling, turning or grinding by sophisticated computer controlled machines.
This means it is ideal for producing:
- Highly accurate parts where minute levels of accuracy and precision are required
- Hundreds or thousands of identical parts over extended periods from the same CAD file
CNC Machining Benefits
- Speed: The fully automated aspect of CNC milling and turning means that production times are cut dramatically
- Accuracy: Through the use of computer CAD and CAM programming, it is possible to achieve incredible accuracy that is measured in microns
- Repeatability: Once created, the programme can be used to produce exact copies of the original prototype to precise specifications
- Quality control: The consistency of CNC milling and turning means that quality control for longer batch runs is easier to maintain
- Cost effectiveness: A programmable and repeatable system lowers the unit price of each part, making larger production runs easier to cost manage
CNC Part Properties
A vast range of part types and features can be produced depending on which CNC process is used – milling, turning or grinding. Complex angular designs can be produced on our multi-axis machines, whereas turning can be used to produce threads, bolts and mechanical components.
Properties of the final part depend on the source material.
Numerous types of metal and plastic material can be machined using CNC machining. Prototype Projects keeps a stock of commonly used materials in-house including:
Other materials are available quickly from our suppliers.
Finishes such as anodising can be applied to CNC parts – please ask for details.