What is CNC Machining?
CNC machining is used to produce incredibly accurate, high quality parts with an excellent finish.
The CNC machining services we offer mean 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 prototype CNC Machining services
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 prototype 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 should CNC Machining be used?
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
What are the benefits of CNC Machining?
- 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.
What CNC Machining materials are offered by Prototype Projects?
Numerous types of metal and plastic material can be machined using CNC machining. We keep a stock of commonly used materials in-house including:
Other materials are available quickly from our suppliers.
CNC Express Service
If you need your CNC part(s) fast, Prototype Projects offers a 5-day CNC Express service, depending on the exact specification of your CNC part.
The next business day will then be “day one” of the Express Service.
Please note that:
- The lead time on your CNC Express service will depend on the exact specification and size of your part (see ‘CNC Express Service: Requirements‘ below for full details). The anticipated build time will be confirmed to you on placement of order
- Requirements for dispatch, finish and delivery on your CNC Express job must be specified when you request your quote
- Post Process applications (such as anodising) are not included in our CNC Express lead time (see ‘CNC Express Service: Requirements‘ below for full details).
CNC Express Service: Requirements
Please bear the following requirements in mind, as they can affect lead time:
- Standard threads only
- Tapping: M2 – M12 (Model drill hole size)
- General Machining Tolerance: +- 0.1
- Hole Tolerance: H7
- Stock materials only/Free issue
- 3 Axis only
- Number of items and quantity of limited (Geometry specific)
- No Assemblies
- Minimum Rad: example
- Cutter Ø 0.5mm (0.25mm machined radius)
- Cutter Depth: 5mm
- More information on request
- No post process finishing i.e. Anodising
- (can be done: lead time will be affected)
- Surface finish
- Machine marks visible (can be surface blasted on request)
- Inspection: Basic visual to CAD
Finishing and delivery options
See our finishing and delivery options for Rapid Prototyping and Additive Manufacturing.