What is CNC Machining?
CNC machining is used to produce incredibly accurate, high-quality parts with an excellent finish.
The CNC 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.
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
Our in-house CNC Machining services
We operate a suite of seven 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 programme which has been processed using a 3D machining programme 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.
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.
CNC Machining Materials
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.
Watch our short video about CNC machining and milling…
Take the tour
We encourage our customers to visit our prototyping bureau in Royston so we can show our full range of services and answer any questions you may have about your next project. If you would like to arrange a tour, please contact us.
For details of the dispatch methods available and cut off times for quote requests and orders, please visit our Service Levels page.
Ready to start your next prototype project?
Prototype Projects is a UK-based prototyping bureau delivering high-quality prototype parts in fast turnaround times.
We offer a next day dispatch service for SLA, SLS, FDM, Polyjet and Figure 4 3D printed parts. Use our My 3D AM service for online SLS and SLA 3D printing instant quoting and ordering for additive manufacturing. We also offer CNC machining and milling, Vacuum Casting and laser cutting services.
Contact us on 01763 249760 to discuss your next prototype project.