Roughly speaking, the price of the parts to be machined consists of four factors: set-up time, machining time, material costs, and possibly the time taken for measurements. Let’s take a closer look at what they mean in practice.
Time that is required to prepare everything before starting the actual machining. It typically includes programming, tool selection and workpiece clamping – which may consequently include clamping mechanism design and manufacturing work. Initial costs can be high compared to actual part cost when manufacturing small batches, but with larger volumes contribution of setup time cost gets smaller, even neglectable.
You should notice that extremely tight tolerances increase the setup time as verifying the tolerances may take a lot of work, even though the actual program is basically ready to run. You should define tight tolerances only for those dimensions that are most important for the functionality of the part. For example, you shouldn’t tolerate cable entry holes or bolt holes.
Machining time is the time spent on machining. Additional axes increase the cost of the workpiece; for example, milling with a 5-axis machining center is often more expensive than milling with a 3-axis machine.
It is obvious that the larger the part to be machined, the more material costs there will be. However, you can reduce the material consumption with design. For example, if you want to make a shaft with a diameter of 40 mm, it must be machined from a 50 mm round bar. If the shaft diameter is changed to 38 mm, it can be made of a 40 mm rod.
You can reduce costs also with the knowledge of materials. Some materials are more expensive in unit cost, but easier to machine, so shorter machining times compensate for their unit cost. At the end, the total cost may be lower than it would have been with a material that is cheaper but requires more machining time.
The time spent on measuring can increase costs. If the part to be machined contains a lot of small tolerances that need to be quantified with a coordinate measurement system, an extra measurement cost is added to the price of the part. Basic manual measurements using caliper and/or micrometer are part of our quality control and are not charged separately.
If a part manufacturing requires special tools or methods, it will add costs. Standard size geometries, holes and threads can be machined with basic fasteners and tools.
How can the cost of CNC machining be reduced?
So, the cost of CNC machining consists of the setup and machining time, the materials and possible extra costs brought by measurements or special methods.
You can see the benefits of carefully executed design work on the price of the final product: over 80 % of the cost is determined at the design stage of the work. When the parts are designed with expertise, the efficiency of the machining phase can be maximized which affects the price level.
Our customers benefit from the fact that at Mectalent, we design the work specifically with our own, familiar manufacturing methods in mind. This speeds up the product throughput process and improves quality.
If you wish, you can get quick models and prototypes from our product design service. You get to test them right at the beginning of the project, so you can make sure the design is just right from the start.
We have created a guide to help you with designing parts that can be manufactured in a cost-effective way. Download the guide here:
High quality machining since 1982
CNC machining is Mectalent's core competence. Whether it is small batches of prototypes or large continuous productions, we can offer an affordable, high-quality solution that evolves according to your needs.
Our company's expertise and experience has been accumulating for more than three decades. The comprehensive know-how in materials and production methods is evident from the high quality. The accuracy and speed of our work is based on the diverse professionalism and training background of our staff.
High quality is important to all our staff. The frameworks of our work are the certified ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 quality systems. They guarantee that Mectalent operates in a customer-oriented and systematic way in developing its quality.