What Factors Affects the Cost of CNC Machining?

It is a known fact that CNC machining is very costly, however many factors contribute to the costliness of these machines. But, before we talk about what makes them so expensive let’s understand what CNC machining is.

When the movement of factory tools and machinery is carried out by a pre-programmed computer software during a manufacturing process is what we call CNC machining.

This process can control a wide range of complex machinery like grinders, lathes, mills, and routers. Three- dimensional cutting gets easy which CNC machines and done very swiftly.

As suggested by the name “Computer Numerical Control” or CNC has reduced the ownership of manual work. This new technology, however, needs an operator to feed in the commands.

CNC system appears to be like a regular computer however the software programs in it make it different from others.

This is what CNC machining is, however, when the question of cost comes into the picture it can be different. The cost of the parts depends on various factors irrespective of where you work.

Let’s take a look at these factors- CNC directory

1) The Quantity of Parts Matter

The number of parts ordered in a consignment really reflects on the total cost. The reason being that large orders are more costly but if you have parts in a higher number the price for each additional unit decreases.

This could be understood as the larger the order the more will be the final cost but cost per unit will decrease.

Another important factor is turnaround time that is the time taken to ship the parts in this case. The cost of parts shipped in a number of weeks would be cheaper than the ones shipped in a day or two.

2) Selection of Material

The material selected that gets used in the machine parts affect the cost in 2 ways:

Raw Material Cost
Material Machinability Cost
The cost of the raw material varies from material to material, some of the material is more expensive than other. On the other hand, some materials are hard to fabricate in comparison to other material.

A material is more expensive if it’s machinability is less. If the material is hazardous then the cost of production shoots up keeping in mind the safety measures.

The common type of material used are:

a) Metals- Brass, Copper Alloys, Aluminium, Steel, Stainless Steel, Alloy Steel and Titanium

b) Plastics- PVC, Delrin, Extruded Nylon, Acrylic, and Polyethylene

3) Equipment Required for Manufacturing

Equipment used in today’s time are different and very costly. You should be aware of the fact that a part can be completed with one multi-axis machine or you require more than one.

Also, a knowledge about the requirement of various kinds of different machines is also required.

Capability and the shape-size of the equipment required also add up to the factors that reflect on the total cost.

4) Part Geometry/Geometry of a Part

Dimensions of a part are addressed as part geometry. If the part is larger it will incur more manufacturing cost as it will require more material. Along with large parts, complex and detail parts also shoot up the cost.

This happens because complex parts more processes are inculcated.

When the machine is in its design phase it’s easy to design expensive parts, therefore, you must contact a well-educated manufacturer to help you with functional and efficient parts to manufacture.

5) Tolerance

Tolerance of a part is its physical closeness in terms of the design deposited.

The measurement is done in hundredths or thousandths of an inch. The overall cost increases if there’s unwanted tight tolerance on a part because of the complexity or demands.

The side from which the part interfaces with the others should be reserved for tight tolerance.

6) Cost of Labor

In manufacturing a part, there is a certain number of machinists involved who should be paid for their efforts. When a part that is complex or difficult more highly qualified machinist are involved which shoots up the cost of production.

These experts mostly learn from their experience at work rather than from the college. The more labor required to produce a part, higher will be the cost of production.

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