Prototype machining services are crucial in the manufacturing process. You can’t build a house without blueprints. Prototyping in some industries requires a fast turnaround for testing and adjustments. Take into consideration the medical sector. Hospitals require implants and other parts. These parts are mainly made of Titanium due to their biocompatibility. The structural composition of Titanium makes it strong and hard to corrode with bodily fluids. To make parts or prototypes using Titanium, you will require a method with equipment capable of slicing through hard metal. Since these parts are used to replace human organs, they are required high precision and quality surface finishing. The slightest mistake can cause discomfort or even harm to the people using them. Customization is another necessity in the medical sector since one part cannot fit everyone.
In the past, creating a part or prototype with all these necessities intact was unthinkable. The main disadvantage of making these parts manually is human error. However, the invention of CNC machining changed everything. Believe it or not, CNC machining started about a half-century ago. Of course, the equipment used was not as complex as the ones we have, but the concept behind them was the same. Prototype machining allows you to created parts fast at a lower cost with high precision.
Just like other prototyping methods, there are specific parameters you should consider when choosing prototype machining services.
CNC prototype machining is suitable for low or medium production. Today, you can find CNC machines ranging from simple tabletops to complex multi-axis units. This gives you the freedom to develop multiple prototypes at the same time. CNC machines are controlled by numerical programs meaning that if one unit is making several prototypes, uniformity is maintained.
You can’t blindly choose prototyping services without putting into consideration the type of materials you are using. There are certain materials that a CNC machine cannot work with. In this case, it would be best if you went for alternatives like 3D printing.
Precision and Consistency
Some prototypes require high precision and quality surface finishing, as seen in the medical and automotive industries. CNC prototype machining is the best option for high precision part production.
The geometry of your prototype plays a crucial role in determining the choice of production. CNC machining supports geometric complexity since on prototype can pass through different stages in the machining process and is guided by a computer program, meaning that errors rarely occur. A CNC shop has different tooling, each specialized to perform a task efficiently. If a drill will not give you what you need, there is always the mill or the cutter.
Benefits of CNC prototype Machining
- Unlike 3D printing, metals used in CNC machines are not heated, and as a result, they maintain structural integrity. Structural integrity is key in industries like automotive and aerospace since parts are placed under extreme conditions.
- CNC prototype machining allows you to choose from a wide range of materials since the tools used can work with very hard metals.
- If you have the materials readily available, you can produce parts in a couple of hours, making your production cycle shorter—rapid tooling further aids in reducing the time required to develop parts.