What is a CNC Machine Shop?
A CNC machine shop is where machinists and design engineers manufacture machined parts using CNC machines. These manufacturing premises can either be significant- or small-scale, depending on the manufacturer’s capacity. These machines feature CNC processes such as cutting, shaping, drilling, and fabricating components that can form 3-D models from materials of plastic, metals, composites, and natural materials.
Standard CNC machining processes may include the following machining techniques:
CNC Milling — bringing a rotating cutting tool into contact with a stationary workpiece
CNC Turning — rotating a workpiece to contact a cutting tool; lathes are common
CNC Drilling — bringing a rotating cutting tool into contact with a workpiece to create a hole
CNC Cutting — removing excess materials from the block and creating specific 2D or 3D shapes
CNC Grinding — using an electronic precision performance device to utilize a spinning wheel to remove material from solid metal at high speeds.
Electrical discharge machining (short for EDM) – a manufacturing process that precisely removes conductive materials using an electrode. It can be used in the machining of complex shapes in hard materials.
How to Identify a Good CNC Machine Shop?
There are some critical factors to consider when selecting an ideal CNC machine shop for carrying out a prototyping project partner.
Does the machine shop carry the certifications to support you from prototype to production? When gathering information about any CNC machine shop you’re considering, checking the suppliers’ certificates is necessary.
ISO 9001 is a standard that specifies the requirements for quality management systems. An ISO 9001 certified machine shop adheres strictly to regulatory requirements by ensuring high-quality machining services.
Make sure that you can find out your potential CNC machine shop partner has the knowledge and expertise to handle your project in the time frame you’ve set. Some machine shops use subcontractors for some work, and these partners have to meet deadlines.
Does the CNC machine shop have the ability to meet your need? Knowing the capacity of your manufacturing partner in advance is helpful, as you want to know whether a manufacturing partner can deliver your order within your required timeframe.
In addition to advanced CNC machining facilities, a qualified CNC machine shop should have good management that can help finish your project efficiently.
Project Management — start-to-finish expertise (design to production) to ensure project scope, cost, quality, and schedule best meet customer needs.
Procurement — source material and provide experienced advice for the best possible solution.
Quality Control — control plans, failure modes effects analysis (FMEA), production part approval process (PPAP), supplier quality engineering, and production audits ensure parts meet customer requirements.
Engineering — a capable engineering team that leads production process design, tool selection and custom design, CNC programming, and fixture design/build provides flexibility, shortens lead times, and enhances quality.
Machine shops will charge different rates based on their size, experience, and other factors. Choosing the right machine shop involves finding a manufacturer at competitive prices — but this should never be at the expense of quality.
Third-party machine shops carry out custom CNC machining and other manufacturing tasks for businesses. Those businesses need assurance that their designs will remain private and not exposed or sold to other competitors or third parties.
To ensure confidentiality between a machine shop and its customers, you can work with your machine shop to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) before undertaking any projects. It ensures that your designs will not be passed on to mysterious third parties.
Quality and Reliability
Machine shops should have experienced machinists and use modern CNC machines and measuring equipment. It is wise to visit the facility before building a business relationship. If it is not convenient, it is also constructive through learning more about the supplier’s workshop through the website, Youtube channel, and social media.
A reputable CNC machine shop must incorporate quality control in its design and development process of prototypes. Their CNC manufacturing process and the quality of their finished products must conform to industrial design and fabrication standards.
In determining the quality control of CNC products, vendors must carry out an in-process inspection to ensure that they deliver high-quality products to designers.
When contracting a CNC machine shop’s services, it is ideal to look at the prototyping tools to manufacture prototypes. The type of machining tools used determines the quality of work produced.
A reputable machine shop should have a coordinated measuring tool to carry out complex prototyping projects. This measuring machine takes the machined workpieces’ geometrical dimensions to ensure that the fabricated component aligns with the design specification, with high precision and minimal tolerance. Consequently, such vendors can produce prototypes of top quality. Examples of CMMs are gantry, bridge, and cantilever.
The goal of reputable CNC shops is to manufacture quality products and provide a unique customer experience. As a result, they hire certified design engineers, designers, and computer programmers to design high-fidelity products for clients. Additionally, these machine shops can handle customers’ complaints satisfactorily. A designer should physically meet with the manufacturer to determine if the client will proceed with the firm or look elsewhere to locate such providers.
When selecting a good CNC machine shop vendor, it is necessary to consider its workers’ safety and work environment’s safety. A reputable CNC machine shop must create a safe atmosphere for operators to use various machining tools to work.
The CNC workshop staff are to wear the right clothes for the job. Flammable or/and loose-fitting attires are all disallowed from a CNC shop. Putting on safety goggles in the CNC machining processes is a must.
The working environment should be clean and safe for all workers in a CNC machine shop. Only trained and certified experts are allowed to operate CNC machines.
Finding a good CNC machine shop with which you can genuinely partner can be a real challenge. When selecting a CNC machine tool supplier, you should consider the abovementioned factors. These will help you better understand what to expect with your project. Moxperts CNC machine shop can provide precision CNC machining service based on customer’s prototyping project, feel free to contact our team for a solution.