7 Reasons to Choose CNC Machining for Rapid Prototyping

Computer Numerical Control machining, or CNC machining provides a number of advantages when it comes to creating durable products with speed and accuracy. Let’s take a closer look at CNC machining and why you should choose CNC machining for rapid prototyping.

7 Reasons to Choose CNC Machining for Rapid Prototyping?

1. Precise Tolerances

As the full name implies, Computer Numerical Control machining is controlled by a computer program. Essentially, the machine uses a CAD drawing file to create an item from a solid block of material. And while machines can sometimes break down or experience errors, they’re much more accurate than even the most skilled human operator.

As long as the machine is set up properly and the design files are correct, CNC machining can produce items with very tight tolerances. Some CNC machines are capable of tolerances as close as +0.05mm or 50 microns. This precision makes it easy to create prototypes exactly as you envision them, with intricate detail, multiple components or any design features you need.

2. Mimics Finished Product

Some prototypes are designed to simply mimic the appearance of the finished product, while others are designed to mimic its form as well as its function. When you choose CNC machining for rapid prototyping, the prototype will very closely resemble the finished product, including appearance as well as functionality.

Depending on the design of your prototype, you can use CNC machining to construct a single finished piece, or multiple pieces to assemble the prototype. Other rapid prototyping processes, like 3D printing, often produce visual representations of the prototype or components. CNC machining, on the other hand, creates products very similar to those produced through injection molding, which is commonly used in mass production. Therefore, CNC machining produces durable, functional pieces that will very closely resemble the finished, sale-ready product.

3. Many Different Materials Available

While processes like 3D printing generally work with plastic polymers, CNC machining works with a wide variety of different materials. Aluminum and aluminum alloys are the most common materials used in CNC machining, however there are many other materials available. CNC machines may also use brass and stainless steel, as well as non-metallics like plastics, wood and foam. This makes it easy to construct a prototype with the hardness, tensile strength, wear resistance, and other important characteristics.

4. Easy to Change

Since CNC machining is controlled by a computer program and attached to a computer design file, it’s relatively easy to change and edit your prototype as you continue to improve and develop the design. In a full-production run using injection molding or similar processes, it’s very difficult and expensive to change the design. Choosing CNC machining for rapid prototyping allows you to continue to make improvements.

5. Fast Turnaround

CNC machining is an efficient process that can give you hundreds of units in a very short time. Once the design files are perfected and the process is set up, the machines will work quickly and precisely. While 3D printing can take hours to produce a single unit, CNC machining can produce dozens or hundreds of units in the same time frame.

6. Short Run

CNC machining can produce a few dozen or hundreds of thousands of units. If you have reached the stage in your prototype development where you are ready to test your product with your first users, CNC machining can quickly produce multiple usable, durable prototypes that closely mimic the final product.

7. Finishing Options

With your parts constructed, there are also many finishing options to make it easy to get the look and feel you want for your prototype. This may be especially important if you are comparing the effects of different appearances on sales values such as a painted finish compared to a chrome finish. Or you may wish to ensure that a particular finish performs the way you expect, such as a powder coated part adequately resisting rust. Your prototype may be left as-is, or it may be powder coated, sanded, chrome plated, bead blasted, anodized, and more.

There are many advantages of choosing CNC machining for rapid prototyping. If you have reached the point in your product development where you are ready for a short run of your design, contact us. We can provide you with a quote and help you streamline your design for the most cost-effective CNC machining.

What Projects Need CNC Manufacturing?

M&M Automatic Haas CNC Turning Machine

When you’re making plans for your next production or prototype project, you may be wondering where you’ll get the custom parts you need to manufacture your products, or generally what projects need CNC manufacturing? That’s where a company like M&M Automatic Products comes into the picture. Providing high-quality parts—such as screw machine components—on time is our speciality. The next time you’re planning out your next product, consider if it will need CNC manufacturing.

Production Projects with Custom Parts

When you need to keep costs down and still receive your custom screw machine parts on time—which could include nozzles, fasteners, spacers, connectors, seals, or precision shafts, contact M&M Automatic Products. We know that the custom parts you need can’t always be manufactured in a cost-effective way at your own site, so that’s why we specialize in making custom screws, bolts, and much more. We have produced custom parts for industries all over the board—we have served clients in the aerospace, automotive, restaurant, and medical industry, plus countless others. When you’re selecting a CNC manufacturer, hone in on the quality of parts used, how the prices compare to competitors, and how fast of turnaround is available. Whether you’re looking for custom machined parts (bushings, spacers, connectors), custom parts made of metal, brass, steel, or a custom machining and screw machine shop, know that M&M can produce the parts you need.

Prototype Projects and Screw Machining

Custom parts are often a necessity for prototype projects. You may not be sure exactly what parts are needed for your prototype—that’s when it’s time to get in touch with a CNC manufacturer. Regardless of the complexity or variety of materials required, the right CNC manufacturer will work with you to transform your prototype to production. CNC milling machines at M&M Automatic Products are capable of running multiple types of materials, including carbon alloys, aluminum, brass, stainless steel, and plastics. Even if you don’t have all the details of your prototype project finalized, a good CNC manufacturer will help you narrow down your best material options that fit within your budget. With M&M CNC manufacturing, you can purchase custom pieces for your prototype. Prototype projects typically require 100–1,000 pieces. Take advantage of working with a company that can not only work with you to develop your ideal prototype, but can work with you if you want to start larger-scale production of custom parts. Because we work with clients of all sizes, you can enjoy the seamless transition of taking your prototype to production because we will already understand your needs and project parameters.

Whom to Entrust Your Production or Prototype Project?

Whether you’re ready for a large scale production of custom parts, or looking to start out with a prototype project, be particular about the CNC manufacturing you partner with for your project. Here at M&M Automatic, we understand the need for your project to stay on cost. We offer the lowest and most competitive pricing possible for your custom parts, and are flexible to the turnaround time you need to complete everything on time. Learn more about how to select a CNC manufacturer. If you’re ready to work with a cost-efficient and knowledgeable CNC manufacturer, request a quote today for your project.

How to Select a CNC Machining Company

How to Select a CNC Machining Company

When selecting a CNC machining company for your project, it’s essential to do your research and be willing to make some phone calls in order to choose the company that’s best suited for your needs. Take a look at the tips below on how to select a CNC machining company.

1. Examples of Previous Work are Available

Whatever the project is that you have in mind, you likely have a blueprint of the parts that need to be produced. In turn, your CNC machining company will use that blueprint to create a prototype for you to approve. Take note of the quality of the prototype, and ask for examples of their work for other clients. You probably have a budget in mind for your parts production, so ensure that the quality of the CNC machining company’s previous work are up to your standards and expectations. Ask for customer testimonials, and consider reaching out to previous clients to get first-hand reviews of their work, and to know if they were pleased.

2. Use the Prototype Process to Gauge the CNC Machining Company

Throughout the process of communicating your design, you not only want a product that meets your company’s standards and stays within budget, you also want to partner with a CNC machining company that is easy to work with on a project. Use the prototype process to gauge how easy it is to communicate with them, if they listen to your needs, if they stick to deadlines, and overall—do you enjoy working together? If the CNC machining company meets your needs through the prototype process, they’re more likely to be a good fit when you’re sorting out large orders with them.

3. Is the CNC Machining Company Flexible to Your Needs?

When you’re wondering how to select a CNC machining company, look for one that is flexible to your changing needs, deadlines, and budget. Work with a company that will help you understand which materials are best suited to your project, and are willing to try something new in order to meet your quality standards. Be wary of companies that get bogged down by process logistics. A good CNC machining company understands that expedited orders are sometimes necessary and will work with you to get you the parts you need on your schedule.

4. Work with an Experienced CNC Machining Company

The length of time the CNC machining company has been in business is a testament to how well their products and services met their customers’ needs. Look for a CNC machining company that thoroughly understands your request, and has years of service under their belt. Working with an experienced CNC machining company will ensure that you receive exactly what you want and to the quality standards you expect.

If you’re interested in working with a CNC machining company with 20 years of experience, and is focused on providing you the high-quality parts for your business needs, contact us today. Take a look at the offer below to learn even more about what to look for in a CNC machining company.

Types of CNC Milling Machines

M&M Automatic Milling Types

The world of milling and machining was forever changed with the introduction of computer numerated control, otherwise known as CNC Milling. Computer numerated control is a process in which a computer takes input from a Computer Aided Design (CAD) software and converts it into numbers, which are then used as coordinates that control the movement of the cutter of the machine. Motion is created among multiple axes (a differing amount depending on the type of machine being used) and a spindle which is used to do the actual drilling.

Depending on the type of product being created and type of material being used, there are different CNC milling machines that are more preferable for different applications. The amount of axes being used, the amount of control needed for the machine and the size of the product being made will all have an impact on the type of machine being used. So, what type of machine is best for creating your product? Find out below.

Vertical Mill

The orientation of the mill being used has a great affect on the product being made. A vertical mill simply means that the spindle axis on the mill is vertically oriented. Milling cutters are positioned on the spindle of the vertical mill, allowing the machine to easily cut into the material as needed. The shape, angle, and size of the milling cutter are all dependent on the type of product being made, with the different characteristics amounting to different textures and coatings.

Turret Mill

Whether or not the spindle is mobile is dependent upon the type of vertical mill being used. With a turret mill, the spindle is stationary while the table below it moves both perpendicular and parallel to the spindle axis. A quill is usually found in turret mills, which allows the milling cutter to move up and down as needed. The turret mill allows items to be vertically cut either by the milling cutter moving vertically or the table moving vertically. The turret mill is the most versatile vertical mill; however, they are most effective when the machines remain relatively small, so that the tables and the spindle have easier mobility.

Bed Mill

A bed mill is similar to a turret mill, however, the table of the machine only moves perpendicular to the spindle, opposed to perpendicular and parallel. The spindle is the only part of the machine that moves parallel to the axis, creating a more confined production. Bed mills are also considered to be more rigid than a turret mill.

Horizontal Milling

Horizontal mills function almost the same way as vertical mills, except that the cutters are mounted on a horizontal arbor. Instead of drilling into an object, an arbor shaves unwanted material from a project off, which is why it’s horizontal instead of vertical. Horizontal mills also include a universal table, which allows the product to be cut at various angles and adds to the versatility of the machine.

Generally, horizontal mills are used to cut grooves and slots into a product. However, specialty cutters can also be used to cut bevels and radii, but these specialty cutters tend to be more expensive. Horizontal mills are most commonly used to cut gears.

Why CNC Machining Still Reigns Over 3-D Printing

M&M Automatic Turning Machine

In the last couple years, 3-D printing has been getting a lot of publicity in the machining and manufacturing industry for its ability to print an image into a physical part, such as connectors, screws and nozzles. While, this technique provides a new and unique perspective on manufacturing, there are a number of areas in which 3-D printing falls short in comparison to traditional cnc machining practices. Here we’re detailing our three main areas in which cnc machining still reigns over 3-D printing today when it comes to manufacturing parts and components.

1. Unmatched Speed

CNC machining works on the premise of subtracting or removing to create the desired part. By using this approach, cnc machinists are able to manufacture parts very quickly. While on the other hand, 3-D printing works on the premise of building or adding to something in order to create a product, making it a much more time-intensive process.

2. Unmatched Flexibility

With 3-D printing, you can currently only work with materials such as ABS plastic, PLA plastic, and some metals. While it may be possible to print with a desired metal, cnc machining can achieve a stronger, more durable and cleaner product when finished that most standard 3-D printers cannot.

3. Unmatched Quality

CNC machining offers precise machining capabilities that allow you to determine what type of quality of part you need, depending on the purposes it will serve. It even allows you to vary that quality within different areas of the part, giving you the precise measurements, look and feel for your application. On the other hand, 3-D printing works on the premise of building layers and utilizing layers to build a product (smaller layers are stronger than larger layers). Because it cannot vary the height of those layers without completely compromising the product, you are not able to change the quality of different areas within a part, further eliminating customizability.

The Takeaway:

3-D printing may be the newest trend in prototyping and part manufacturing, but nothing beats the quality, precision, speed and flexibility of cnc machining and manufacturing. Whether you’re looking for a complex part that’s never been made before or a stock piece for your machining equipment, cnc machining can provide the best part to get the job done.