There are a number of options for manufacturing your custom machined parts. Which option you choose depends on what you’re looking for, your budget, your timeline, and other factors. Let’s take a closer look at the different options for custom machined parts, and which might work best for you.
The Best Options for Custom Machined Parts: How to Choose
Local Job Shop
Working with a local job shop provides you with the most flexibility and visibility. You’ll be able to take a closer look at the shop behind your parts or prototype and work more closely with engineers and machinists. This is a particularly attractive option if you’d like to optimize your design. Look for a job shop that also provides CAD/CAM design assistance and you may be able to take advantage of cost-savings during the manufacturing process.
Working with a local job shop also allows you to learn more about the machines and machinists involved, and make sure that the job shop has the capabilities and expertise to manufacture your parts with accuracy and quality. Collect the information you need about your project beforehand and you’ll be able to vet the job shop properly, and ensure that they have the right equipment, skills and manufacturing process.
According to a 2018 e-commerce report by the Census Bureau, manufacturing made up approximately 67% of e-commerce shipments, amounting to nearly $4 trillion. This includes a wide range of different products, components and items, including custom machined parts.
Online ordering is one option to order custom machined parts. Though it offers less flexibility and visibility, it might provide greater speed and cost-savings. There are many different services for online ordering, and different companies have different processes for fulfilling orders. In some cases, the company may offer some remote design assistance, but others might not offer this service. In other cases, you might simply offer your design files and, with an expedited and simplified quote process, receive a quote and order your parts.
If your parts of components are somewhat simple and don’t probably won’t benefit much from design assistance, or if you have ordered these types of parts before using the same design files, this may be a viable option.
Working with a toll manufacturer can give you additional control over the manufacturing process, but will also give you greater responsibility. With toll manufacturing, you’ll be responsible for providing the materials and any other other requirements, while the manufacturer provides the facility, equipment and staff.
If you have favorable relationships with materials suppliers, this option can help you save considerable money. In addition to maintaining control over materials, this option can also provide more protection over intellectual property, such as your patents. For buyers that wish to have more control over the manufacturing process while still working with a reliable partner over an extended period, toll manufacturing can be a favorable option.
In some cases, in-house manufacturing can be a good option, though this requires considerably more time and investment. This option provides maximum control over materials, intellectual property, and every aspect of the manufacturing process. However, it also requires substantial investment in the equipment and facility, hiring and training, management and more.
If you foresee your manufacturing needs increasing significantly in the near future, and if you foresee this being a lucrative branch of your business, this may be a worthwhile investment. However, it’s important to carefully consider all the expenses associated with this endeavor, and accurately forecast income you might gain from it before making this decision.
There are many options to obtain your custom machined parts. Consider your options carefully and the costs and benefits of each. As you make this consideration, think about what these business relationships and investments will mean for your business right now, and into the future.