Being Cost Effective in CNC
CNC machines are a well-established part of the mass production realm and are well known for needing minimal human input. However, they are not entirely autonomous (yet!) and do still require periodic guidance. To help you on your way, we have put together a list of tips to help your CNC machining run smoothly.
Buy Decent Tools
By the same token, if your cutters are not up to scratch then you’re not going to end up with an optimal part at the end of production. The tools are what directly touch the working material and therefore have a huge impact on how the final piece will look. Poorly made cutters and tools can end up breaking and/or damaging the material by leaving unsavory marks where a higher end too would leave a smooth finish.
Needless to say, the unsavory marks and broken tools actually end up meaning that your production process is more time consuming and sometimes even more costly if you’re having to start over due to damage caused by cheap tools. Cutting corners (pun intended) in machining only ends in tears.
Choose the Right Material
Now, it may be tempting to reach for the cheapest available material to increase your profit margin and minimise your capital output. However, if the item you end up with doesn’t serve its purpose effectively, you’re not going to have customer satisfaction. If you don’t have customer satisfaction you won’t have good reviews and recommendations, nor will the customers be likely to return.
So, to be optimally cost-effective, it’s best to find a middle ground, where you can still create a quality product but without overpaying. The best thing to do for this is to shop around – look at different providers and work out which is the best fit for you and when you have an ongoing relationship with a material provider the trust relationship can build and you can often get better deals with long-term partnerships. So – don’t sell out for substandard materials, but do shop around for the best deals.
Consider the Design
Some designs come as they are and have to be carried out to the tee in order to function as intended, others allow for some creativity and flexibility. Now, when an opportunity such as this presents itself, it is wise to consider difficulties in different designs to work out which options are most time and cost effective.
As such, you should consider; hole depth (deeper holes are more likely to break tools), internal radii (smaller radii need a slower machine – so opt for larger radii for speed), corner type (rounder corners tend to be cheaper than square), wall thickness (thinner walls have less structural integrity – consider the strength necessity of your part) and finish (you can protect with anodising and/or bead blast to remove machining marks – what will the part be for and what does the client want?).