As you may know, CNC prototyping consists of multiple techniques. This includes CNC milling. You might be concerned about the costs spiraling out of control when you start a new CNC milling project. If this is the case, it definitely is a great idea to take stock beforehand. Also, you should plan ahead to achieve significant savings. Below you can find a few tips that will help you to reach the lowest CNC quote you can with your new CNC milling project. Check also this cost reduction tips video on Hubs.com on Youtube.
Tips to keep your CNC project on budget
The cost of CNC machined parts depends on the following:
- Machining time & model complexity: The more complex the geometry of a part is, the longer it takes to machine and the more expensive it will be.
- Start-up costs: These are related to CAD file preparation and process planning. They are significant for smaller volumes but are fixed. There is an opportunity to reduce the unit price by taking advantage of economies of scale.
- Material cost & finishes: The cost of the bulk material and the ease with which that material can be machined greatly affect the overall cost.
- As a rule of thumb:
To minimize the cost of CNC machined parts, stick to designs with simple geometries and standardized features.
Optimize setups so downtime is reduced
When the machine needs to be stopped and the setup needs to be changed, there will be downtime. This will cost you money over the course of your project. It is therefore very smart to keep the number of setups used to a minimum. This way the machine can be up and running constantly instead of lying dormant while the alterations are made for the next step of the CNC milling process. The ideal is of course that there is only a single setup required to manufacture your part. This is not always possible. For more complex projects you should aim for fewer than six setups.
The cost of materials will be a major part of the money you will have to spend on the CNC milling project. It will pay to manage this with a high level of care. Let’s use creating a prototype as an example. Obviously it is essentially usually to splash out on the best available materials. A lesser alternative that is much cheaper will do just fine when it comes to a prototype. Are you going to perform a short run of a particular component? Quality is of the essence in this case, so it might be smart to spend a bit more on the material.
There are a few non-recurring engineering costs that can be a part of a CNC milling project. This is particularly the case if the aim is to eventually manufacture parts on a large scale. These so-called NREs are usually upfront expenses. Due to this, you should try your best to reduce these costs as soon as possible. By doing this it will take less time for your CNC milling project to become profitable once it is up and running. Therefore, you definitely should not ignore the non-recurring engineering costs.