CNC is a general subtractive manufacturing method. CNC machining starts with a piece of material and uses CNC machines with different numbers of axes to remove a portion of the material, depending on the design complexity of the part, until it is cut into a finished part. This delicate rotational process enables extremely high dimensional accuracy and compatibility with many materials, including plastic, metal, and wood.
This high level of versatility allows CNCs to machine most of the parts we use every day. So which product or part is more cost-effective for CNC machining? We have summarized a variety of parts suitable for CNC machining according to different classifications.
We can compare two classifications based on part material and part performance.
Parts that can be machined by CNC machining – products by material
The compatibility of CNC machining makes it possible to use a variety of materials, which is not possible with other production methods such as 3D printing and injection molding production. While 3D printing is moving towards greater durability and more material options, CNC is still the best choice for projects with special material needs and properties, especially during product testing stages where material validation is required.
Aluminum, stainless steel, brass, etc. are the most common metal materials in production. Depending on the desired properties of the product, there are also alloys with different compositional contents. CNC-specific cutting tools and speeds are an economical choice for machining metal materials.
Wide range of plastics
Engineering plastics or polymers are popular because of their different characteristics such as high strength, toughness, and low cost. The subtractive process of CNC machining can keep the internal structure of the part in a uniform shape.
Large stage foam letters, dimensional signage, set and landscape production, museum exhibition.
Parts that can be machined by CNC machining- by field of application
CNC machining utilizes the precise design and precision cutting of computers to provide numerous complex parts for dozens of industries. Although mass production has been applied to many parts, there are still parts that require more complex custom production.
High velocity, rapid airflow, and extremely high pressure are three factors that must be considered in the design of aerospace equipment. Engineers must construct each part precisely to avoid as much risk as possible. Accuracy has made CNC machining a machining method that aerospace equipment relies on. The industry of aerospace components requires ultra-durable materials such as titanium, aluminum, nickel, and alloys, so CNC machining provides an ideal solution for creating all parts from simple to complex.
With the development of lightweight electronic devices, electronic products are becoming smaller and smaller, and their functions are becoming more and more powerful. This requires guaranteeing extremely fine tolerances, CNC miniature, and micro-machining processes capable of maintaining very tight tolerances during production. Delegating the task of controlling and cutting tools to computers and machines can bring precision to a level that cannot be achieved manually by humans.
The aerospace industry needs to build faster-than-sound aircraft, and the transportation industry needs durable components to move cargo everywhere. Parts used on various vehicles require CNC machines to be manufactured, including transport ships, train railways, passenger cars, etc. A series of tests need to be carried out before the transport vehicle can officially enter the market. And CNC machining can speed up the R&D process and meet the needs of the necessary vehicle and part testing.
In addition, the repair of classic cars also requires CNC turning repair, and many discontinued parts rely heavily on CNC machining. Many CNC mechanics can even reproduce car parts without the original drawings. Without these amazing efforts from CNC mechanics, a good portion of classic cars wouldn’t be as value-for-money and safe as they are today.
Commercial product updates are iteratively fast, and the flexibility of CNC machining allows the production of shape parts of various sizes in a variety of materials. For new product development, rapid prototyping, modeling, 3D graphics, etc. can be checked and verified before being quickly put into mass production. Modifications to existing products can also be implemented quickly.
CNC machining solutions are also commonly used in the manufacture of medical devices as well as in the manufacture of orthopedic devices and surgical implants. The CNC can even do knurling or mirror finishing until a complete end product is provided. For medical specialties, CNC equipment can record and generate its documentation, which can provide automated reports for product tracking and FDA process approval.