If you’re looking to create a prototype or product in a cost effective and timely manner, one great option to consider is CNC machining. It’s economical, has a fast turnaround time, offers plenty of different materials you can work with and is accurate enough to replicate productions.
There are many ways to optimize and improve a design for better results at the lowest cost. Here are five things you should consider for your next CNC machined project:
Only Specify Critical Tolerances as Neccessary
Only specify critical tolerances that are absolutely necessary to your design. By limiting the number of critical dimensions, it allows the CNC machinist more freedom in making your part and avoids costly set-ups and measurement for non-critical areas.
Deburr Sharp Edges
The “sharp” edge on a design is the angle left over after two adjoining faces have been milled. An edge like this will easily chip, however simple deburring is the fastest and most economical way to treat these “sharp” edges.
Don’t Go Too Small
Often, designers associate smaller with more precise, or somehow superior. In reality, smaller cutting radii make for a poorer surface finish. Larger radius cutters can be machined faster and create a smoother finish where the high and lows are averaged out over a larger surface area.
Stick to a Standard on Inside Corners
Another good design tip to keep in mind when CNC milling is to go with a standard radius of 3 mm or larger for inside corners, as milling small internal radii is time consuming, expensive, and requires special set-ups.
Know Your Surface Area
It’s important to keep in mind that a small, precise cutter must be fed into the workpiece at a substantially slower speed to prevent destroying the piece. To machine a given surface area requires that the cutter make multiple passes, removing small amounts of material each time increasing lead time.