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Exploring the Precision Machining Process

Steps in the Precision Machining Process


Before partnering with a manufacturer, it is important to have your product design ready. Using Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software, 2D and 3D models of your product are created. This gives your manufacturer all of the design information needed to get started on production right away. 

CNC Programming

The CAD drawings are used by a CNC programmer to enter instructions into the  Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software. The CAM software then converts the instructions into machine-readable code. The CNC machines are then loaded with the code so they can create the product to the exact specifications. 


Finishing and Secondary Processes

Many times, after CNC machining, parts don’t need finishing or secondary processing, however, some parts may need plating, polishing, or grinding in order to function properly and meet desired specifications. In other cases, some parts need to be assembled into a larger product to serve their purpose. 

Equipment Commonly Used in the Precision Machining Process

There are many machines that can be used during the precision machining process, however, there are a few common ones, including:

CNC Milling — 3-Axis, 4-Axis and 5-Axis

CNC milling is a manufacturing process that uses rotary cutters to remove material from the piece. There are two basic types of CNC milling machines, 3-axis and 5-axis. 3-axis CNC milling is ideal for simple tasks that don’t include cutting over curves, while 5-axis CNC milling can cut over curves and process five sides of a part in a single setup. 

CNC Turning — Conventional and Swiss

CNC turning rotates along a central axis with a linearly moving cutting tool that removes material from a part. The machine uses one main spindle and may use one back spindle to cut the part and perform secondary operations, such as drilling or tapping. 

CNC turning is primarily used for cylindrical parts where the diameter is reduced to the desired dimension. The machine rotates the part while cutting along one, two, three, or more axes of motion in order to achieve precise details. 

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