Most modern businesses can be divided into two large groups: production and services. The second group is significantly bigger since it’s easier to launch a business operation by doing some service based on your education or skills. You can easily set up a dental clinic if you have the education for it, of course, or become a freelance content writer with little to no financing.
Production businesses have it much harder. If you want to produce or organize the production of CNC components, CNC controller kit, CNC router for your company’s needs, first, you need to know a lot. Furthermore, it would help if you had the right equipment within your facility and a highly-skilled workforce to handle the machining.
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However, production businesses have a higher ceiling than their service counterparts. Once you’ve set everything up, the production processes demand less time and can grow into something possibly much larger than a service company.
For that reason, we’ve decided to create this straightforward step-by-step guide for you to see that establishing a CNC production site is not the easiest task in the world. On the other hand, there are numerous ways to make the whole process easier, like outsourcing the final product from an already established CNC shop.
It would be best if you began by selecting what you want to produce. Although we won’t help you choose the final products you want to produce, please continue reading to acknowledge how to manufacture the perfect CNC products for your needs.
Step 1: CNC Machine Shop Requirements
Above all, you should acknowledge that you’re designing CNC parts with manufacturing intent, which can come with certain manufacturing limitations. In theory, it would be best if you know where you want to produce the parts to estimate the possibility of production. In case you don’t have a CNC shop waiting for your design, here’s what you should look at while you’re looking for a suitable CNC machining service provider:
- Take a close look at the materials these shops work with. The more materials they work with—the better.
- Ask about the maximum dimension of the parts they can produce.
- Examine the finishing options that the CNC service offers. A lot of services don’t provide the possibility for polishing or anodization, for example.
- What about the equipment? Only work with eminent service providers who offer advanced CNC services and solutions to meet your needs.
Once you select the machine shop you want to work with, collect information about their prototyping and manufacturing capabilities and write them down in an Excel sheet. Keep it at hand when you design your product.
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Step 2: Design Your CNC Part
Once you have a CNC service in mind to work with, it’s time to design the piece you want to manufacture. Start by listing all of your product’s features. Afterward, draw a sketch that will outline the product’s general layout. Decide on the main dimensions and start working on a 3D model of your design. 3D modeling is very accessible and easy nowadays since there are many free lessons available on the internet.
Step 3: Alter The Design For Manufacturing Needs
Once you have the 3D model of your desired part, the next step is to slice it and dice it slightly. Get a sheet of information from your CNC machine shop, ask them to give you some manufacturing advice, and begin reviewing your design. This step is one of the most important if you ever get to serial production of the CNC part because if you make a change in the design that lets you save $0.01 in production costs per unit—you’re good. The final result of the design should be a 3D model placed on a technical CAD drawing accurately representing all of its dimensions, tolerances, and other specifications.
Step 4: Machine Setup
Before the CNC operator runs the CNC program, they have to prepare the whole CNC setup to produce your parts. These preparations include affixing the workpiece directly into the machine, onto machinery spindles, or into machine vises or similar work holding devices. Afterward, the required tooling like drill bits or end mills gets attached to the adequate machine components. Once the machine is completely set up, the operator can run the CNC program.
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Step 5: Machining Operation Execution
The CNC program provides instructions to the CNC machine. It enters machine commands that dictate the tooling’s actions and movements right to the machine’s integrated computer, which operates and manipulates the machine tooling. Launching the CNC program prompts the CNC machine to start the machining process. The program guides the machine throughout the process as it performs the necessary operations to produce your custom-designed CNC part.
Step 6: Quality Control
As soon as your CNC part’s production is complete, we advise you to check the finished product personally, whether it meets your design requirements. In fact, the best CNC shops worldwide offer an in-house quality control team that checks the outcome of the process for you and sends you a full report on whether the batch is completed as initially agreed.
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Step 7: Surface Finishing
Finally, surface finishing is crucial because it can add to your finished product’s aesthetics and, more importantly, its durability. Of course, metal sheen looks very good on a freshly machined part, but it will grow dull, and corrosion will set in a matter of months. If you work with the proper CNC fabricator, there should be many finishing techniques and options available.
If you don’t need the perfect finish, painting the part with a brush is always an option for a low-cost solution. However, suppose you want your product to look great and, more importantly, to last. In that case, we suggest adding some of the available finishes, including bead blasting, anodizing, powder coating, and others.
Now that you have a better understanding of the in-between procedures, from the initial design idea to selecting the proper CNC manufacturer for your needs to the full development of the product, we hope you’re already shortlisting the CNC providers that can help you with your next hit product. However, suppose you still have some unanswered questions on the matter. In that case, you can always turn to experienced CNC manufacturers or engineers to bolster your knowledge and prepare yourself before you sign that manufacturing contract.