Despite technological advances such as 3D printing, CNC machining remains one of the most cost-effective on-demand production solutions to date. Without it, it is impossible to machine materials such as metals. However, due to the numerous factors involved, some customers may find it difficult to calculate CNC machining costs.
Do you fall into the demographic too? This article is for you if you’ve ever wondered how shop owners determine their prices. Furthermore, it will provide useful advice on how to reduce these costs to fit your financial situation. Continue reading to learn more about these helpful hints.
The factors and tips on calculating the CNC machining cost
Understanding the various factors that influence CNC machining costs is the first step toward cost reduction. When calculating the cost of CNC machining, machinists take the following factors into account:
The CNC Machinists consider this in the first when determining how much a CNC machining process will cost. Because CNC machining is a subtractive process, the finished product will invariably contain more material than was used in the process. Machinists purchase blocks of these materials and calculate the cost per block. Metals and plastics are the two most commonly used materials in CNC machining. Let’s dig a little deeper into each of them:
1.1 Metal materials
Metals commonly used for CNC machining include aluminum 6061, stainless steel 303, and brass C360. Mechanics prefer aluminum 6061 due to its low cost and high machinability. The machinability of Stainless Steel 303 and Brass C360 is better, but the price is higher. By using our quote software, you can learn more about how material expenses are accounted for in your CNC costs.
1.2 Plastic materials
Because of the lower average price for bulk materials and the shorter machining periods due to their lower hardness, using plastics for CNC machining is more cost-effective. Despite the fact that individual blocks of POM (Delrin), ABS, and Nylon 6 are more expensive, their bulk costs are comparable to those of aluminum 6061. Using PEEK plastics, which are extremely expensive, but it could be a good choice for some specific applications.
2. The cost of CNC machine
The cost of machining is determined by the machine used. Three-axis machines and multi-axis machines are the two most common types of CNC machining machines. The 3-axis machines in Europe cost roughly $35-$40 per hour, whereas the multi-axis machines cost between $75-$120 per hour on the European market. You can get 3-axis machines for as little as $8-$10 and 5-axis machines for as little as $30 from Chinese companies like LEADRP.
Machining costs are affected by two factors: machine pricing and the number of hours a machine is scheduled to run in a year (which is 5000 hours on average). Machinists calculate their machine shop rates by dividing the machine’s cost by the number of hours it will be used in a year (also known as the machining cost per hour).
3. The labor cost of CNC machining
Because of the high level of automation in the CNC machining process, you do not need to pay for a large number of staff employees. Simply put, design and digitization account for the majority of the costs. There are three major labor costs associated with CNC manufacturing processes:
3.1 3D CAD design and CNC programming costs
The most expensive component of this labor cost is the design and digitalization costs. Developing a CAD file for your product necessitates hiring a professional designer. You can avoid this by doing the work yourself. This is followed by a visit from a manufacturing engineer, who will confirm that your design is repeatable and, if necessary, make suggestions for improvements. The programmer is the final person who converts the CAD file into a CAM file so that the CNC machine can understand the design.
3.2 CNC machine set up and running costs
Setting up the CNC machine for a specific task and ensuring everything is done correctly takes a significant amount of time for him. The setup costs can vary greatly depending on the number of items to be manufactured. Because the parts are spread out over a larger number, the cost per component is lower in bulk parts manufacturing.
4. Post-processing costs
After your product has been manufactured, it must be assembled and transported to its final destination. These procedures will require more funding due to the higher costs of human resources.
5. Tooling costs
Custom CNC fabrications may require a specific set of tools before CNC manufacturing. Despite the fact that the tool bits will be returned to the machine shop after production, you may be liable for some of the machine’s operating costs. When working with extremely hard raw materials, the tool used may prematurely wear out.
6. Surface finishing costs
Surface treatments on CNC machined parts can improve their appearance and resistance to harsh environments. Even if they are beneficial, they raise the cost of machining.
All of the above factors should be put into consideration when calculating the cost of CNC machining.
How to Reduce CNC Machining Costs?
CNC machining may cost clients more than expected, particularly if they do not produce a large volume of goods. You can adjust CNC machining prices in a variety of ways, depending on your requirements:
1. Consider using another material with lower cost
The material you select for your product has a significant impact on CNC machining costs. Before selecting a material for use in the manufacturing process, its cost should be carefully considered. Furthermore, the machinability of the material is critical. Machining time influences CNC machine shop hourly rates for your manufacturing process, which in turn determines machining costs.
2. Optimizing the Product Design
The structure of your product is taken into account when calculating CNC machining costs. The amount of time it takes to machine your part is directly proportional to its complexity, more complex, more time and money costs. Before you send your design for a quote, ask yourself the following questions to help you reduce its complexity:
- Did I follow the Design for Machinability (DFM) guidelines to optimize my product designs?
- Do I really need features or machining option in my products?
- How can I reduce the complexity of my product without compromising its functionality?
- Is it possible to divide my design into smaller parts to make it easier to CNC manufacture and assemble?
- Can I modify my design to reduce the costs of setups and special tooling required?
- Are there any materials that are less expensive or easier to manufacture that can meet my design requirements?
If you want expert design advice, LEADRP will be your best choice. A team of 250 engineers is ready to help you with any aspect of your prototyping and batch productions needs. Please do not hesitate to contact us.
CNC Machining Service Cost in Different Areas
Having someone else complete your project can also save you money on CNC machining. Projects that are outsourced to CNC machining firms in wealthy countries, on the other hand, are prohibitively expensive. Chinese companies, on the other hand, can offer lower prices while maintaining the same level of quality.
In Europe and North America, the cost of living is so much higher, and CNC machining prices tend to be higher too. Prices for three-axis machines range from $35 to $40 per hour, while prices for multi-axis machines range from $75 to $120 per hour.
In Asian Countries, especialy in China, the living cost is much lower, so they can offer the same high-quality service with a better price and in CNC machining. Because of the cost-effective CNC machining service offered by Chinese manufacturers, many clients from all over the world would want to work with them.
LEADRP is a good example of a Chinese company delivering high-quality CNC machining products at a reasonable price.
Is it difficult for you to find high-quality CNC items at a reasonable price? If you are unfamiliar with the CNC process but require high-quality items, why not try LEADRP’s CNC machining service.
At LEADRP, we offer the best CNC machining methods on the market. You can contact us get a free and instant quote. We will review and provide free feedback on your design within 12 hours of receiving it.
LEADRP has created a well coordinated manufacturing system that includes real-time progress communication and feedback. So you can count on us to manufacture and deliver your products on time and high-quality.