Machining, also known as subtractive manufacturing, is a prototyping and manufacturing process that creates the desired shape by removing unwanted material from a larger piece of material.
What are the different types of machining?
Various machining techniques have been around for decades, but most fall into three principal processes:
How does machining work?
In modern product development, machining requires using a Computer Numeric Control or CNC machine. A CNC machine uses computer software to take CAD design models and map out toolpaths, turning the designs into 3D machined parts. It can create parts from a variety of materials, in varying finishes, with tolerances to the nearest .001”. Unlike rapid prototyping, machined parts use real materials reflecting the end product’s density, finish, and porosity. Machined parts are used for representative testing, models including sliding components where friction is a factor, and sealed components requiring 0 rings and gasketed surfaces.
What are some advantages of machining?
- Choice of a variety of finishes and materials
- Tighter tolerances down to .001″
- Real materials that have real densities
What are some disadvantages of machining?
- Only works from one side at a time. The object needs to be turned and repositioned manually
- Requires a skilled machinist
- Materials and time to machine can be expensive