CNC Machining Service

Through our wide network of manufacturers, Fractory’s CNC machining services can accommodate your needs from prototyping to series manufacturing. Whether your project is big or small, on the simpler side or highly complex, Fractory can make it happen.

CNC Machining Quote Online

Just upload your parts to the platform to get a CNC quote and lead time in seconds. Select the appropriate properties, including the material, surface roughness and general tolerances and the price for your custom CNC parts will be updated in real time.

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Fractory takes care of everything from quoting to delivery, dealing with all the admin so you can focus on the engineering side of things.

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CNC Milling Services

CNC milling services

Milling is one of the CNC machining services we offer. This process involves a rotating cutting tool that removes chips from the material when brought into contact with the workpiece.

While it may sound very similar to drilling, the two are definitely not the same. Drilling is only suitable for making holes axially. A CNC mill can move laterally to remove material in that way. 

There are different types of milling tools to either mill axially, laterally or both ways. Axial cutting needs teeth on the tip of the cutting head. Lateral cutting means that the teeth have to be perpendicular to the circular cutting head.

Fractory’s partners offer state-of-the-art machinery to guarantee great results with precision machining. This includes 5-axis milling equipment as well as live tooling possibilities. Driven tools, or live tooling, significantly reduce production times by making different operations possible without the need for a change of tools.

Creating precision components with an outstanding surface finish is possible with our CNC milling service.

CNC Turning Services

CNC lathe services

CNC turning service is suitable for creating cylindrical parts. The most common example of a turned part is a shaft.

CNC turning cuts the shape by spinning the metal part. The cutting tool can move axially in 2 ways – along the side of the part as well as to and from.

Thus, the automated system controls the cutting tool, bringing it into contact with the workpiece, while the part itself is turning. As a result, bits of swarf are cut from the metal to produce the required shape.

Turning can perform many operations like turning, boring, threading, etc. Highly skilled machinists can create precision parts on all types of CNC lathes but contemporary machining centres help to assure a level of similarity close to being identical between the machined parts.

Fractory is able to machine components in a wide range of materials. These include metals like carbon & stainless steel, aluminium, titanium and copper alloys as well as plastics like nylon, PE, POM, etc. It is suitable for both prototyping as well as large-batch manufacturing.

Sliding head turning is also available to lower the production times as well as the final price. Comparing sliding head turning to traditional fixed head CNC machines, the production cycles are about twice as long for the latter.

Our large network of partners secures access to a wide range of CNC machining capabilities that can satisfy the needs of precision engineering.

CNC Machining Design Tips

  • Add radiuses to internal edges. Most cutting tools are cylindrical, thus achieving internal sharp edges can be tricky. It’s recommended to have internal radii of 130% of the milling tool radius.

  • Avoid excessively thin walls. Thin features are prone to vibrations and deformations due to heat generated from cutting. This lowers the achievable tolerances.

  • Specify tolerances only where needed. Adding too tight tolerances will drive up the cost. Standard tolerances according to ISO 2768-m will be applied by default.

  • Avoid designing unnecessary features and features that can’t be machined. The same goes for really small features, which would need to be micro-machined. Our partners have micro-machining capabilities but this is an expensive process.

  • Cavities should have the correct depth-to-width ratio: 4 times the width of the cavity. Deeper cavities need to be machined with larger diameter tools resulting in bigger radiuses on internal edges.

  • Limit thread length. 3 times the nominal thread diameter is enough as strong thread connections take place in the first few threads.

  • Design holes with standard sizes, as these can be machined with standard drill bits. Non-standard holes are treated as cavities and machined with an end mill tool.

CNC Prototyping

CNC prototype machining allows the production of highly accurate parts in a relatively short time period. For example, die casting and injection molding require a lot of time and upfront investments and thus aren’t generally preferred for prototyping.

Sheet metal prototypes tend to be more expensive when multiple forming processes are required. It’s quite common that a prototype is created by CNC milling but when the part reaches end production it will be made from sheet metal. This obviously does not mean that CNC machining is not suitable for large-scale production, every part is unique and should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Another reason why CNC metal machining is great for rapid prototyping is that there’s no need for fixed tooling. The metal cutting inserts perform various cutting functions and depending on the CNC machine, these tools are swapped automatically or manually. Either way, time is saved.

Although additive manufacturing is a great option for creating visual prototypes, then in a lot of cases, a functional prototype is needed. CNC rapid prototyping produces parts that match the strength and other mechanical characteristics of the final product.

It is easy to implement small improvements and modifications to the original design with CNC machining. It’s possible to work with a wide variety of metals and plastics allowing to test the performance of a part made from different kinds of raw materials. This helps to find the optimal solution for the end product.

What Is CNC Machining?

CNC machining is a metal fabrication method where written code controls the machinery in the manufacturing process. The abbreviation CNC stands for computer numerical control.

Contemporary CNC machines are fully automated, eliminating the need for a manual operator to directly control the CNC machine. The code determines everything from the movement of the cutting head and the part to spindle speed and RPMs. All they need is digital files with instructions about cutting trajectories and tooling.

The part’s shape and mechanical properties are defined in a CAD file. This information is then turned into manufacturing directives for CAM (computer aided manufacturing) software. Lastly, it is transformed into specific commands for a particular machine and loaded onto the CNC machine.

Although the majority of machining processes in the manufacturing industry are controlled by computers, then in a traditional sense CNC machining refers to only a few of these automated processes, namely milling, turning and drilling.

CNC machining is a subtractive manufacturing method. This means that material gets removed during the production process, making it the opposite of additive manufacturing, e.g. 3D printing.

The benefits of CNC machines include great positioning accuracy and high repeatability, so you get consistent results every time. CNC machining is suitable for both rapid prototyping and high-volume serial production.

To learn more about CNC machining you can find additional CNC machining resources from our engineering blog.

CNC Machining Services FAQ

What type of file formats are supported for CNC machining?

Our platform currently supports the universal .stp format as well as file types native to SolidWorks (.sldprt) and Autodesk Inventor (.ipt).

Are 5-axis CNC milling machines available?

Yes, our network of manufacturing partners also includes those who have this kind of CNC machines.

How much does your CNC machining service cost?

Fractory has developed in-house algorithms and technology capable of providing automatic pricing for CNC machined parts. Quotes are based on actual manufacturing logic –  each uploaded file is processed to recognise the manufacturing process and properties of the part, which determine the manufacturing and shipping time and cost.

How to reduce the cost of CNC machined parts?

The cost of CNC machined parts comprises mainly of 4 factors: machining time, material selection, start-up costs and part geometry.

To bring down the cost and guarantee the manufacturability of your CNC parts make sure to follow our CNC machining design tips. We suggest trying out different design iterations on our platform to see how small changes in the design affect the price. Also, as the number of parts increases, the cost per unit reduces significantly, as the setup costs are only handled once.

The raw material from which a part is made is another key component behind the final part cost. In addition to the cost of the material itself, materials with low machinability take more time to machine and usually require more resources such as cutting tools and fluids. Thus, making a conscious choice when determining the material of your custom parts is important.

Are turning and milling available for wood and plastics?

The material selection includes metals and plastics, including steel, stainless steel, aluminium, titanium, PE, POM, etc. Wood is not currently available but we are looking to add more materials in the future.

What is the quality of the CNC machined parts?

All our manufacturing partners have the ISO 9001 quality management system certificate that ensures their work conforms to certain quality standards. If specific tolerances are required, please attach a drawing with relevant information.

Let us ease your workload! Order metal fabrication from Fractory and experience the benefits yourself: 1-1 engineering support, payment terms for companies, a single point of contact, competitive pricing, on-time deliveries and quality control.
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