Finding the CNC Machining supplier that gives you what you want is no easy task. It’s critical your complex components are made to spec and delivered on time. But not everyone can manage that!

You want to find a supplier who:

  • constantly reinvests capital into the latest manufacturing machinery and software;
  • hires and retains experienced engineers who speak your language; and
  • uses the right tool for the job.

This blog post reveals three critical things to look for so you choose the ideal CNC machine shop to partner with. It is, of course, a critical business decision because the right workshop will protect your precious margins!

Software That Is Up To The Job…

First, advanced software is essential. Machining parts to your specifications requires software that is up to the job! 

For example, if your design requires indexed orientations, the software used by your manufacturer should simplify the implementation of those operations; tool check and avoidance should be fully automated to prevent collisions.

And, if your design includes parts with a variety of configurations, the software and hardware should combine to allow for multiple tilt options.

Software that takes care of these critical systems will enable the machining of a huge range of surfaces, cavities and specialised tasks. 

If your supplier has scrimped on software, you run the risk of missed deadlines that WILL impact your margin!


Machinery Matters!

Second, the spec of the machine your manufacturer uses to manufacture the parts is, obviously, as important as the software. Take a peep at the capacity list, it will speak volumes about your potential supplier as a company.

Of course, 5 axis machines offer many advantages over 3 axis machines, but… not all 5 axis machines are made equal

One key advantage of 5 axes is the potential to make your parts with a single setup. This reduces or completely eliminates operator errors.

A quality 5 axis machine can use relatively shorter cutting tools. This speeds up production while cutting costs and increasing accuracy; mitigating vibration and decreasing variation.

To ensure parts always meet the quality requirements of clients, Axis Precision Engineering Components combine 5 axis DMG Evolution machines with OverMind Hypermill software. A powerful combination assuring your parts are right first time!

This means your deadlines and margins are protected!

The Right Tool For The Job – Lollipop Cutters

Third, the clever use of the correct tool to overcome machining challenges is a great indicator of your supplier’s engineering pedigree. Experience and expertise cannot be bought!

Your CNC engineer has a myriad of tools available for 5 axis CNC systems: end mills, flutes, drills, taps and reamers. One tool, the undercutting end mill or spherical ball end mill, is often known as a lollipop cutter. It helps make the impossible, possible!

The video below shows the lollipop cutter in action. A lens mounting ring for a thermal imaging camera required two slots of about 40mm for the straps to pass through. The lollipop cutter is used to curve round and cut underneath using a tube milling cycle.

If your component has one portion of a piece hanging over another, an undercut will be necessary. Performing this operation would be very difficult or impossible on a three-axis machine, but is possible on a five-axis system using a lollipop cutter. As the video shows, this tool accomplishes its task quickly and precisely.

The lollipop is just one tool used to manufacture components with tricky geometry. The engineers at Axis have the expertise to choose the right tool or tools for each operation.

Be mindful that not every supplier has the combination of machines, software and expertise to overcome your machining challenges and produce complex components to tight tolerances.

Boosting Your Margin With The Right Supplier

In fact, this combination can save your business money in ways you probably don’t realise. Cheap is not always cheerful – often it is the opposite.

Click on the image below, download the eBook and find out how using Axis Precision Engineering will increase your margin in unexpected ways!