Knowledge Hub


Precision Machining

What is Precision CNC Machining?

Precision CNC machining refers to the process of using computer numerical control (CNC) machines to manufacture highly accurate and complex parts or components.

CNC machines are programmable machining centres that follow precise instructions to execute desired machining operations such as cutting, drilling, milling, or turning.

Precision CNC machining involves the use of advanced CNC machines to achieve extremely tight tolerances and intricate geometries. This process is typically employed in industries such as aerospace, automotive, medical, and electronics, where accuracy is paramount.

Drill Bits for CNC Machine

CNC machines are highly automated and are controlled by computer instructions. These machines ensure that every dimension and feature of the finished product matches the design specifications precisely.

The tight tolerances in precision CNC machining often range from a few thousandths of an inch (0.001″) to even a few microns (0.0001″). This level of precision ensures that parts fit together perfectly and perform their desired functions correctly.

How Does Precision CNC Machining Differ from Production Machining?

Production machining refers to the process of manufacturing parts or components at high volumes and at a faster rate. While precision CNC machining focuses on achieving high levels of finite accuracy, production machining emphasizes efficiency and speed.

Production machining often involves the use of specialised machines or assembly lines, which are optimised for mass production to meet the demands of large-scale manufacturing.

These machines are used to automate the creation of high volumes of parts with consistent quality and precision.

Disc Brake for Car

While the tolerances are still maintained within acceptable limits, they may not be as tight as in precision machining. The tolerances in production machining can range from a few thousandths to a few hundredths of an inch (0.001″ to 0.01″ or more.

The exact tolerances and precision levels will depend on the specific requirements of the project, the capabilities of the machining equipment, and the techniques employed.

What are the Benefits of Precision Machining?

  1. Higher accuracy: The high degree of accuracy which precision machining produces is crucial in industries where even the smallest deviations can have significant consequences.
  1. Better quality: Precision machining processes, such as CNC machining, reduce the possibility of human error and ensure consistent quality of repeatable parts.
  1. Increased efficiency: Precision machining methods are often automated, allowing for faster production times and improved efficiency. This means reduced lead times and increased productivity.
  1. Complex geometries: Precision machining techniques can create complex parts that would be difficult or even impossible to produce through other manufacturing methods. This offers new design possibilities and allows for the creation of more advanced products.
  1. Versatility: Precision machining accommodates a wide range of materials, including metals, plastics, ceramics, and composites. This versatility lends itself to various industries, such as aerospace, automotive, medical, and electronics.
  1. Cost-effective: While precision machining may have higher initial costs compared to other manufacturing methods, it can result in overall cost savings. The accuracy and efficiency of precision machining can reduce material waste and minimise rework.
  1. Consistency and repeatability: Precision machining processes can produce identical parts with high consistency, ensuring that each part meets the exact specifications. This repeatability is crucial in industries where interchangeability and reliability are essential.
  1. Tighter tolerances: Precision machining can achieve tight tolerances, allowing for a better fit and function of parts. This is particularly important in industries such as aerospace and automotive, where precision is critical for safety and performance.
  1. Improved surface finish: Precision machining methods can deliver superior surface finishes, which is crucial in applications where smooth surfaces are required for aesthetic or functional reasons, such as in the medical or optical industries.
  1. Customisation: Precision machining offers a high level of customisation, allowing for the production of unique and specialized parts that meet specific customer requirements. This flexibility is advantageous in various industries that demand tailor-made solutions.

What is the Ideal CNC Machining Tool for Precision Machining?

A 5-axis CNC machine is considered ideal for precision machining for the following reasons:

  1. Enhanced Flexibility: The 5-axis machine can move the cutting tool along five different axes simultaneously. This allows for machining complex geometries and intricate designs with ease. The additional two rotational axes (usually rotary tables) provide greater freedom of movement, allowing for multiple angles and orientations to be achieved.
  1. Increased Accuracy: By allowing the cutting tool to move along additional axes, a 5-axis machine significantly improves accuracy. It also eliminates the need for repositioning or resetting the workpiece, which would be a necessary requirement of using a 3-axis machine. This reduces the possibility of errors and ensures precise, uniform results.
  1. Improved Surface Finish: The multi-axis movement of a 5-axis machine enables it to easily reach all sides of the workpiece, reducing the need for multiple setups. This eliminates mismatches and variations, resulting in smoother and more constant surface finishes.
  1. Cost and Time Efficiency: The ability to machine complex parts in a single setup reduces manufacturing time and costs. Since multiple operations can be performed in one go, there is no need for additional fixturing, repositioning, or manual intervention. This allows for a more streamlined production process.
  1. Enhanced Tool Life and Reduced Wear: By machining the workpiece from multiple angles, a 5-axis machine can optimise tool paths and reduce excessive cutting forces. This minimises wear and tear on cutting tools, which ensures a longer lifespan and reduced tooling costs.
CNC Machine Precision Machining Workpiece
action image
We can put your plans into action today

Award-winning aluminium tooling, plastic injection moulding, CNC machining, and rapid prototyping. We specialise in fast turnarounds of high quality components.

Want to know more? Get a quote