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The True Cost of CNC Machining

by Nathan Zachary

If you are interested in CNC machining, you may be wondering how much does it cost? How much does it cost to make parts using CNC machining? There are several factors that can affect your costs, from the material you want to use to the quantity of parts you need and where you are located. This article will explain what you need to know about the true cnc parts cost, so that you can make an educated decision when purchasing or outsourcing your projects.

General costs

Most people will tell you that CNC machining costs about $0.75 to $1 per inch, but that’s only a ballpark number and doesn’t take into account a few key factors. YIJIN Hardware is not just any shop—it specializes in producing large quantities of high-quality products. The two major variables we need to consider are product complexity and number of units produced—both affect pricing per unit dramatically.

Set up costs

The most significant cost related to a project is, unsurprisingly, its setup. Set up costs are upfront costs before any machining occurs. For example, with hardware such as YIJIN Hardware, all of our products can be purchased online or through a 3D printer marketplace and delivered to your door in less than 48 hours at no extra charge.

Maintenance costs

Maintaining a machine is a cost that has to be taken into consideration. This includes upkeep and repair, as well as replacements for wear-and-tear parts like belts and discs. There will also be some level of skilled labor involved with repairs and general maintenance; if you don’t have someone on your team who is comfortable with these tasks, it might make sense to outsource them or hire a freelancer for short term. On top of all that, there’s some downtime that you’ll have to budget for: The initial programming process can take several hours (or even days) depending on how complicated your part design is and how in-depth you want to get.

Spindle costs

In some cases, users can expect to pay an additional charge for a high-speed spindle. Typical prices are $200–$350 per month. Most spindles require special cutting tools, so you’ll have to factor those into your monthly cost as well. These run between $0 and $10 each, depending on how often you use them. If a high-speed spindle is available for your machine, it will be in your best interest to use it—even if that means spending a little more each month. Why? High speed yields better quality work and improves production time (which is also good for business). For example: A complex part that takes three minutes to cut at 4500 RPM will take just one minute at 10,000 RPM.

Feed rates (per hour of cutting time)

On a purely dimensional basis, probably lowest is 5-12 ipm feed rate for straight lines; for contour cutting with 3-5 tools in a job, one tool typically cuts at 20-40 ipm and another slower (8-15 ipm) but with more curves might work out cheaper. If a 3rd tool added to do more bulk (same diameter), add 10% cost of 2nd tool. For simple parts or complex parts done once there is no need for CAM software but if running several jobs where several parts have same size and shape than using CAM can speed things up by not having to create G code again.

Shop overheads

Your equipment costs can be broken down into a few different categories. The first, and perhaps most important thing to keep track of, is depreciation. Depreciation is an estimate of how much each year will lower your purchase cost based on a percentage value taken off every month or year that you use it. For instance, if you buy a machine for $20k, but you’re going to depreciate it by 10% per month and expect to hold onto it for 5 years, then your total expense would be $6080

Profit margin

This cost is very closely tied to your choice in materials. CNC machining produces parts by taking a large, block piece of material and cutting away what’s not needed. The more expensive (and stronger) your starting material is, the higher your profit margin will be. Keep in mind that some aluminum alloys are better suited for machined parts than others; look for a high degree of hardness and durability. For example, 6061 aluminum alloy isn’t suitable for use in structural parts because it’s softer than other available options. What material you choose also determines who makes most of that profit margin; suppliers like https://yijinsolution.com/ can provide machine-ready blocks at lower costs than smaller fabricators or job shops can achieve on their own.

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