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How to Save Money on CNC Machined Prototypes and Parts

From simple prototypes to complex technical and medical components, CNC machining is a favored production method for a variety of projects due to its versatility, premium quality, and design capabilities. For some products, CNC machining is the only option. Certain metals must be machined, and other projects may require specific cosmetic or corrosion-resistant finishes. CNC machining also ensures the final product has tight tolerances, which can be key to its functionality and fit with other parts. CNC machined prototypes offer superior value to buyers and sellers alike.

CNC machining offers an array of benefits, but these can come at a high cost. Luckily, you can save money by partnering with a high-mix, low-volume CNC shop like Aztalan Engineering. We’ve prepared a list of considerations to save money on CNC machined prototypes and parts without sacrificing quality.

Saving Money on CNC Machined Prototypes and Parts

Nail Down the Most Important Requirements

Before you begin your machining project, evaluate your needs and wants for your finished product. What features are necessary for your prototype to function properly and satisfy your design needs, and what features would be “nice to have” but could be lost without affecting the performance of your product? Separating your true requirements from desires will highlight opportunities for savings.

How tight do you need your tolerances to be? Generally, the tighter tolerance a part has, the more expensive it will be to machine. Your machine tolerance needs may even vary within a single product. Consider whether certain aspects of the prototype require tight tolerances, such as structures that adhere to another component, and whether other features can have looser tolerances to cut costs.

Do you need the part to be made of your desired material? Some metals can be pricey, and these costs add up quickly if you’re producing a large number of products. Consider less expensive materials like aluminum to save money in the long run.

Simplify Your Design, if Possible

The longer it takes to machine your prototype, the higher the production costs. Evaluate whether you can simplify your design to decrease the time required to program a part into the CNC machine and execute the programmed tool path. Though a simpler design may have a more blocky appearance, it will be easier to machine and more cost-effective.

Updated Equipment Keeps Our Costs Low, No Matter Your Design: At Aztalan Engineering, we update our equipment often to ensure high-quality, high-speed machines are processing your prototypes, so even complex designs can cost less with shortened labor timelines.

Leverage Standard Drill Sizes

Ensure any holes in your design are a standard size. Non-standard designs may require the use of an end mill tool, which can extend the production timeline and raise the costs.

Avoid Multiple Finishes

The finish of your prototype or part can improve its appearance or affect the texture of the final product. Adding a finish with powder coating, logos, or bead blasting may suit your design desires, but can also raise costs. Consider an as-machined finish to lower costs for prototypes and parts that won’t be highly visible when used.

Certain finishes also help protect your product against harsh environments. Anodizing coatings offer corrosion and wear resistance, but raise the cost. Evaluate what your prototype or part will be used for and what finish it needs to stay protected most cost-effectively.

Order in Large Quantities

Once you’re satisfied with the prototype and you’re ready to produce the completed part, consider ordering in large quantities. Purchasing a single large quantity to start instead of several smaller orders will drive costs down. Before signing on with a CNC machining company, ask if they offer any bulk pricing discounts.

Work with Aztalan Engineering for Your CNC Machined Prototypes and Parts

At Aztalan Engineering, we know how costly CNC machining services can be, and we’re dedicated to helping you save money without sacrificing quality. We’re firm believers in price transparency and keep our customers informed of the price and process every step of the way. Efficiency is one of our top priorities, and we utilize unique programs that allow us to optimize part features and workflow so no time, effort, or money is wasted.

We’re prepared to take on your next prototype project, no matter how simple or complex. Our robust capabilities with the latest machining tools and technology allow us to offer you exactly what you want within your prototype, and our efficient software and expert engineers guarantee top-quality work without breaking your budget or timeline needs.

As an employee-owned business, our on-the-job experience allows us to offer unique savings solutions to your prototype and part needs because we understand how to lower your costs without lowering your quality. If you’re ready to connect with a skilled team of engineers about how to save money for your next CNC machined prototypes and parts, contact us today.

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