CNC Machine Parts to Test

CNC Machine Parts To Take The Heat

There are dozens of great ways to make prototype parts.  3D printing in many variations (in many materials) are all the rage these days (and for good reason), but sometimes you still need parts that can really take the heat.  There is nothing quite like great CNC Machine parts when you need something for real-life, full-on stress and abuse.  Whether for Prototype or for Custom Machines.

Stronger, Tougher . . . Sometimes Better

Stack of CNC PartsThis customer needed a part variation that was significantly stronger and more rigid.  The design is similar to the older parts, but more robust.  After analyzing the needs and available space, the design for these includes a little more material, a better distribution of material, and stronger steel.

First came the redesign and approvals.  Then, the CAD files were sent to one of our local favorite CNC Machine Shops, Monson Manufacturing to be made.  Just send the files and wait for the note to pick them up.  I truly love having that kind of relationship.  These are, of course, not complicated parts, but it is always fun to get the new pieces, examine the excellent CNC finish, feel the heft and know they will work perfect.

Plus, who doesn't love beautiful CNC machine parts?

These particular parts are in half-hard Stainless Steel 17-4 for strength and corrosion resistance.  And, because 17-4 is reasonable to machine in the half-hard state.  The previous version (designed by a different company) didn't hold up, but these will.

Roughly speaking, these clips are 4 times stronger - partly because of material choice and partly because of the engineering design changes.  The final CNC machine parts could have been done in a high strength steel then heat treated for maximum strength, (which would be even stronger), but that is not necessary.  Strength is a balance of material distribution, not just ultimate material properties.  And, for these it would take a lot longer, and cost more.

Finally, the choice of Stainless Steel gives the added benefit of corrosion resistance.  A benefit the previous parts did not have, but very beneficial in the given environment.

Nothing Like CNC Machine Parts

Prototype CNC Machine PartsCNC Machine parts may be a throwback to old ways of doing things.  There are some disadvantages compared to 3D printing - even in metal - like cost and time to machine, but it is still the easiest way to get parts that will stand up to real world high stress and testing.  Parts that count when safety is a factor.

As we think about functional prototypes and what we want to accomplish with them, materials come straight to the front.  Then, the process of making them.  In this case, full load testing will be done to prove the design, so material is a big deal.  CNC Machine parts are one way to get the material we need into the pieces that will take the full stress and the heat.

Options other than CNC machine parts may work better for some situations, like this example of managing conflicting constraints.  Water jet steel joining with the CNC machine parts bring it all together.

All that said, we remain fascinated by the almost daily advancements in rapid prototyping for metals.  If you are not in tune, this is a fascinating and rapidly advancing field.

Pieces in Synthesis

Having good relationships with skilled CNC Machine Shops are important to us.  That is one point in this example with these simple, but critical parts.  We have highlighted one, but there are a few great shops in the Colorado Springs area.  We Thank You for all the great work.  Our job is not possible without the help and skill of these partners.

Just for the fun of it, here is much bigger example of bringing the pieces together from many shops - CNC Machine Shops, water jet cutting, sheetmetal fab, powder coating, and many more.  They make the awesome parts, so we can bring it all together.

For more on Prototyping, check out this short article on mixing technologies to create functional prototypes.  There is always more to learn.  Have a wonderful day.

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