Factors Affecting the Cost of CNC Machined Parts

When you’ve got a new part to be manufactured, it doesn’t take long for the price tag to come up.  CNC machining costs can be daunting.  Fortunately, CNC machining costs are not cast in stone.  You do have some ability to keep your costs down.  It all hinges on attention to detail and working with a professional CNC machine shop like MacFab as early as possible in the design process.

Materials Matter

Before you have your first drawings, you know what your product is going to do.  You know the temperature range in which it will operate, the kinds of environment it will be exposed to, and what other equipment it will connect to or interact with.  You have enough information to begin looking at materials. Issues like machineability, thermal expansion, and corrosion resistance, help dictate your materials choice.

Is your part going to mount to a stainless-steel component?  You’ll need to avoid aluminum.

Is weight crucial?  Titanium may be called for.  There are a host of considerations.

Your engineers are responsible for designing your product, but do they work every day with the metals industry?  The answer is almost certainly No, and that’s why bringing in our engineers at this point makes a lot of sense.  They know the countless varieties of materials and can help you choose the specific material that suits your needs and possibly save you some money.

The Shape of Things

The geometry of your product can make or break a project.  By optimizing the design for manufacturing, you can save a lot on your CNC machining costs.  MacFab’s engineers can help arrange the design to make it easier to produce.  They can often show you how to reorganize a product to save having to use the more complex (and more expensive) CNC machines.  They can make sure your design can be set up once for milling rather than having to be turned multiple times to reach all features.  That saves a lot of expensive manufacturing time.  The shop can know well in advance what kind of tooling they’re going to need for your job and have it on hand and ready to go.

Another point on geometry is your tolerances.  The more and tighter the tolerances you specify, the greater your CNC machining costs.  Use your CNC machine shop engineers to help you determine what tolerances actually matter and what don’t.  Focus on the important points.


Tolerances leads straight to the next point -product finishing.  Whether your product will be seen and requires powder coating or abrasive bead blasting, logos, instructional signage, or whatever, work that out as soon as you can.  Don’t leave it until late in the game.  Granted you may have to wait for certain design aspects to be finalized, but make those arrangements as they become possible, and work with MacFab so we can plan ahead.

Labor Savings

If you work with MacFab and take advantage of our expertise, you can save significantly on labor and production costs.  If the engineers are familiar with your project, they can schedule and arrange labor well ahead of time, with the knowledge that the materials, tooling, and equipment will all be ready to go as needed.

If you’re involved with manufacturing, it’s inevitable you’re going to have to ask how much does CNC machining cost.  Focusing on these points above from the beginning of designing your product can yield tremendous savings.  At least as importantly, focus on these details can save you from delays, product failures, and unexpected expenses during manufacture, when your customer is expecting you to deliver.