Precision Machining is an umbrella term for a manufacturing process that takes raw materials such as plastic and metal and removes material to create precisely finished components. This is also known as subtractive manufacturing. Specific types of precision machining include Milling and Turning. Precision machined parts are all around you from everyday household objects to specialty items.
In the same way Michelangelo carved the great statue of David, precision machining starts with a large blank form and chisels away to reveal the poetically precise form within (albeit, with precision, digital tools nowadays). It begins with a block of material. The raw form is placed into a turning or milling machine and material is subtracted via a series of directions from a computer. This is also called CNC (Computer Numerical Controls) Precision Machining.
Far before the material is turned into a final part, the design needs to be drawn up, made into a 3D computer model, and the model specifications fed into the computer algorithm. Proper engineering is critical to this process because all finished products must be uniform with exact measurements and durability amongst the batch.
Anything that has precision parts requires precision machining. Projects and resulting products can be anything from a simple blank with a few holes milled in it, to a housing with different complex geometries that require many processes and tight tolerances to be held. The parts and tools created through precision machining span every industry and facet of life from healthcare instrumentation to automotive parts and much more.
CNC stands for Computer Numerical Controls. Any machining devices equipped with CNC will follow the exact specifications and directions fed to it by the computer system’s design. CNC precision machining provides superior accuracy and quality.
There are two main aspects to precision machining, the design and the creation. The design phase requires Computer-Aided Design (CAD) or Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) software to create the final part design which will direct the precision machines to create the part. When the part is ready to be manufactured, machines such as turning machines, milling machines, drill presses, lathes, lasers, torches, and others are used.
Precision Machining can be performed on a variety of materials such as stainless steel, mild steel, copper, brass, aluminum, delrin, phenolic, acrylic, and glastic. Steel provides low cost and high strength while stainless steel is popular for its corrosion resistance. Various alloys of aluminum, such as 6061, 2024, and 2011, are both cost-effective and easy to machine.
Precision Machining requires a variety of experts to take a part from concept to finished product. Engineers and designers need technical knowledge of CAD and CAM programs to ensure a flawless design. CNC milling and turning technicians provide expert operation of each machining step to craft the most precise part possible.
Precision machining is not just a process—it’s an art form. Only truly experienced and dedicated craftsmen and technicians can create the parts you’re looking for. At Ometek, our staff has years of experience with turning, milling, and other precision machining processes. If you need any form or part made for a precision machine, then you need the experts at Ometek. Call us today to find out more.