7 Tips for Choosing the Best Precision Machining Services
Searching for precision machining services can be overwhelming. Here are 7 tips to help you pick the best one.
There are many precision machining services out there. This variety is great for fostering competitive costs, but can make it challenging to find the right service for a particular application. After all, when you are looking for a manufacturing partner that can help you to meet a specific timeline, you don’t want to waste valuable time researching and choosing between several different precision machining services.
Fortunately, finding the right CNC machining service provider doesn’t have to cause headaches. The following seven tips can help guide you in choosing the best precision machining service for your needs, taking into account factors like location, customer support, cost and more.
1. Look at Experience
The first tip for choosing the best precision machining services is to find one with experience. In other words, look for a partner that has been in the business for a while. That is not to say that there aren’t new precision machining services out there that are good at what they do, but those with in-depth manufacturing experience—which is really built up over the years—are capable and reliable. Not only does an experienced manufacturing service have in-depth knowledge of production processes, but it also has a reputation to uphold in terms of customer service and product fulfillment.
RapidDirect’s manufacturing service is based on over a decade of experience: we have delivered parts to thousands of customers from across the globe and from all types of industries.
2. Review Equipment Offering
The second thing you’ll want to evaluate when looking for a CNC machining service is what technologies and systems they offer. This is important for a number of reasons. For one, if your part requires five-axis CNC machining, there is no point in starting discussions with a service that only has three-axis machines. Check the service’s machine roster—they are usually listed on websites—to make sure they have the manufacturing equipment you need.
Secondly—and this is especially important if you are on a strict schedule—determine how many precision machining systems the service has in operation. A shop with two machines might not be able to offer the same part turnarounds as a larger service with hundreds of machines on the go. At RapidDirect, for instance, we are proud of our extensive CNC machining capabilities, driven by 200 units 3, 4 and 5-axis CNC machines, as well as auxiliary and support equipment.
3. Check for Certifications
This tip is more important for certain applications than others, but it is a good way to determine how established a precision machining service provider is. For instance, if you are seeking to manufacture parts for aerospace applications, it is important to ensure that the production facility has the required certifications for the tightly regulated industry. Similarly, if you are ordering medical devices or components, the production partner should have medical-grade facilities and certifications.
Beyond these specific circumstances, there are other types of certification to look out for, including environmental certificates, as well as documentation from material suppliers, and quality assurance certifications. At RapidDirect, we adhere to ISO9001:2015 requirements and operate an ISO 9001 QMS qualified facility. We also supply material certifications and quality assurance reports on demand.
4. Evaluate Lead Times
Another critical factor in choosing the right precision machining service is lead times. Basically, you want to know whether a manufacturing partner can machine and deliver a part within your required timeframe. In most cases, precision machining services will list their usual turnaround times, however these vary based on the scale and complexity of your manufacturing job.
Today, some of the most advanced precision machining services offer an automated quoting software, which will indicate not only the estimated cost of production, but also how long your order will take to process and manufacture, taking into account other jobs in the pipeline, machine availability, etc. This makes it easier for customers to proceed with an order and have a full understanding of what they can expect. Furthermore, it is good to ensure that your precision machining service partner offers fast, tracked shipping for your final parts.
5. Consider Communication
Not too long ago, finding a manufacturing service partner involved combing through phonebooks, making calls and collecting cost estimates. Finding the right partner could therefore be very time consuming. Today, however, thanks to advances in computer technology, communication is easier than ever. If you need to, you could reach out to 20 rapid prototyping services in under an hour for quotes.
Beyond the ease afforded by the internet, it is still important to evaluate the communication quality of a machining service. It’s always a good sign if a manufacturing service responds promptly to your emails or phone calls and is available to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Ensuring good communication between a customer and manufacturing service provider is key: it promotes the success of your production job and paves the way for continued collaboration.
6. Location is Key
Another critical factor to consider when seeking a precision machining service is location. While there are benefits to working with local machining services—for instance, it can simplify shipping and logistics—it may also be worth considering an international CNC machining provider. If you are following a strict manufacturing budget, for example, some international precision machining services can offer lower production costs, because of cheaper raw materials and labor costs.
In many cases, international manufacturing services, such as China-based RapidDirect, can even meet your tight turnaround times, leveraging robust logistic chains and trusty shipping partners.
7. Is the Price Right?
Last but not least is the question of cost. You want to ensure that your order will meet your quality requirements, but you also must check that the cost of manufacturing fits in your overall budget. Fortunately, all precision machining services offer quotes, which take into consideration the scope of the project, the manufacturing process needed to fulfill the part, the raw material costs and more.
Some CNC machining shops still work using the more traditional method of manual quoting, which can involve much back and forth and can take days (if not weeks) to lock down an accurate quote. Today, however, there are many service providers that are embracing new technologies, which provide instant, hassle-free quotes. At RapidDirect, for instance, we have pioneered an automated instant quote software, which tells you how much a specific job is expected to cost. Simply upload your part file, select your preferred production method and material, and our instant quoting engine will generate an accurate estimate. This approach streamlines your search process significantly, as you no longer have to email or call various service providers to figure out their price scale.
RapidDirect Fits the Bill
Overall, finding the right machining service can make or break your project. The good news is is that once you find the right manufacturing partner, you can keep working with them for years. It’s all about the right fit for your needs.
RapidDirect is an experienced rapid prototyping service that specializes in precision machining. We love manufacturing parts and products that meet our clients’ expectations and have built our reputation on this for over a decade. Our services also include sheet metal fabrication, 3D printing, injection molding, as well as finishing services. Get in touch with us today or get an automatic quote for your production needs.