Machining Overview

The chart below summarizes various CNC machining processes that eMachineShop uses to manufacture parts. 

Primary Precision CNC Machining Processes 

Machine Method D Materials T
Laser Cutting Laser beam vaporizes cut path 2D Most N
Milling Rotating cutter moves in 3D 3D Hard N
Compression Molding (for rubber) Heated rubber pressed into mold 3D Rubber Y
Injection Molding Molten plastic forced into mold 3D Plastic Y
Rapid Prototype (FDM) Fused plastic deposits in 3D space 3D ABS N
Spur gears cutting Cutting of plain 2D gears 2D Metal N
Turret Punching Successive punching of fixed shapes 2D Sheet metal N
Turning (lathe) Cutter applied to rotating material (concentric shapes) 3D Hard N
Waterjet cutting High pressure water cuts sheet 2D Hard N
Wire EDM Charged wire erodes material 2D Metal N
Machine Method D Materials T

Secondary Processes

Machine Method D Materials T
Bending Bends sheet metal to an angle 3D Metal N
Counter boring * Rotating tool enlarges upper portion of hole NA Hard N
Countersinking * Conical tool adds conical shape to top of hole NA Hard N
Drilling Rotating cutter moves in one dimension 1D Hard N
Finishing Various methods of treating surface of work piece NA Metal N
Grinding, Surface Abrasive wheel creates uniform flat surface 2D Metal N
Knurling  * Textured tool presses coarse textured pattern (cylindrical shapes) NA Metal N
Reaming * Precision cutting tool creates accurate hole 1D Metal N
Band sawing * Cutting blade cuts material in straight line NA Hard N
Shearing * Scissors-like action cuts material in straight line NA Most N
Threading & Tapping Threads holes and protrusions 3D Hard N
Machine Method D Materials T

T = Uses tooling (generally beneficial for longer runs). D = 2D or 3D shapes

* Specified using the Comments To Machinist features of the eMachineShop CAD.

Also see common fabrication methods.

The above processes are compatible in various combinations with: Aluminum, Stainless Steel, Copper, Sheet Metal, Nylon, Steel, Acetal, Polycarbonate, Polystyrene,Acrylic, Plastic, Fiberglass, Brass, Carbon fiber, PTFE, Titanium, ABS, PVC, Sterling Silver, Spring Steel, Bronze and Rubber.

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