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In recent years, companies and manufacturers have turned to 3D prototyping techniques to create custom parts with minimal wastage.

One such technology is CNC machining that utilizes designs on computer software like CAD and CAM to produce accurate prototypes. The computer instructs the machine, creating whatever designs and end-use parts you could want.

If you’re new to the industry and want to try your hand at CNC machining, here’s our quick guide explaining everything you’ll need to purchase and learn to make this work.

What is CNC machining?

As mentioned earlier, CNC machining or Computer Numerical Control machine uses computer designs to develop prototypes. The process requires heavy machinery, a computer that controls it, and software to create designs and patterns.

CNC machine creating a prototype

The machine has a rotating bit that houses different cutting tools, drills, and other end mills to develop your prototypes. You can create any design on your computer and the machine spindle moves up, down, front, back, and sideways on the x,y, and z-axis to remove materials away from your prototype. 

Basic software you’ll need

Most manufacturers use CAD/CAM software but AutoCAD, Fusion 360 are also some great options. They not only allow you to create detailed designs but also offer alterations and adjustment options if you’re not happy with the final product.

You can draw three-dimensional pictures on all these software, view them from any angle and ensure everything is in order before you start printing and wasting valuable resources.

Things you need to buy before the machine is delivered

When it comes to CNC machining, you’ll need to buy the machine but there are other tools and parts you need to buy too to ensure your prototypes come out looking as accurate as possible.

You’ll need to choose a tool bit, based on the machine you’ve purchased and your desired results. For most beginners, a starter bit set is the easiest and fastest option but if you’re looking for something more heavy-duty, an eighth-inch end mill might do the trick.

Generally, starter kits come with everything you’ll need to ease your way into CNC machining and are quite affordable. However, if after reading all this, you don’t think you’re up for the task, hiring a third party might be a more cost and time-effective option.

We understand buying heavy machinery and understanding the system may be challenging especially as a beginner, which is why we offer our CNC machining services.

At Contact Instruments, we create complex drilling and oil rig instrumentations using the latest CAD/CAM software, so we know all about accuracy and precision when it comes to developing prototypes. We also offer mud gauges, tong torque gauges, clipper weight indicators, deflection weight indicators, standpipe gauges, coil tubing gauges, pad type weight indicators, frack cables, pressure gauges, electronic gauges, and much more.

If you’re interested in our products or services, feel free to reach out and we’ll be more than happy to help!