Why choose CNC machining instead of molding?

Machined parts are everywhere, and it’s easy to see why: CNC machining is suitable for a range of metals and plastics, and machined parts can be fabricated quickly and affordably with no tooling required.

With Tik precision, you can get machined parts and prototypes at fair prices with short lead times, and we have experience working with clients from various sectors. But why should you go for precision machined parts vs molded parts? Sometimes the choice is usually obvious, but sometimes it’s harder to decide.

What are machined parts?

What is a made part? Precision machined parts will be parts made by subtractive cutting machines such CNC mills, COMPUTER NUMERICAL CONTROL lathes, CNC grinders, COMPUTER NUMERICAL CONTROL EDMs, or even manual mills and lathes. Made parts happen to be widely used for rapid prototyping and mass production.


In manufacturing, machined parts may be contrasted with shaped parts, cast parts, forged parts, extruded parts, and 3D printed parts, all of which are produced using different techniques. That being said, “ precision machined component ” may describe a element produced partly using one of these other methods but finished with engineering. (A solid metal component with machined features, for example. )

Machined parts might also become referred to as CNC machined parts or CNC parts if they possess been created with a digital machining center.


Here are six advantages of machined parts over shaped parts.

1 . No MOQ

One of the principal benefits of precision machined parts is the ability to purchase them with simply no minimum order quantity.

For cast parts, it is necessary to fabricate metallic tooling – a process that takes a long time and typically costs tens of thousands of dollars. Precision machined parts, however, are cut directly from a blank workpiece, which makes it cost-effective to purchase very small quantities or actually one-off parts.

Of course, requiring a extremely large quantity of ( plastic ) parts might mean molding is a better proposition. Yet machining is definitely virtually unique in offering high-quality parts with no MOQ, making it ideal for smaller companies, little creation runs, and prototyping.

2 . Plausible prototyping solution

Some businesses choose to order injection molded prototypes, but it is typically only huge businesses that can afford to do so. The cost of tooling can make prototyping prohibitively expensive.

Machined parts are suitable and affordable as representative models because they may end up being created because one-offs. Machining can be also much faster than molding, which means R & D departments can quickly iterate several versions of a part, then put it through whatever testing or perhaps assessment is certainly needed before moving on to creation.

The material versatility of engineering also means firms can, for example , order made parts in several different metallic alloys or composite plastics to see which performs best under test conditions.

3. Design freedom

Machined parts may have got a wide variety of shapes and sizes. This is usually because COMPUTER NUMERICAL CONTROL machining is generally not subject to extreme molding design constraints like thin walls and tapering; accuracy machined parts can become thick and robust, but their features can also be fine and detailed.

Although machined parts have some limitation when it comes to, for example , internal sections and deep channels, machining still represents one of the most geometrically flexible production processes.

Molded parts, on the additional hand, must possess slim walls and conform to more strict style criteria generally.

Even 3D printing, generally seen since one of the best developing techniques in terms of design independence, has limitations this kind of since avoiding overhangs. (And extensive support structures may turn into required for more complex and sprawling designs, which need to become removed with costly post-processing steps. )

4. Quality

Made parts might end up being created to a extremely high standard. Perhaps more importantly, customers can easily specify tolerances which need to become met by the machinist. This means the machinist or machine operator can take extra period upon tight-tolerance parts and individual features.


While injection molds may also be manufactured to tight tolerances, each individual molding cannot be held to this kind of high regular. Moldings developed toward the end of the mold lifespan may lack the definition of earlier units.

Machining likewise avoids surface quality issues associated with molding this type of since flow lines, jetting, and flash in the parting line.


5. Lead times

Machined parts may turn out to be produced faster than parts made via various other production processes like molding.


This is partially due to the absence of labor-intensive tooling, but the making process itself is also highly efficient: some of the faster machining centers equipped with linear guide rails include rapid rates of around 4, 000 centimeters per minute (though parts should not actually be machined for those speeds).


The one-step nature of machining and the speed of CNC engineering centers combine to make machined parts a few of the fastest to fabricate (in low volumes), reducing business lead times for shorter time-to-market and practical rapid prototyping.

6. Alterations

Because CNC machined parts are made from a digital CAD file, it is possible to make changes to that digital style right up until the moment of fabrication.


This is useful during R&D and prototyping, when engineers might want to make fractional adjustments to the precision machined part or perhaps create multiple versions. It also reduces the possibility of waste, seeing that defective parts are less likely to always be built.


This is a significant advantage for made parts more than molded parts: tooling cannot easily be changed, and it would be a huge waste of money to create a new mold if a last-minute alteration is required.


Does that means shot molding is less advantage? of program not really. Injection molding is certainly among the the majority of efficient ways to build huge volume of parts. It could be a matter whether your parts fit the procedure or not really. Learn more about injection molding.