It’s easy to design a part and say, “This should be machined,” or “This is perfect for sheet metal forming,” but not all parts scream out for one manufacturing method over another. That’s where multiple component parts make a lot of sense. Often, you can get great results using two methods, for example, when you are combine CNC machining and sheet metal fabrication.
Designing for Cost and Durability
We know you are always looking for ways to create parts that:
- Use cost-effective manufacturing processes
- Provide superior structural integrity
- Look great, especially if it’s an external part
Breaking Through Manufacturing Limitations
Sometimes, limitations in either the manufacturing method or materials necessitate design changes. For example, when machining, material thickness, the hardness of the metal, and even an end mill’s length can affect the height of vertical walls.
Remember that you still have flexibility in your part’s manufacturing, even though its purpose determines its design.
When Should I Combine CNC Machining with Sheet Metal Fabrication?
In the video below, the base is a piece of thick metal. It’s machined to a particular size with milled structures in the base. To the left and right are vertical elements with triangular designs cut into them.
Wisely, this designer has decided to manufacture the part in three pieces. The base is machined, but the vertical elements are made of sheet metal and formed to the desired shape. The design includes laser-cut triangular features. The three pieces are welded together at the base.
By designing it to combine both CNC machining and sheet metal fabrication, this part ticks off all the important boxes. It’s less expensive to manufacture, it’s strong, and it looks great.
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For more helpful machining tips, download our CNC Machining Design Guide.