How to machine parts too big for your CNC machine

March 20, 2017

You get a unique customer order. They want you to manufacture them a few parts. And one of them is way larger than your CNC machine table can handle. Or, so you think.

So what do you tell your customer? Do you say, “Sorry, I can’t help you with that. Here’s the name of someone who can help you.” Or, do you say,”Not a problem. We’ll get that done for you. In fact, we’ll even beat your deadline.” Well, you’ll have to decide. But after reading this post, you’ll at least have a good understanding of how you can help your customer. Here’s what to consider:

1. You’ll Have to Be Creative with Your G-Code

Yeah, there’s going to be some inconveniences when you take on a project too large for your CNC machine. But hey, you’ll get to charge more for that and you might win a life-long customer too. With your G-code, you may have to split it into multiple sections. You’ll have to reposition the piece after each section completes. Reference holes or surfaces come in handy for quick alignment. While it’s not ideal you’ll get an opportunity to increase your profit.

2. Make Sure You Have Great Rigidity Support

You know it’s going to happen. At least some of the part won’t rest on your CNC machine table. Depending on how much does not rest on your machine table, there will be a certain amount of droop. It may be barely visible but it will affect the precision of your cut. Whatever you can get your hands on to support rigidity like rotary tables or 2-4-6 blocks can greatly help.

3. Break the Job Up Into Simpler Segments

This may sound obvious, but it’s the cheapest way, bar none, to improve your manufacturing process. So, it’s the most sensible to have in place. Break your job up into smaller jobs. To keep your mind in a happy place where you provide good service to your customer, consider your job as four simpler ones rather than one big difficult job. When you use these tips, you can machine parts of nearly any size for your customers. You’ll be their hero and it’ll lead to more revenue for your business to stay healthier and more predictable.

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