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Friday, September 22, 2023
HomeCNC milling machineThe TRUE COST of CNC machining!

The TRUE COST of CNC machining!


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How much does it cost to make a CNC machined part? The answer depends on a number of variables like the material type, part quantity, dimensional tolerances, lead time, and surface finish. We demonstrate this using the two shock bottom brackets we CNC machined for the landing gear on the DarkAero 1 prototype. They were made in house on our Tormach from 7075-T6 aluminum. Quoting tools from Xometry offer a quick and easy way to see the cost of machining these parts if we were to outsource them. We uploaded a 3D CAD file of the shock bottom bracket to Xometry and then looked at the instant quote numbers to see where the cost might land in production.

Links to tools we use for CNC machining:

Tool Cart – https://amzn.to/3owW9ui
Anti-Fatigue Mat – https://amzn.to/3q6y12c
Gear Drawer – https://amzn.to/3nvTAaL
Torque Wrench – https://amzn.to/2LwFPev

DarkAero 1 Aircraft – https://www.darkaero.com/aircraft
DarkAero Knowledge Base – https://www.darkaero.com/knowledge
DarkAero Apparel – https://www.darkaero.com/shop

If you enjoyed this video and would like to see more of this type of content, follow along as we work to create the fastest, longest range aircraft you can build in your garage!

More information on DarkAero can be found on our website and other social media accounts:


00:00 – Intro
00:36 – Machining
04:37 – Cost



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  1. If you are going to interpolate the bores make sure your machine is properly maintained. Excessive backlash will degrade circularity and can cause significant stress risers allowing a properly designed part fail because of poor manufacturing. Of course you could also just use a boring bar.

  2. A friend of mine used to work as a prototype machinist and teacher for machinists, and he always said, ask the constructor if the tolerances NEED to be as tight as he has set them on the drawing, or if he did it just of habit.
    His first job he ran a series of pieces on a clapped out mill, so they scrapped a lot of them for being out of tolerance, the material was just cheap steeel, so no biggie, but it was a lot of machine time wasted.
    When he saw them mounting the piece, he realized that the tolerance should have been 0.1mm, not 0.001mm
    99% of the parts he scrapped would have worked just fine.

  3. When I worked at Boeing as a machinist they told us once that due to tolerances a 707 could vary 7 feet in overall length.
    I ran an electronic tracer and had tolerances on two parallel surfaces over a 6" span of +0.0/-.005 on a titanium part refueling nozzle. Every part I made passed inspection.
    Management came down on me once for making less parts than the first shift guy till I pointed to all his reject tags.
    That shut them up. Lol

  4. Pay attention to price, beat down supplier price, bristelle, pipistrel not selling……cirrus and Cessna about the only thing selling. You better call grs and not brs….if you don’t you’ll fail. Source…..high net worth individual

  5. You guys definitely are overcomplicating the tool paths and setups. Keep the part on the bar, hang the bar out of the vice, and profile the side along with the hole. Drill two holes in the corners of your fork for the radii. Saw part off. Now profile the triangle and drill your cross hole with the part on its side. Stand it up and mill out the fork and there you go

  6. if you are sending the file with all tool paths/Gcodes it honestly should not cost that much you have already done 90% of the work and thats being Generous.. 10 bucks for two, but buying only in bulk and still costing 8x per part would only be worth it if you could not produce the part how ever at that point and cost might be worth looking into buying some capable machines, just an order or two from you is buying that machine there using food for thought

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