When you need custom metal products, you need to decide whether you want the items made with CNC machining or sheet metal fabrication.
You will want to consider many factors before you determine which option works best for your project. Since cost and quality play such important roles in every project, it makes sense to start with those factors before you delve into the details.
When it comes to cost and quality, does it make more sense to choose CNC machining or sheet metal fabrication?
Comparing The Quality of CNC Manufacturing and Sheet Metal Fabrication
Assuming that a fabrication facility employs a professional with plenty of experience programming CNC projects, you can get incredibly precise designs from CNC manufacturing. When you take the potential for human error out of the equation, a computer-guided machine can focus on small details to give you extremely precise designs.
Unfortunately, CNC manufacturing doesn’t produce excellent results for all types of fabrication projects. For example, if you need to build an enclosure with thin metal walls, you probably won’t get the results you want from CNC manufacturing. That’s where sheet metal fabrication becomes the better option.
With sheet metal fabrication, professionals can make thin metal walls, device panels, boxes, chassis, brackets, and similar items. Often, you can get products with seamless walls, which gives you more security and attractiveness.
When you want thin metal for lightweight applications, you should choose sheet metal fabrication over CNC manufacturing. You’ll get better results while spending less money.
The Costs of CNC Manufacturing Vs. Sheet Metal Fabrication
The cost of fabricating a unique item depends on numerous factors, including the type of metal you want to use and the item’s size. CNC manufacturing and sheet metal fabrication can largely use the same types of metal (stainless steel, steel, copper, aluminum, and zinc), so your material preference shouldn’t play a large role in choosing a fabrication method.
Assume for a moment that these factors don’t play a significant role in your project’s price. That way, you can focus on the cost of the process instead of materials and project parameters.
More often than not, you will find that the sheet metal fabrication process costs less than CNC manufacturing.
A cost of a typical sheet metal fabrication project usually falls between $1,000 and $4,000. The same project could cost hundreds more when you get computers and programming involved. The facility, after all, has to recoup its investment in specialized CNC technology and professionals with enough experience to use the equipment.
Learn More About Your Fabrication Options
If you want to use thin, lightweight metal, sheet metal fabrication is probably your only choice. A reliable CNC machining shop will you that it can’t work on a project like that without charging an astronomical price.
You won’t know the exact cost of a project, though, until you get price quotes from qualified facilities. Then, you can start making informed decisions about how much money you want to spend and what level of quality you can accept.
You can start by scheduling a free, 30-minute value engineering consultation with Blackstone Advanced Technologies. Advice from an experienced professional will make it much easier to decide whether CNC machining or sheet metal fabrication will meet your needs better.