How to Choose the Right CNC Machine Shop

Get A
Free Quote

    Choosing the best CNC machine shop is extremely important, especially if you want to save time and reduce production costs. This should be a quest to find specific qualities in shop operations, project efficiency, product value, and reputation. Once you set the bar high enough, only a few shops will make the cut.

    Why choose the best CNC machine shop?

    Hunting for top-notch CNC shops is wise but it can also be daunting with so many options available. However, finding a competent manufacturing company can guarantee the use of cutting-edge technologies and industry-leading techniques. Meanwhile, here are some of the other perks associated with choosing the best machinists:

    • Reduced waste and scrap
    • Lower fabrication costs
    • Enhanced engineering
    • Shortened lead times
    • Streamlined workflows

    In many ways, choosing the right CNC machining supplier dictates the success of your business or lack thereof. This is especially true for high-precision industries such as automotive and aerospace.

    How to choose the right CNC machine shop

    Focusing on the big picture is one way to determine whether a CNC machine shop is worth its weight. If their machinists can handle the geometries of your project, there’s little need to zoom in on specific attributes of the company. However, complicated or highly regulated projects may require a little more attention to detail. Either way, try not to base your decision on the price alone.

    Instead, look at the company from several angles to calculate the value. Here are 5 smart places to start:

    #1. Samples of Past Projects

    Any CNC machine shop can promise the best equipment and services, but custom machining with state-of-the-art software is consistently extraordinary. It’s also a notch higher in quality and provides time for project managers to inspect prototypes or tailor geometries. You’ll want to see a visual representation of the shop’s craftsmanship, so request a sample to examine.

    #2. Production Flexibility

    Ideally, project managers want to work with a one-stop-shop. That helps them streamline production, cut costs, and reduce waste while decreasing lead times and headaches. However, there may be a few on-site limitations, so talk about production flexibility by addressing the tools, equipment, software, and certifications offered in-house.

    #3. Consistent Improvements

    Legit machine shops will strive to remain on the front lines of CNC machining, with consistent facility and staff updates which include enhanced learning opportunities, fortified industry certifications, and building expansions to accurately produce parts for bigger, better projects. They might also improve their techniques to maintain a higher industry standard.

    #4. Excellent Quality Control

    Quality is important regardless of the part of the industry it was made for. Thus, precision manufacturing companies should always offer step-by-step quality control to reduce or eliminate errors in production. The adoption of ISO9001 and AS9100 certifications or ITAR registration is extremely helpful considering the detailed documentation used to guarantee accuracy.

    #5. Enhanced Customer Service

    Communication is the key to a successful project no matter what you’re working on. But manufacturing precision components for a high-accuracy industry can be tough. It requires intuitive customer service and honesty through each step. The best custom CNC machine shop, therefore, informs their clients about potential failure rates and works to mitigate problems before they arise.

    In fact, good machining companies focus on these three aspects of customer service:

    • Numerous communication methods
    • Client education and guidance
    • Designated contact personnel

    Enhanced customer service also means being able to answer relevant questions and work with a team of professionals to improve value and decrease production costs through each step of the process.

    PRO TIP: Ask the machinists for information on the types of materials they can use and find out what they know about each of them.

    What repeat customers can tell you about a CNC machine shop

    The best CNC machine shop will always command discussions about their industry specializations, most notably when they’ve acquired special certifications to manufacture precision parts for them.

    Knowledgeable and experienced machinists can thereby give their clients more confidence about producing components under tight deadlines. That, in turn, creates repeat customers.

    Those repeat customers then go on to provide insider knowledge about the CNC machine shop they worked with, including insights about the machinists and equipment used. So, read some reviews before you make a decision. A well-equipped and efficiently ran company will offer numerous opportunities for clients to give an honest opinion because they’re capable of doing so much under one roof.

    Here’s what to look at when you’re considering past projects:

    • Which CNC services were primarily used?
    • What sort of project was completed?
    • How well did the machine shop meet the customer’s expectations?
    • Were they able to enhance the project in any way?
    • How long did it take from start to finish?
    • What problems came up during manufacturing, if any?
    • How were the problems resolved?
    • Was it difficult to get help or information?
    • What project modifications were made to accommodate special requests?

    Looking at previous customer experiences helps you learn about the business in a unique way – one that’s not always revealed simply by speaking to a machinist. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns after considering what other people say, bring those things up during your initial consultation.

    DID YOU KNOW: Pioneer Cuts can give you an accurate project quote in 6 hours or less using high-tech software and tuned-in machinists.

    The takeaway

    High-quality CNC machining requires top-notch machine shops and educated, experienced machinists. And while every company on the planet claims to offer the most affordable services, only the best-equipped companies can actually live up to their promises by creating accurate parts under tight deadlines without excessive waste or scrap.

    Meanwhile, choosing the right shop can be tough because A) there are so many, B) the outcomes are so important, and C) it isn’t cheap. So, don’t take this decision lightly. For more information on how Pioneer Cuts is the wisest choice for all your precision CNC manufacturing needs, contact someone in customer support as soon as possible.

    Share this article!

    CNC Design for Manufacturing eBook

    Design Parts with the manufacturing process in mind.