Firstcut CNC Machining

Firstcut CNC Machining can manufacture parts in as fast as the day they were ordered with engineering-grade plastic and metal materials for improved selection, part functionality and cosmetic appearance. We employ both three-axis milling and turning.
 
Our three-axis milling process allows for milling from up to six orthogonal sides of the part to machine as many features as possible. Our turning process includes live tooling to create off-axis holes, flats, slots and grooves. Final milled and turned parts are used as high-quality prototypes, jigs, fixtures, one-offs and in end-use applications.
Firstcut part example
1 to 200+ parts
Shipped same-day to 3 days
Parts start at $65

Milling

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A solid block of material is clamped into a three-axis CNC mill and cut into a finished part.

Turning

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During the turning process, rod stock is rotated in a CNC lathe while a tool is held against the stock to remove material and create a cylindrical part.
Materials
Why CNC Machining?
There are more than 30 different plastic and metal materials in Firstcut that can be used in prototyping.
See full list of materials
  • ABS
  • Acetal
  • Acrylic
  • Nylon
  • Polycarbonate
  • Polypropylene
  • PVC
  • PEEK
  • PEI
  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Stainless Steel
  • Steel Alloy

Functional Testing

Parts that are machined in Firstcut have real material properties — not materials that mimic plastic or metal — so they work well for functional testing in addition to form and fit testing. When product development has progressed to where prototypes must withstand their intended final applications, CNC machining can be used to produce high-quality parts for rigorous testing and functionality assessment.
Firstcut functional testing

Jigs, Fixtures + One-offs

Firstcut is frequently used when jigs or fixtures are needed for manufacturing machinery. It’s a fast and reliable solution that can keep a company's machines running. There are other times when only one or two parts are needed for a single project. Whereas as some manufacturing companies won't accept small quantities, we welcome jig, fixtures and one-offs.
Firstcut jigs and fixtures

Cylindrical Parts

Three-axis milling works well for many parts but our turning process — which machines a rod stock versus a block of material — is particularly suited for cylindrical parts. Firstcut CNC lathes combine turning with live tooling to offer features like flats, grooves and slots in addition to axial and radial holes.
Firstcut one-offs
Firstcut suite of services
Proto Labs manufacturing processes can take your product from idea to market launch fast. CNC machining is regularly used during the beginning and middle stages of product development when small quantities of functional parts are needed.
Automated Interactive Quotes
When you have a 3D CAD model ready, simply upload it to receive an interactive quote within hours that contains free manufacturability analysis and pricing information. We accept all major 3D CAD file formats.
Accepted file formats for upload:
• IGES (.igs)
• STEP (.stp)
• SolidWorks (.sldprt)
• Stereolithography (.stl)
• ProE (.prt)
• Parasolid (.x_t and .x_b)
• ACIS (.sat)
• AutoCAD (.dwg, 3D only)
• Autodesk Inventor (.ipt)
• Compressed folders (.zip)
“Dang, you guys are fast. Took me longer to
bore more coworkers at the water cooler
than for you guys to get me a quote.”

— Eli Lynn
Resources
A properly equipped tool belt of resources can prove invaluable no matter what stage of production you’re in. Our website contains a library of helpful content and free design aids.