CNC Milling

Rapid CNC machining manufactures custom parts from more than 30 different engineering-grade plastic and metal materials for high-quality prototypes, custom jigs and fixtures, and functional end-use parts. We use both 3-axis milling from 6 orthogonal sides and 5-axis indexed milling, which can accommodate complex geometries like off-axis features and non-orthogonal holes.
1 to 200+ parts
Shipped in 1 to 3 days
Parts start at $65

Process

Quoting

Once a 3D CAD model is uploaded to ProtoQuote, you can specify material, quantity, finish, overall expectation of the part in a notes section, and essentially, communicate as much information about that part as possible at the time of upload. The part will be analyzed based on our quick-turn manufacturing process to generate an automated quote; the quote you receive is your initial engagement with Proto Labs.

Your quote will show where material will be left behind from our milling process, so it’s very important that the three-dimensional feedback is examined for any colored areas that indicate where radii from cutters may be or features that our end mills can’t reach that will result in un-milled areas. From there, you can call a customer service engineer with questions about our process and how it relates to your part geometry and make any modifications that are needed. When you’re satisfied with your design and decide to order your part, the necessary toolpathing to mill your parts begins immediately.

Part production

At Proto Labs, automation software creates toolpaths that command CNC machines to rapidly mill plastic and metal blocks into final parts. We have multiple tool sets based on efficient cutters for a particular material or material type—plastics, soft metal and hard metal. We have about two dozen cutters per material type, with half being flat end mills and the other half ball end mills. Both sets are of consistent length and draft, which significantly aids in production speed and efficiencies.

CNC machines rapidly manufacture your parts through 3-axis milling from 6 orthogonal sides or 5-axis indexed milling. All machined plastic parts are left as-milled, which typically means they show visible tool marks. Some metal parts, on the other hand, allow more finishing choices. When the run is complete and your required surface finish is applied, parts are shipped shortly thereafter.
Part production
Firstcut part production. CNC milling
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