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How Much Do CNC Milling Cost? - Strategies to Cut Costs?

2023-02-17 17:10:43 JTC Model Technologies Co., Ltd., 0

Milling has been a popular manufacturing method for Metalworkers from the early 1800s. The thing that has changed dramatically is how it is carried out.
100 years ago milling was many manual tasks. Today, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technologies perform the majority part of the task. In general when the tooling is established, CNC machining technology offers total automation that is free of human error in the majority of instances. This has increased efficiency of the operations, as well as the difficulty of the parts that are handled.
If you're planning an CNC machine project is important to consider the following question: what is the cost of CNC machine work cost?
This article examines the different aspects that affect the costs of CNC milling.


What exactly is CNC Milling?

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling is an subtractive manufacturing process in which the rotary cutter is used to remove the material from a steel block or bar through advancing it through the material.
In this process the cutting tool gradually eliminates material until the piece is similar to the component/part. Cutters' speed, force and direction can be altered to produce various effects.
A term like CNC milling is typically employed in conjunction with CNC milling. But, CNC milling can encompass different processes, like EDM cutting and drilling. Also, CNC turning machines can also be employed.
Because CNC milling and CNC machining have the same factors that influence their price, we'll employ each term interchangeably.


What are the factors that affect the price in CNC Milling and Machining?

The numerous factors that impact the price associated with CNC milling are listed in the following paragraphs:

Size of the Machine

CNC machines are available in a variety of sizes for the production of small and large-sized components. Advanced CNC machines are required to create larger parts or components and a machine that is suitable costs more than one CNC processing small parts.

Cutting Tolerances

A higher tolerance leads to higher precision on the product. But a high-end machine capable of cutting with precision to greater tolerances during the manufacturing process is more expensive. Thus, the requirement for tight tolerances can increase the CNC machine's cost for a particular project.

The number of Axes

There are a variety of different axes that affects the size of the components that CNC machine can produce. While multi-axis machine gives you more flexibility in manufacturing and options when using 6-axis or 5-axis machines substantially increases the cost of a job.

Milling Time

The machines that make parts faster require specific robotics for this CNC machine. This means that the cost of starting up is more costly. However, the latest CNC machines use high-speed robotics capable of producing a huge quantity of goods within a short period of time. This means that the overall CNC manufacturing cost is reduced because of the greater use of the time.

The type of CNC Machine/Mill

There are a variety of CNC mills like bed or box, C-shape and Gantry mills. Different kinds of mills may influence the total price of CNC operations. Simple design and geometry can cut costs.

Part geometry

This is referring to the dimensions of a piece. The bigger a piece is, the more materials will be required to be made, and the more costly it will cost. Highly intricate and complex parts can also be costly. This is due to the many processes that have to be utilized in relation to simple parts.
The design of unnecessary expensive components in the process of designing the manufacturing process is very simple and therefore it is recommended to seek out a reputable manufacturer to help you create a practical but efficient product to make.

The quantity of components

The quantity of components that are ordered for a machine affects the total price. This is because big orders are costly, however the greater the quantity of components, the less expensive of each additional machine.
The result is that large orders raise the price of the item, but they reduce the price per unit. The time to turnaround for parts is also crucial in determining the cost since the part that is delivered in several weeks is more affordable than one that is delivered in two or three days.

Production Cycles

Increased production volumes result in less cost per piece produced by a CNC machine due to the fact that the costs of tools and equipment are distributed among a huge amount of components.

Labor Costs

The goal of CNC machines is to cut out the cost of labor in manual processes such as turning, operating, or moving the cutters. But, there are certain labor costs associated with the changing of tools and installing the workpiece and, perhaps most important the wage of the operator.
If the part is challenging to make, or more complicated and requires the knowledge of highly skilled and educated machines, the price increases.
The additional skills and knowledge can be costly as they are mostly acquired through work-related experiences, not formal educational institutions. The more labor-intensive the manufacturing of a component is, the more expensive its price will be.


The cost of tooling could make up a large part of CNC machine projects. When the dimensions or shapes of CNC machined components need to be modified this will require the change of the production tools.
Although certain tools, like clamps and dies, may be reused There are also consumables like cutting tools.

Lead Time

A company that has all the equipment and raw materials to produce will be more efficient and will have shorter time to market. But, if parts need to be ordered or specialized tooling is required time frames could be longer.
The longer lead time results in waste of resources as well as an increase in overall costs since the manufacturer has to pay for labor costs for either shorter or longer lead times.

Raw Material Cost

The price of the raw materials used is a key element in any CNC machine project. Although these costs are not removed, it is possible to optimize them.
A better file design in CAD will result in more efficient use of materials, which can reduce the cost of materials. Additionally, having tighter tolerances can result in lower rejections, reduces wasted material, and decreases costs.
Beyond the amount that is being consumed, the kind that raw material comes from is an important aspect that influences raw material prices. For instance plastics are more affordable than metals.
For CNC processing materials, costs are determined with standard sheet dimensions of 6 inches 6'' x 6 1'' 1 1. Here's a list of the most common materials for a standard size:
Stainless Steel 304: $90
Aluminum 7075: $80
Aluminum 6061: $25
Nylon 6 30 - $30
Delrin: $27
ABS: $17


CNC milling machines are powered by electricity. The energy consumed is substantial because of the large capacity of motors that operate within the machines. Thus, the price of electricity is also a factor in CNC cost of machining.

Custom CNC Machining

In many instances, CNC machining custom parts might require non-standard tools and materials, or custom sizes, or specialized CNC milling equipment. For these types of projects the cost could be much higher.


What is the cost to get something CNC Milled?

The costs for CNC machining and milling are different due to the various factors mentioned. When quoting an CNC machine project, every firm will inquire what you require, your specifications as well as the materials you will need.
Let's begin by answering an often asked question: how much is CNC processing price per hour? The cost of CNC machining in an hour with a 3 axis CNC machine is approximately $40. The salaries of operators on CNC milling machines can vary between $30 and $50 per hour. Thus, the total price of CNC services in this instance is around $80/hour.
More advanced and higher-end CNC machines are more expensive. For instance an hourly cost of $200 is typical for 5-axis CNC machine.


Tips to Cut Costs of CNC Milling (Machining) Costs

Beyond the initial CNC machine price, additional factors, such as the price of raw materials as well as electricity must be taken into consideration. But, there are strategies you can follow to make the overall price significantly lower.

Avoid Deep Pockets

Deep pockets are instances where an extended reach tool is needed to create deep spaces within the workpiece. Deep pockets made by CNC milling machines cause diverse issues, like breaking tools, faster wear on the tool, chatter from the tool and deflection of the tool wall chatter distribution, retrieval of chips and many more.
These issues lead to greater frequency of repair of tools as well as breakage of workpieces, which significantly impact the price. Thus, avoiding pockets is an excellent option to cut expenses.

Reduce the use of Tight Tolerances

This is the amount of distance the actual part must be to the layout provided. It is typically measured in tenths or thousands of an inch.
The unnecessarily tight tolerances of parts can increase total cost because of the complexity of the part and the demand. Close tolerances demand an extended milling process. Not only that, they also require a better high-quality CNC machine. This can result in higher expenses for equipment as well as higher expenses for labor as the salary of the operator will be greater due to working longer working hours.
If the project permits it, expand the acceptable tolerances for machining. This could result in speedier milling and decrease CNC machine costs.
The JTC CNC Machining standard tolerance accuracy can vary from +/-0.02mm to 0.1mm according to the your requirements.

Avoiding Multiple Finishes

A superior post-processing finish requires CNC machines to invest an extended time working on the product in order to produce more superior edges. This can result in increased expenses for the machine, as well as labor and wear on the equipment. So, avoiding multiple product finishes is a good option.
A lot of products undergo secondary finishing processes which create additional cost for finishing. Making use of the finished CNC produced product to be the final product is the cheapest alternative.
Other finishing and treatment processes include heat treatments, special coatings Anodizing, surface treatment and other machine-specific operations. However, these treatments must be evaluated for the importance and effectiveness prior to performing them.

Optimization of Design

CAM blueprints are the basis to design final products. The blueprints for CAM programming are transformed into CAD drawings, and the file transferred to the computer contains directions on how to cut pieces.
Optimizing the design can result in machines taking the most efficient routes, and cutting the smallest amount of material needed for an end product. This results in better utilization of raw materials and time.
Unreliable and insufficient CAD drawings could end up being extremely expensive in the manufacturing of components. This is due to inaccurate information in models could result in producing a piece twice to achieve what you want because the drawings didn't initially convey that information effectively. A consultation with a skilled machinist or engineer in the design stage could increase the cost of the project, but it will help you save money in the end.
This is particularly true for production runs that are large. Making more investments in the process of design planning is suggested to cut down on CNC cost in the long term.

Limiting Thread Length

Certain manufacturers prefer longer threads to increase strength when milling screws or bolts. However, the length increase is not necessary in most instances, and a shorter thread is sufficient.
The longer threads result in an extended CNC process, greater material cost and resource waste with no added benefits. So limit the length of the thread to the minimum required to ensure maximum strength.

Simplifying Design

Complex design results in costly design expenses and increased CNC cost of machining. In the majority of cases the case, complex designs will need CNC milling machines that have more axes. This can double or triple the overall cost.
The most complex designs are broken down into two or more simple designs, and then milled using 3 axis CNC machine. The combination of these basic designs can result in a more complicated product. This way making the design more complex, the CNC manufacturing cost can be cut significantly.

Producing More Volume

One of the most effective and most efficient ways to cut down on CNC cost of machining is to boost the production capacity. As the production volume grows the fixed costs associated with the process are spread across an extensive number of CNC machines. This can result in a significant reduction in the cost of manufacturing per unit.
One of the main benefits of large production runs is resultant lower design costs for parts produced by CNC machines. A single design blueprint can be used for the production of 100 1,000, 10,000 or 10,000 pieces. This means less machining costs per item.

Eliminating Sharp Edges

Edges that are sharp and with 90-degree angles can be more difficult to work with when using CNC routers. This is due to the fact that the CNC router is able to go all the way up to the edge, then stops, then turns 90 degrees and restarts.
A better method of utilizing the power to the fullest extent of CNC machine is to employ the rounded edges as well as corners. With round corners CNC machines can produce the edge, without stopping.

Averting thin Walls

In the majority of cases it is a good option to not have to mill thin walls since they require special care during the CNC processing. Thin walls are fragile and are susceptible to breaking because of the force or vibrations caused by CNC lathes. CNC lathe.
In order to make thin walls CNC machines have to cut very slowly, which results in additional time and costs. Even with the greatest caution it is possible that the thin wall could be damaged, resulting in a more rejection.
Removing a wall that is thin with one that is thicker could increase the cost of materials by a small amount however it can significantly lower CNC machine's costs.

Using Cheaper Materials

In the list of materials costs that a block of stainless steel costs $90 whereas the ABS plastic block costs only $17. This implies that a stainless steel component will cost at least $73 more costly than its plastic counterpart , based on the choice of the material all by itself.
It is recommended to use less expensive plastic components in your production whenever feasible. Plastics like Delrin are able to provide enough strength in most instances, delivering the highest value for your price.

Insource to a trusted manufacturer

There are a variety of choices when it comes to CNC machine shops. But, not every machine shop is exactly the same. A good machine shop will not be the most affordable however, it will offer you the highest price and the best outcomes.
Many machine shops provide a lower milling price per part however they compensate by decreasing the quality of the process. While they may sound like a good deal initial, you could regret it when you receive the items and discover they are of poor quality.
To address the cost vs. quality problem, you need to find an established manufacturer who will provide the quality and cost you require.

Top CNC Milling Shops

JTC CNC Machining offers one of the most effective CNC milling services for many different applications. We are among the top manufacturers of parts in the world, with experience in the areas of CNC milling and CNC turning cutting and drilling CNC, precise machining and much more.
With JTC CNC Machining You can get the one-stop solution to all your manufacturing needs, whether it's an initial prototype or a mass production of items. Let us know what you require and we'll respond with an estimate in 24 hours. In terms of manufacturing, there are a variety of options like multi-axis machines that offer gradual improvements in quality in complicated parts.
Our top-quality manufacturing process is extremely quick and efficient, with the most sophisticated CNC equipment available. Our average lead time is less than 7 days.



CNC machining is costly because of the complexity of the equipment and the salary of the machine operator. But once you've got the knack of it the process of optimizing cost becomes relatively simple. When you have a process that is optimized cost and high-quality of CNC machined parts are hard to beat.
To make the most of time and resources Most companies opt outsourcing their CNC machining process to a third party company like JTC CNC Machining who already bears the biggest cost of investing in the latest hi-tech multi-axis machines.
Contact JTC CNC Machining to receive a price on our CNC machine services now.

Frequently asked questions
What's the best type of material to choose to make CNC machine?
The material you choose to use is not the best choice for CNC machine machining, as the selection of material will depend on the specific task. Plastics are less expensive, whereas metals are ideal for high-strength use.