Material Cost Savings for Mechanical Parts & Components

In the industrial manufacturing of mechanical parts and components, the need for raw material subsists whether it is a bulk manufacturing unit, or just a prototype. Planning of time becomes of prime importance when it comes to CNC machining. Manufacturing one component can cost you more than anticipated and receiving your first quote can be disappointing. However, measures can be taken to cut costs and make cost savings for mechanical parts and components. These measures range from cutting material costs, to fixturing setups, and even reducing machining time.

Factors that Affect the Cost of CNC Machining Parts

The cost of CNC machining parts mainly fluctuates based on the following factors:

Machining Time:

The logic here is, that a part that takes a longer amount of time to be manufactured costs relatively more than a part produced in a short time. A longer machining time can greatly affect the cost of CNC machining parts.

Start-Up Costs:

Start-up costs relate to preparation of the CAD file and process planning. This mostly affects production of CNC parts in smaller amounts. Start-up costs, if left unchecked, can go into hundreds of dollars, and leave you with an inept budget to begin production.

Material Cost:

Material, if not bought in bulk, can take up a large portion of the budget. If a rarer or more expensive part is being brought in to manufacture the CNC machine, the material cost is bound to go up.

Other Manufacturing Costs:

These costs are made up of all those special requirements which are demanded by certain design and CNC machining part sourcing decisions. For instance, when a design includes thin walls, or defines tighter tolerance, design specific tooling becomes a must, and this adds processing stages to the machining time. All these also increase the final material costs.

Costs Savings in Material Costs

Here are some measures you can undertake to show material cost savings for mechanical parts and components:

Materials Used:

When manufacturing mechanical parts of CNC machining, the first step towards beginning the process is to decide the material to manufacture out of. There are numerous options available in the market for materials to manufacture CNC machining parts, in varying price ranges. The prices of the stock materials for mechanical parts generally fluctuates due to the availability and procurement costs of the material specifically required. Examples of these hard to procure materials are tube stock, or thicker sheets to measure. Choosing materials which are available in an easier process, and which do not take too long to be delivered is a must when attempting to show material cost savings.


A designer must keep in mind that their creative intellect is of prime importance when looking for ways to innovate in order to cut costs. Make a choice of materials which better suits your costing need, while retaining the functionality of the material originally needed. For instance, on conducting a basic search of the price range to expect while looking for 6”X6”X1” sheets, it was found that while a plastic sheet such as the ABS sheets only cost $17, while PEEK sheets which are specialized products for increased dimensional stability, cost $300. Aluminum sheets can cost $25 while stainless steel sheets go up to $140.

Hazardous Materials:

Using materials which require special safety measures to be added to the design of the CNC machining part is not the wisest idea when it comes to budget maintenance. These materials end up costing a higher amount overall due to the various ancillary parts which are required to be adjusted.

Surface Finishing:

Heat treatments, anodizing and requirements of specialized coatings on surfaces is simply an added cost to the manufacturing of the component. Materials which do not require a high amount of maintenance and finishing after the manufacturing is complete should be preferred. This keeps the designing simple, and the finished product more cost effective at the end of the day.

Avoidance of Complex Part Geometry:

The dimensions of each individual part are important to the final overall costing of the manufactured CNC machining part. Complex parts which are greatly detailed require in depth processing and more than one machine. This adds to the cost of programming, setup, as well as fixturing. Exceptions to this exist, where complex parts which require multiple operational faces can become cheaper to produce if they are designed and manufactured separately and conjoined upon machining.

Thin Walls:

The designing of walls which are thinner than 0.794mm or 1/32nd of an inch is not a practice which is encouraged in CNC machining. This increases the time taken for the machine to manufacture the design and makes it difficult to maintain tolerances. A simple solution to manufacturing walls thinner than the given metric without causing chatter in the operator time is using manufacturing methods like sheet metal fabrication.

Minimizing Internal Cavities:

Internal cavities are sometimes an integral part of the design of the mechanical part. These are, however, a sure shot way to increase material wastage. The cost of material then increases as more material will be required to manufacture the finished product. This also causes a significant number of hurdles in the process of removing chips. Internal cavities also mean procuring the tools which are necessary to create them. These are thin, cutting tools which are likely to break easily in the process of creating the cavities, increasing maintenance and repairing costs to the project greatly. A good scale to follow is to always maintain a part length which is no more than four times the depth of the part.

Use Recyclable Materials:

Recyclable materials such as thermoplastic materials and polyethylene (PE) can prove to be less expensive and more moldable. This helps in the overall material cost saving when manufacturing CNC machining parts. Additionally, thermostat materials which possess compressing molding are better for temperature resistant components and help in holding more footprint parts because of compression molding.


In the process of manufacturing of mechanical parts, material cost saving is an inherent value every start-up, manufacturing unit and prototype creator imbibes for cost efficiency. Following these tips and keeping in mind to make the designing aspect of the CNC machining mechanical parts can help in the reduction of material costs greatly!

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