The CNC Machining Cost Guides: learn how to calculate it and save.

Table of Contents

Factors Affecting The Calculation Of CNC Machining Cost

The Fixed CNC machining cost.

Constant CNC machining costs include start-up costs, machining costs, material costs, and surface treatment costs. It covers the costs associated with preparing the CNC machinery for the machining operation, running the machinery during the machining process, and surface treating the part. These costs will vary depending on factors such as part complexity, materials, and required surface treatments.

Start-up costs are associated with preparing the CNC machinery for operation. It includes the investment in the CNC machinery as well as the labor required to set up the machine and prepare it for operation. Processing costs, on the other hand, cover the cost of time and labor to operate and monitor the CNC machinery, as well as the cost of tools used in the process.

Material costs cover the cost of raw materials used to manufacture the part and the cost of any additional machining or finishing required. Surface finishing involves additional processes such as polishing, painting, or plating, which will add to the total cost of the part.

Finally, transportation costs include the cost of getting the finished part from the machining plant to the customer, including packaging, shipping, handling, and storage. Manufacturers should carefully consider these factors when planning a CNC machining project.

The variable factors affecting machining cost.

The variable factors that affect machining cost include the type of machining process, tolerances, quantity, lead time, power, shape complexity, and part dimensions. These factors impact the complexity, precision, setup requirements, and resource utilization, all of which contribute to the overall cost of the machining process.

The type of CNC machining process, such as 3-axis, 4-axis, or 5-axis, determines the complexity and cost of the process. Higher tolerances require more precise and complex machining processes, leading to higher costs. Larger quantities often result in lower costs due to economies of scale and process optimization.

Lead time, power consumption, shape complexity, and part dimensions are additional factors affecting machining costs. Shorter lead times may require expedited processes and additional resources, increasing costs. Power-intensive processes, complex shapes, and larger or smaller part dimensions can also contribute to higher machining costs.

How the reduce the CNC machining cost for your project?

Saving the cost of CNC machining for a project can be achieved through a few different strategies.

  • The common CNC machining material are metal,plastic,ceramic and wood. Carefully selecting the materials can greatly impact the cost. Using materials that are readily available and easy to work with can reduce the time and effort needed for machining, which can lower the overall cost. Additionally, purchasing materials in larger quantities can often lead to bulk discounts, which can further reduce the machining material cost.
  • The delivery time for the project can also have an impact on the cost of CNC machining. Choosing a faster turnaround time can often result in higher costs, as it requires the machining shop to prioritize your project over others and may require them to work overtime or weekends to meet the deadline. On the other hand, allowing for a longer lead time can often result in lower costs, as the shop can schedule your project in a way that is more efficient and cost-effective.
  • Tight tolerances, or the precise dimensions and specifications required for a project, can also affect the cost of CNC machining. More complex and precise machining processes will typically result in higher costs, as they require more time and specialized equipment with multiple machining processes,such as milling, cutting, turning, and drilling. Relaxing these tolerances, if possible, can help to reduce the cost of machining.
  • The use of multiple finishes, such as polishing or plating, can also add to the cost of CNC machining. If the project allows for it, simplifying the finishing process can help to reduce the overall cost.

Besides Design optimization is a method that can be used to reduce the cost of CNC machining for a project. There are several design techniques that can be employed to achieve cost savings, including:

  • Deep Pockets: Pockets or cavities that are deeper than they are wide can be more expensive to machine. Designing pockets that are shallower or wider can reduce the cost of machining.
  • Thin Walls: Thin walls can be more difficult to machine, and can require more time and specialized tooling. Designing parts with thicker walls can reduce machining costs.
  • Length of Threads: Threads that are longer or deeper can be more expensive to machine. Designing parts with shorter or shallower threads can reduce machining costs.
  • Tapped Holes: Tapped holes, or threads that are cut into a hole, can be expensive to machine. Designing parts with through holes, or holes that go all the way through the part can reduce machining costs.
  • Leverage Standard Drill Sizes: Standard drill sizes are widely available and can be less expensive to use than custom-sized drills. Designing parts to use standard drill sizes can reduce machining costs.
  • Split-Up Complex Parts: Complex parts with many features can be difficult and expensive to machine. Designing parts with fewer features, or splitting up complex parts into multiple simpler parts, can reduce machining costs.
  • Small Features With High Aspect Ratio: Small features with a high aspect ratio, such as narrow slots or deep holes, can be expensive to machine. Designing parts with larger or shallower features can reduce machining costs.
  • Rounded Internal Corners: Sharp internal corners can be difficult and expensive to machine. Designing parts with rounded internal corners can reduce machining costs.

cnc machining cost caculator

Comparing the costs of CNC machining to other manufacturing methods

CNC machining is a manufacturing process that involves the use of computer-controlled machine tools to cut and shape a wide range of materials. It is a precise and efficient method that can produce high-quality parts with complex geometries and tight tolerances.

Compared to other manufacturing methods, CNC machining can be more expensive for small production runs due to the cost of the equipment and the time required to set up and program the machine. For larger production runs, however, CNC machining can be more cost-effective due to its high level of precision and repeatability.

Other manufacturing methods, such as injection molding and 3D printing, can be more cost-effective for producing large numbers of identical parts. Injection molding, for example, can produce high volumes of parts quickly and at a low cost per part, but it is limited in the complexity of the shapes that can be produced. 3D printing can produce complex shapes, but it is generally slower and more expensive than CNC machining.

Overall, the cost of CNC machining compared to other manufacturing methods will depend on factors such as the number of parts being produced, the complexity of the parts, and the required level of precision. It’s important to carefully consider these factors when choosing a manufacturing method for a particular project.

How to estimate a project CNC machining cost?

With the information above, you could make a CNC machining cost calculation Excel to estimate the CNC machining cost with a simple machining cost formula for your project.

To get an accurate price for CNC machining parts, it is important to provide the CNC machining company with detailed and accurate information about the project. This may include the following:

  • A detailed description of the part or component to be machined, including its size, material, and any special features or tolerances.
  • Detailed drawings or CAD files that accurately represent the part or component.
  • A list of the materials to be used, including the type, grade, and quantity of each material.
  • The desired quantity of parts or components to be machined.
  • The desired timeline for the project, including any deadlines or time constraints.
  • The desired surface finish for the machined parts, if applicable.
  • Any special requirements or considerations, such as tight tolerances or the use of specific materials.

Providing this information to the machining company will allow them to accurately assess the project and provide a quote that reflects the true cost of the machining work. It is also important to provide this information to multiple machining companies to allow for comparison and selection of the best option.


How Much Does a CNC Machine Cost?

Many factors affect the CNC machines cost. But according to the classification of CNC machines, there are CNC routers, 3-axis, 4-axis,  5-axis, and multi-axis CNC machines. In short, the more the number of axes, the higher the precision you can machine. Consequently, the price is more expensive.

Hobbyist-grade CNC router $1k-3k
Professional CNC router $5k-100k
Entry-level (or toolroom) 3-axis
vertical machining center
Production 3-axis
vertical machining center
Entry-level 5-axis mill $200k-500k
Production 5-axis mill $500k+
Entry-level (or toolroom)
2-axis lathe
Production 2-axis lathe $60k-250k
Multi-axis multi-spindle
multi-turret vicious beast
of a lathe with a robot

how much does a machine shop cost?

One CNC machining shop includes one labor, one machine, and a working house. so included the operating cost, The lowest investment 20,000USD.

CNC machining service of Chansmachining

As a CNC machining manufacturer, we offer competitive pricing and high-quality parts. Contact us today to get a quote and see how our CNC machining services can help your business.


On-demand CNC Machining prototyping and parts with Custom Finishes and low volume manufacturing.

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