Mosi Li
Mosi Li

Director Project Engineer at 3Q Machining - China top CNC Machining Custom Part Manufacturer

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Why is CNC machining custom parts so expensive?

Question: I recently designed a part for a custom build I am working on. I wanted to have it made from stainless steel, and I went on to Xometry to get a quote and my price ended up being over $1,000.

Is most of this cost coming from the material or labor? I know CNC machining isn’t cheap, especially for custom parts, but I had no idea it would be this much.

Is there a place I could find cheaper prices, or is this normal and I am just inexperienced with my knowledge?


01.  The Machined Part is a complex design with high requirement that needs high end CNC Machinery and long processing timing to machined: Cnc machinist here, some complicated parts that need things like a 6 axis cnc can take up to 10 hours of programming and setup time, not to mention harder materials like ss require more expensive tools or the machine has to be run slower. Even if the part only takes 4 minutes to machine, you still have to do all the work that goes into it before hand, still has to go through QA. In most cases it’s not that much more expensive to make 10-1000 parts vs just making a single one off part.

02. The Machined Part you need is only small quantity that means set up cost is high for each part. You could get 5 copies made for the same price as one. In fact when ordering a one-off most shops will budget material and make at least 5 and just scrap the worst 4 if they don’t get consumed in setup.

03. Your Machined Part is not design appropriately to be machined that needs make modification on the design drawing to reduce CNC Maching Cost. That and if you are asking why machined parts are so expensive I am willing to bet you may not be designing the part in a easily machinable way, which jacks up the price. That and xometry is not the cheapest rout to take: you are paying extra for the automated quoting convenience. Find a local machine shop and maybe they can talk you through making the part more machinable and get a better price to boot.

04. The Quoted Prices you got not a professional CNC Machining Manufacturer Shop or It’s too much far away from you that have longer time and higher cost on the shipment to your hand. I had the same thing near my old lab. 2 dudes and an apprentice working only old school manual machines. You sent them anything, even stuff you wouldn’t think doable on manual mills and they would tell you two weeks. Then they would call you asking about features or potential simplification and usually in less than a week they would be done and I could just drop by the shop to pick up the parts. Amazing guys, I really miss that kind of working relationship.

From time to time I would ask for competing quotes from CNC shops nearby and they would always come up more expensive and with longer lead times.

05. It’s important to choose a Right Material that is easier to be machined and lower raw material cost that can meet all your needs, if you don’t know what is the right material of the machined part that you can tell all requirements you need to the CNC Machining Shop to ask for help. Stainless steel is more expensive than most other materials and much more difficult to machine. Do you really need stainless steel? Try changing your material to 6061 aluminum and your price will drop drastically.

It doesn’t need to be stainless steel, but a metal that is at least durable and rust resistant. Thank you for the advice, I will look into that!

Engineers love it but machinists hate stainless steel. Expect usually 30% premium on this. Also try to see if you can simplify the part. Make inside radii bigger, put most complicated features on one side, remove unnecessary fillets, specify large tolerances for unimportant features…


Outsource from CNC Machining China Manufacturers

Outsource from CNC Machining China Manufacturers

Expensive high cost for your CNC Machining Parts is a Priority thing considering especially when you only have limited budget, secondary is the quality and timing, you always want to find the best balance between the cost & quality & timing, that’s why you should considering outsource machined parts from CNC Machining Manufacturer in China.

A professional & responsible Chinese CNC Machining Manufacturer can help you to achieve best quality machined parts with fast delivery to your hand, but competitive cheap price, because there are lots of precision CNC machining manufacturers in China that caused keen competition to can bring competitive price and precise parts.

Can China CNC Machining Manufacturer make good quality for our machined parts? How to find a reliable supplier?How much does it cost to have something CNC Machined in China?

3Q Machining as one of the Top Professional Steel Aluminum CNC Machining Manufacturer in China, offer one-stop solution service for your machined parts with small MOQ as low as 150$ to start, our fastest delivery could be within 3 days globally.

Start to get a Free Quote

3Q Machining as Professional CNC Machining in China can save your time and money for your Machined Parts

Steps to find a right CNC Maching Manufacturer in China

Find a suitable China CNC machining manufacturer can save your timing and money, but it seems complicated, actually it is simple to do this at today, only need to take steps as follow one by one.

You can start to ask a rough quotation with your sketch drawing to 3~5 China CNC Machining suppliers your found, keep discussing details in next step with 1 or 2 suppliers that offer a reasonable quotation.

Based on your design sketch and product design requirement, ask for advice from the suppliers to get right design and right raw material to achieve good quality machined parts with cheapest price and fastest delivery.

It’s important to ask your supplier to sign NDA that can protect your design property, being a professional manufacturer supplier that must be familiar with the process

A good payment term can balance your cash flow well, also it can avoid the supplier offer poor quality products and service, or fraud.

A standard payment term is 30% deposit, 70% balance after pre-shipment inspection.

After worked out final drawings, go to get a final official quotation to see the best prices and payment term.

You may ask certification and photos, samples for verification, these could be fake. The Best Verification process is set up a video call to discuss the product design, technique, on-line factory tour.

congratulations, you finally decide to move with a supplier to start your project, issue PO, process deposit payment, don’t forget to keep closed communication with your supplier to get in-time production information and solve problems during the production.

See, it’s not that complicated to source and working a CNC MACHINING Manufacturer in China despite with different time zone and long distance, we can solve the problem easily step by step, but these simple processes only suitable for small business, a big project which cost big money, you need to collect more information to do verification, also need to process samples to do test, then have trial run production to verify quality. More Question, you can contact 3Q MACHINING team to support your project.

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