JCAD Capabilities for Fabrication and High Precision Machining

At J – CAD Inc. we are equipped with high precision – low-cost machining and fabrication capabilities and can mass produce high precision parts overseas for low rates before shipping them to your door, globally. We also have facilities set up in the USA and Canada for those who want their parts made locally or “Made in the USA!”.

Microsystems and miniaturization of products have been essential drivers of technological changes in recent times. The success of both of them is anchored in high precision machining. High precision machining is the removal of material by the usage of a cutting surface in an environment where tolerance, vibration, error measurement and bearing, among other factors, are highly controlled.

J-CAD Inc.’s state-of-the-art machinery is capable of performing precision machining on a virtually unlimited list of materials.

We also have a wide range of contacts in the plastic and foam injection molding industries. Therefore, we can make unbiased recommendations when it comes to suitable material choices for your design and manufacturing applications. Our ability to grind hard materials with unmatched precision and mass producing of high precision parts at low costs, sets us apart from other manufacturers.


Importance of high precision machining

Eradication of human error

Computer Controlled Machines have the capability of precisely producing “intricate, complex, sophisticated and delicate” components with a very low margin of error. This reduces, if not eliminates, the setbacks caused by human errors in product manufacturing.

Reduction in material waste

Through reduction in the likelihood of errors, high precision machining reduces the consequential waste byproducts from the manufacturing process as well. Reducing waste also reduces the costs incurred in the purchase of raw materials required to manufacture your parts or products.

High-quality products

The products manufactured through high-end precision machining “achieve” top levels of quality. This quality is a result of the control of production variations and tolerance. This allows your products to have extremely accurate dimensional properties that can be perfectly replicated thousands of times for each new part created.

How much does high precision machining cost?

Without knowing the specifics of your project, it is very hard to put an exact cost for the making of a high precision component. In the United States, the costs can be anywhere in a range from about $1,000 to $100,000. The best way to get an accurate quote is to contact us using the chat box below, or email jason@jcadusa.com with your project requirements. We’ll get back to you – usually within an hour or so, sometimes quicker! – and let you know how much you can expect your project to cost if you decide to go ahead.

One of the things you should know is that production costs can massively drop as your production volume increases. Manufacturing a single prototype could cost a few hundred to several thousand dollars, but the same product example could be mass produced for tens of dollars or less per unit.

In order to ensure a high level of quality is maintained when doing high precision machining, you should have the assistance of a team of professionals; prototype developers, engineers and/or designers.
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Although you could be fine doing initial designs on your own with advice from machinists or techs, especially if your design isn’t that complex, you will actually save time cost and money by hiring professionals in the first instance. At J CAD – Inc. you can always count on us to provide you with the most cost-efficient solutions for the development of your project.Some of the traits that mostly influence the cost of high precision machining are:

Bill of materials (BOM): Some materials are harder to work with than others, a machine that works well on steel is usually not right for plastic for instance. If your parts are a union of several materials that require high precision machining to fit one another, then your project becomes more complicated and can require more than one machine to process it, increasing the costs of your final product.
Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ): This depends on the manufacturer and type of project, where sometimes there’s a minimum order required. And, in order for the factory to make a profit, you need to order at least a certain amount of products to manufacture.
Purchase Order (PO): Most manufacturers will charge a portion of the cost upfront, and the remaining upon shipping.
Degree of precision/quality required: This is a key factor to consider in your project costs. It’s important to work together with your manufacturer to get a grasp on all the details, manufacturing needs and machines they’ll be using to make your product, and to have a clear idea upfront of how precise you need your finished product to be. Higher degrees of precision cost more money.

How long does high precision machining take?

Just as trying to guess the costs of high precision machining, production time is a hard thing to define without getting more information about your proposed project. As a rough estimate, lead times could range from 3 to 30 days, depending on the design phase duration, assembly line design, the time it takes to go through the actual production phase, part sizes and production volumes, and of course on the complexity of your design.

As you know, complexity is a huge factor here, getting a good team to aid you is a must, some components can have a really large amount of features, and every feature may have a different tolerance.

When you aim at high precision you can’t run your part’s production as a low-tolerance manufacturing line, as lots of requirements have to be met, like machine calibration and part features; positioning, hole diameters, component perpendicularity, circularities, cylindricities, flatness, parallelism,
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and 3D surface profiles. Manufacturing at low-tolerance is often much quicker, but if you need a very precise finish on your product it is probably not a suitable approach.

Can high precision machining be used for large-scale manufacturing?

When required, high volume production of tight tolerance parts can be achieved, although not to the level of standard/stock parts production. Nevertheless, some high precision process lines can reach annual capacities of 100,000 pieces. And when it comes to high precision machining, automation comes with some complications.
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The difficulty generated by the automation of high precision component production requires a well thought out process to overcome, and an experienced team of engineers and designers has to work on planning an efficient assembly line to get the results you hope for. At J – CAD Inc, we have proven ourselves capable of satisfying any volume of production to successfully meet our clients’ production needs.

What sort of machines are used in high precision fabrication?

There is a vast array of high precision machines, such as EDM, Grinding, Turning, Drilling, and Milling machines, among others. And, depending on the ones your product needs, some of them will become a portion of the manufacturing line dedicated to the most meticulous tasks and meant to provide the accuracy you need when manufacturing your parts.

High precision machines require great maintenance to continue delivering high levels of quality over time, especially when performing in a high-volume production environment, as the increase in use without proper maintenance can translate into increasing tolerances and less precision in the final product.
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By receiving input from CAD or CAM software, machines can translate the complex 3-dimensional diagrams or model of a piece, into instructions for the machine to work.

This is done through the usage of CNC (Computer numerically controlled) devices. A CNC machine keeps track of the exact dimensions and processes that are being developed through the run of a product, consequently executing pre-programmed sequences of machine control commands.

Most machines include 2 to 5 axes, to allow for a high range of customization, and sizes of products can go up to 80 inches in some machines and support weights of over 300 lbs.

Some of the machines that perform high precision tasks are:

Turning Machines

Turning machines rotate the component, moving it against the cutting tool. These machines are used most frequently in reshaping and resizing original materials into customized components. This process requires large capacity machinery to process materials effectively.

Most turning machines can often produce parts with diameters from under 1″ to over 36″, on up to 10 axes. Turning machines can produce tolerances around 0.0001 inch.

CNC turning machines use multi-axis lathes as a cost-effective method for running production of medium to large size production lines while still meeting precise specification requirements and minimizing lead times.

Milling Machines

Milling machines use a rotatory cutting tool following an axis to precisely cut and grind a material in order to reduce one of its dimensions.

CNC milling machines may have 2-axis vertical and horizontal capabilities, can handle up to 36” every direction of the workspace, and have two-pallet shuttle systems, so the parts can be machined on one pallet while the other pallet is being loaded with other parts in order to reduce production times.

Grinding Machines

Grinding machines are capable of doing cylindrical grinding on outside diameter (OD) and inside diameter (ID), as well as profile grinding, offering solutions for components on a wide range of sizes and shapes.

These machines use abrasive cutting technologies by employing a grinding wheel. This allows them to work within close tolerances (0.00005-0.00002 in).

Grinding machines can perform on hard materials, like steel or carbide, and are ideal on cylindrical grinding applications such as turbine rotors and vanes, high precision bearings and gears, hydraulic components, die plates, tool holding fixtures, fuel injectors, to name a few.

Some high precision machining processes may also require:

    • Drills
    • EDMs (Electric discharge machining)
    • Water jet cutters.
    • Plasma cutters.
    • Laser cutting.
    • Surface grinders.
    • Glass cutting.

As you can see – high precision machining is a huge industry requiring specialized knowledge. If you don’t know how or where to get started, call or talk to us and we’ll help you through every step of the way.

What tolerances are required for precision machining?

The precision range of a machining process is an ambiguous concept, as there are no set tolerance ranges to tell if a machine works on a high precision basis.

Standard tolerances for high precision machines could range anywhere from a 0.0004 in (10 micrometers) tolerance for the error in one dimension of the pieces in a large batch, to around 0.00004 in. (1 micrometers) positioning tolerance of a small component.

When working on high precision machining, part sizes and production volumes play a big part in the challenges of meeting high precision tolerances.
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Holding a 0.001-in. tolerance along the length of a large steel plate can be as challenging as holding a 0.0002-in. tolerance on a tiny plastic part.

This is because there are complex requirements to meet when producing high precision parts, such as machine tool calibration, measuring capabilities and station environment conditions, but some milling, drilling and grinding machines can comfortably achieve tolerances of +/- 0.0001 in.

Measuring for tolerance
Another important feature that has to be taken care of is measurement, it doesn’t make sense to make a high precision part if you can’t measure it before selling it. If you are expecting to produce a component within certain tolerances, your inspection capabilities need to match the same tolerance requirements.

If a machine tool’s specification lists a +/- 0.00001 in. tolerance, it doesn’t mean that that’s what you are going to obtain every time you use it, again, the key to avoiding problems in this regard is calibration. And calibration can only be accomplished under proper measurement conditions.

What surfacing is required after precision machining?

Whenever a manufacturing process happens, it is often optimized to ensure the textures on the resulting parts allow it to fulfill its intended application, but sometimes additional surface treatment may be required to modify the post-manufacturing texture.

Surface grinding machines are the most commonly used for surfacing and can produce a smooth finish on flat surfaces, by using abrasive machining processes. The typical precision of a surface grinder depends on its type, but most of them achieve around ±0.0001 in. (±0.2 micrometers).

After surface grinding, the surfacing of your components may require additional processes such as sandblasting, anodizing, polishing, grinding, EDM, chemical milling, among others.
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You have to keep in mind that obtaining a satisfactory surfacing can add value via better function and/or longer lifespan of your components. Parts that have sliding contact with others may perform better if their roughness is lower. Also, surfacing may be required to aesthetically improve your product, adding value to it by increasing its saleability.

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