A lot of what we have, we take for granted. Not in the value sense, although that happens as well, but in what it took to make it. We see things all around us like stop lights, phones, lights, etc, and think they just work. This is not the case. It has never been the case. Items that we buy and use have thousands of hours poured into it. One of the fascinating aspects of creation is taking it off of the drawing board and into tangible reality.
Ideas move from loose drawings to things you can touch and feel. This process is done through precision machining. Here we’ll talk about the uses and details of precision machining and how it sits at the root of all of our favourite products. Without it, we’d be in the middle ages. Here’s why.
First off, how does one use precision machining?
If you have a product that you want to be made, you’re not just going to go to a hardware store and try to make it yourself. Why would one spend the time and effort to create prototypes and complex products in-house? You can get online quotes for CNC machining with the click of a button. Just think of all of the hardware you would have to invest in. One would have to believe in what they’re doing to an absolute financial fault. The truth is, finding a contractor to help you with this process is economical, smart, and easily added to any personalized quality assurance procedure. Those are the perks of living in the 21st century. You can outsource and get back perfect products.
So, what is it?
Precision machining is, in a nutshell, anything that can be made with complex tools for the sake of speed, efficiency, and volume. These are the updated additions to the assembly line. Remember a hundred years ago when Ford came up with a modulated service provision? That was extremely revolutionary–the idea to atomize tasks. Now take that human idea of separating tasks and distil it to a few machines. That’s what precision machining is. So we’re talking about melting, cutting, moulding, etc.
Here’s a specific example. Back when beverage companies were looking for a way to mass-produce a holding vessel that was cheap and economical, they came up with the aluminium can. The aluminium can is, to this day, a beautiful feat of industrial design. But to get that shape, you had to manually press it through a series of cylinders. That means hundreds of people pressing aluminium all day. This also meant the greater potential for injury. Nowadays, we use a computer-guided pneumatic press. This means every can is made the same way, over billions of units.
Why is it used?
Simply put, precision machines are cheaper and more efficient than people. They create a safer and more reliable product. They’re standardised and quality-assured. Because of all of these features, we find precision machining in every industry. Any time a company is producing novel items, you’ll find precision machining. Ever wonder how every mug, tumbler, and bottle has the exact volume it can hold? Ever wonder how the specifics of an iPhone are uniform across every unit? In the long run, it’s the most cost-effective tool.
Even if you’re looking to make a single, novel item for a custom buyer, you’re still going to want to use precision machining. Why? You can’t risk having a subpar product. You can make certain things by hand to give it a personalized feel, but the pieces? Machines cut and mould them better.
Bringing machining home
The next advancement in machining has come in the form of 3D printing. People have pointed out a plethora of things like bowls, figurines, even shoes. It’s a new avenue for the tinkerers and the engineers to explore. With that said, the 3D printing learning curve is pretty steep. Do you, a busy adult with a family and bills, have time to learn how to design for a 3D printer? Probably not. Maybe over time, sure.
But not only do you have to perfect the design portion, but you also have to work the machine. It is, for all intents and purposes, easier to just have something done professionally. But if you’re willing to put in the work, more power to you. The product end-point is the same.
Precision machining is everywhere you look. You can’t turn your head without seeing a product of that style and protocol. For that reason, if you’re a manufacturer or a businessman trying to launch a product, you might as well develop along the standardized lines. To make something better, you have to understand and use the industry base. That base is precision machining.