DFM Tips: A Quick Look at Designing



CNC prototyping and CNC machining of parts are advantageous but can be costly. At 3D Hubs, we recognize the need for businesses and their mechanical engineers to stay within a budget. We are happy to share ways on how designers and mechanical engineers can cut the manufacturing cost of their prototypes and products by how they are designed. This education is saving our clients a lot of money.

Now at 3D Hubs, we take cost-saving education to the next level. Introducing our online design for Manufacturing (DfM) feedback software tool. The Design for Manufacturing software will examine your parts for important issues that can make them more expensive to manufacture. 

Simple Access to the Design for Manufacturing Feedback Tool

  1. Visit our online CNC services website page and upload your design.
  2. Under your uploaded file, a “review manufacturability feedback” link will appear.
  3. Activate the link and a viewer box will open with a 3D image of your design.
  4. The viewer box will contain a manufacturability analysis of your part, offer suggestions of improvement if needed, and color highlight the area needing adjustment. 

Before production begins, our advanced technology allows engineers to instantly detect design issues that make their parts difficult or more expensive to produce. 

The Three Design Features That the DfM Tool Analyses

The Design for Manufacturing tool evaluates three different design features that could make CNC machining of your part difficult, and therefore, more expensive.

1. Hard to Remove Material

Some areas of your design may be hard for a cutting tool to reach on a standard 3-axis CNC machine. If your part has to be milled on a 5-axis machine, your cost will drastically increase. The DfM tool will give you the opportunity to update your design before sending your parts for manufacturing. 

Common difficult places on a part to the mill are undercuts. Specially shaped cutting tools are used for undercuts, but will not handle all designs. If a cutting tool has to be manufactured for your project, this will also dramatically drive up your cost.

2. Sharp Internal Corners

Cutting tools, while making sharp outside corners, naturally, make round inside corners. Unless you specify otherwise, internal corners will be machined with a 2 mm radius to keep the cost of manufacturing as low as possible. All of these corners will be highlighted by the DfM software.

If the DfM tool finds any internal corners that are not machinable with standard end-mill tools, then a more expensive process must be used. After being notified that your part may have to be made with one of these processes, like Electrical Discharge Machining, you can make that a requirement on your drawing.

3. Thin Walls

During the machining process, thin walls are likely to break due to the cutting force being applied. To keep them from breaking, time-consuming cutting routines or an alternative manufacturing process will be required, increasing the cost of your parts.

If desired, our instant Design for Manufacturing feedback tool gives mechanical engineers the opportunity to redesign their part before it goes into production. 

Many mechanical engineers use CNC prototyping and machining for their clients. What an advantage it is to them and their clients to have access to a free manufacturing design tool before their part goes into production. Let our CNC services with its Design for Manufacturing tool produce a quality part for you at the most competitive cost.


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