At Spex, we provide various precision machining services. One of those services is called short run CNC machining. CNC machines provide a wide range of capabilities. They can use nearly any material and machine custom parts quickly and efficiently.
A short run job is typically 500-10,000 parts. This type of job can be completed within a few weeks, and at most a few months, depending on the part design. Longer run jobs can run for years and produce millions of identical parts.
In the simplest terms, short run CNC machining is the production of a small to moderate number of precision parts that leaves room for more flexibility and offers shorter lead times.
One of the biggest benefits of running shorter jobs on CNC machines is the quick turnaround time. Since 2020, we’ve been experiencing supply chain issues. Everything seems to be running behind—from raw materials to finished products.
When we work on smaller jobs, we usually have the raw materials available and can get started on the job much faster. This reduces lead times and gets your parts to you much faster. Getting your parts as fast as possible and fulfilling your customer orders is always a high priority. People don’t want to wait weeks or months for their orders to arrive.
Short run CNC machining also enables you to make small changes to your parts. You may want to start with a small order for a V1 of your project, and then leave room for future adjustments. Prototyping helps you refine and validate your designs so your brand can release the right products. It’s quick and easy to make small adjustments with CNC machining.
3D printing can be used for some prototypes, but it’s not ideal when you need a metal part or part with tight tolerances.
Short run jobs are commonly used for prototype parts, products that the end user can customize, or smaller companies that don’t need a big on-hand supply.
Is short run CNC machining what you need? It’s not right for every project.
Machine shops that offer short run manufacturing experience different lead times, depending on their current customers. Projects tend to ebb and flow throughout the year. If they’re busy with a lot of short run jobs or large orders, your lead time on a new project can be much longer.
If your priority is a quick turnaround time, it’s worth your time to get a few quotes from different machine shops. Every shop has slightly different machining capabilities, materials on-hand, machinist availability, and experience working with different industries.
Next, the number of parts you order will impact the cost per part. CNC machines can take a lot of machinist hours to set up. Once the machine is set up, it’s very efficient. So, if you’re unsure of the exact number of parts you need, it’s usually better to order at least 500 parts.
Of course, there are other important factors like the part design, materials, and specific shop capabilities.
Spex has offered precision CNC machining services to a wide variety of industries. We have worked with customers around the world since 1947, and continue to prioritize quick delivery and high quality.
We machine custom precision parts for the automotive, defense, medical, industrial, and defense industries. Many of these industries rely heavily on the benefits of CNC machining. It allows us to create useable prototypes and thousands of precision metal and plastic parts quickly and efficiently.
Our machinists and quality assurance teams have years of experience manufacturing parts. We always ensure that your project moves quickly from start to finish. We also have extensive experience helping our customers manage their supply chain — ensuring that you always have the parts you need, when you need them.
Reach out to our team to learn more about our short run CNC machining services.
Fill out the form to get a short-run machining quote.
Phone: (585) 467-0520
85 Excel Drive
Rochester, NY 14621