Manufacturers of one-off aluminum parts? - HeliFreak
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Old 02-13-2010, 03:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Manufacturers of one-off aluminum parts?

I have an idea for a project that I'm trying to put together. I'm doing what I can with my crappy woodwork skills, but it would turn out so much better if I could have custom aluminum parts made for me. Is there a company out there who will do something like that for a reasonable price? I think I am reasonably expecting to pay something around $30-$50 for each tiny little part I want to make. Would that be realistic?

I see this website: http://www.k2cnc.com/
Anyone have experience with them?

Would I be better off in the long run buying my own CNC router or something? How much would something capable of producing small aluminum parts cost?

Sorry if these questions have been answered before... I'm a noob at this.
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Old 02-14-2010, 08:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I do custom stuff, but I don't (can't afford) to do them for free or "cheap". There is simply too much expense and work involved on custom machined aluminum parts. My equipment is very expensive to initially buy, and operate - in other words, I don't do it for a hobby in my garage.

I would need to see what you want made to see if you $30 - $50 estimate is close, and tell you how much it would cost to do.

Buying your own equipment is fine, but you will be a long way from making anything because there is a lot of learning to do to know how to operate what ever you buy.

When I tell guys a price, I often hear "I'll could buy my own equipment and make them for less" - but you haven't spent big money until you start buying machine shop equipment.

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Old 02-14-2010, 11:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I haven't done any SolidWorks work yet for this project because so far I'm making everything from wood, so I'll just use this as an example: http://www.helidirect.com/r50n2394-o...ty-p-15121.hdx

About how much would it cost if I had designed one of those myself and wanted one made? The biggest dimension is exactly 30mm.
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:55 AM   #4 (permalink)
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1 of a part like that is probably $40 to $50 range.

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Old 02-14-2010, 02:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info... That's about what I was expecting. I'll see what I can do with my crappy wood parts for now. What about cutting out flat parts, i.e., G10 sheets? Say a G10 version of something like a T-Rex 450 side frame... How much would something like that cost?
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Old 02-14-2010, 03:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yeah, probably about the same, except for the cost of the G-10, which I would have to check out. With Aluminum, I have so much "drop" (scrap), so to speak, that material cost doesn't really factor, but with G-10, I would have to get that (unless you have it).

When you factor cost, you have to consider the programming time, the drawing time (if you don't supply the CAD), the setup time (to set up to cut), the fixtures - that hold the parts for machining, as well as the labor and material. That all adds in. Sometimes the setup time and the fixtures that hold the parts cost more than the parts themselves - but flat parts that are identical aren't bad normally.

I've done (on the side) heli parts, Street Rod parts, Race Car parts, etc., but just can't lose money doing them - Since I like doing them, I don't try to kill a guy though - it's beer money so to speak.

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Old 02-14-2010, 11:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilywampa View Post
Thanks for the info... That's about what I was expecting. I'll see what I can do with my crappy wood parts for now. What about cutting out flat parts, i.e., G10 sheets? Say a G10 version of something like a T-Rex 450 side frame... How much would something like that cost?
I can do g10 at reasonable rates given that the cad files are provided by the customer. Ill be an offical advertiser on HF as soon as they send me rates.

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Old 02-18-2010, 07:49 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I can do g10 at reasonable rates given that the cad files are provided by the customer. Ill be an offical advertiser on HF as soon as they send me rates.

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Eric
Www.invertedcnc.com

Whats the dimensions of the largest part you can cut? I'll be needing some items about 36"x18" that is 3/8" thick Birch ply laminated with 3k Carbon cloth on both sides.. can you do this?
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Old 02-19-2010, 10:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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12 x 18 is the maxium I can cut
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Old 02-20-2010, 01:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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get a good cad file of the part you are wanting and post it on the source side of mfg.com, there are alot of prototypes and one-offs on there that companies will quote to make. I use mfg.com on the supplier side for water jet and laser work when we slow down
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Old 02-24-2010, 01:51 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I have had a lot of luck with finding machine shops to work with, on this site:

http://www.rfqwork.com/

My current primary milling shop, I found on this site. These guys will fight for your business and you will get the best price that way.
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Old 03-17-2010, 02:12 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I use this place in my professional role quite often :

FirstCut

Not sure how their price will stack up on single small pieces...but for what we do, they are incredibly cost effective and VERY fast (half dozen complicated parts in less than 3 days)

They have a really good online quoting system, if you have an IGES of the file. Just be expect to get a phone call or two from their 'case managers' or reps.
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Old 03-17-2010, 09:11 PM   #13 (permalink)
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12 x 18 is the maxium I can cut
Can you cut Trex 700 main frame from G10 if a dxf file is provided?
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Old 03-17-2010, 10:04 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Can you cut Trex 700 main frame from G10 if a dxf file is provided?
Yes I can. I currently have two versions that are optimized for FBL setups, one uses stock cooling and this one pictured uses the brushless cooling fan from the Compass Odin. Both feature a new electronics tray and all wires are hidden internally. The only visible e components are battery and gyro sensor. I can also do a true stock frame but have not yet cut one..just been doing these fbl versions.





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Old 03-29-2010, 05:12 AM   #15 (permalink)
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In the UK typical machining costs are around 30 per hour. So anyone with a rough understanding of machining can work out how much their parts will cost. (not much will come off the machine in an hour!)

The problem comes with the tooling and programming costs. This is what makes 'one offs' so expensive. Typical programming costs are usually from 200-500 which usually rules out most industrial machining companies in the UK from doing any one off jobs for modellers.

In industry I have paid hundreds for simple plates for jigs and fixtures but with more and more companies closing down their machine shop facilities we are left with no choice.

I have used First Cut too, they are really good and you can upload your model for a free and almost instant quote.

I do a lot of CNC routing for people over in the UK mostly for indoor models. Looking to expand the workshop to CNC milling soon.
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Old 03-29-2010, 05:46 AM   #16 (permalink)
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K2CNC is Fireup here on HF. Kevin the team taco president.
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Old 05-02-2010, 09:28 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I am a professional CNC programmer/operator as well as a Solidworks designer/operator. I do this as a full time job in the aerospace/defense industry, however I do have a CNC lathe and mill at my home. I can offer excellent rates for one-off parts or short runs. I dont give a rate per hour, rather on a per part basis. This keeps cost very low, plus I have no overhead. If the part is simple enough, as I enjoy doing this, I may be able to work out a freebie or two here and there. Generally, I have been able to provide some basic parts at lower rates than you can buy an equivalent part for retail.

I usually have aluminum 6061-T6 and 7075-T6 on hand as well as some 2024 occasionally and some steels.

I do have access to larger machines be it necesarry as well as an O.D. grinder for precision shafting, but I really dont like getting into that much since off the shelf shafting is usually available.

I can also provide custom anodizing services as well.

If any one is interested I can post some examples of work, or drop me a line and we can work something out.
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Old 07-02-2016, 04:32 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Question CNC milling

Anyone still actively offering CNC services?
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