4 Common Challenges of CNC 



Machining Aerospace Components

CNC machining is the best solution to manufacturing aerospace components because it meets the unique challenges of the aerospace industry. In this industry, quality and accuracy are the top priorities. Manufacturing products that meet these criteria requires precision fit, tight tolerance, and exact materials. In addition, cost and lead time are important concerns that must be addressed in the manufacturing process.

Errors in CNC programming can lead to product errors

CNC programming errors can impact the quality and accuracy of aerospace components. A misaligned part may have inconsistent chamfer width and deburring. A similar part may not have a through hole feature or mid-plane symmetry. All of these problems can lead to product errors.

A single faulty component can cost thousands of dollars. An aerospace component needs to work flawlessly every time to maintain a safe flight. It also needs to be made of the right materials and tools for the best result. It also needs to have tight tolerances and precision fits.

There are many types of errors in CNC programming that can affect a product’s accuracy. A typical example involves a 1/2″ diameter end mill. CNC programmers assume that the end mill will be accurate, but the reality is quite different. The end mill’s manufacturing error can be significantly larger than the target feature tolerance. To compensate for this problem, CNC technicians can use volumetric compensation software.

Costs of CNC machining

The cost of CNC machining an aerospace component is based on the quantity of parts required. If a particular part requires multiple passes, the cost of machining will increase. Likewise, a development or prototype workpiece may require more complicated CNC programming than an established workpiece. In addition, more complex designs will require more expensive tools and materials. CNC machining can be cost-effective if a production run is large enough.

The aerospace industry has a high demand for machined components. For example, a Boeing 747 contains more than six million components. These parts must be made of various engineering materials. As such, CNC machining is a common manufacturing method in aerospace. But, it is important to remember that CNC machining is only one method.

The cost of CNC machining an aerospace component depends on many factors. Material choice, design geometry, and finishing operations all play a role in cost. For instance, lightweight aluminum 6061 is the most cost-effective metal for prototypes, as it has low weight and good machinability. However, metals with higher machinability are better suited to large-scale production, where the economies of scale outweigh the material cost.

On-time delivery

The aerospace industry is facing a number of challenges related to on-time delivery and quality. According to industry sources, about 80% of orders arrive on time, but as many as 25% of parts do not meet required quality standards. In addition, many aerospace companies are frustrated with vendors who claim to be able to meet tight deadlines but fail to deliver. This leads to missed deadlines and delays that result in higher costs.

The aerospace industry requires total reliability and flexibility in its supply chain. From the smallest parts to entire aircraft, on-time delivery of aerospace components is imperative. As an industry, aerospace manufacturers source parts from all over the world. To ensure that they arrive on time, aerospace companies turn to trusted Time Critical logistics providers.

The aerospace industry is experiencing a period of digital disruption, and it must keep pace with new technologies. In addition, new parts must be integrated into existing designs. This requires adequate testing. Finally, the aerospace industry must maintain a high safety record.


CNC machining of aerospace components presents a unique set of challenges. The large size of components creates a number of problems, including space constraints. These problems can affect the process and can lead to costly failures, especially for large, complex parts. Large aerospace components require extensive assemblies of thousands of smaller parts. Also, CNC machine beds are often limited to a few feet, which creates additional space issues. Additionally, large parts are hard to source, making them an especially tough challenge for CNC manufacturers.

Advanced engineering plastics such as PEEK are particularly challenging to machine. They combine high tensile strength with high temperature resistance. However, when not machined properly, these materials can quickly dull cutting tools. Additionally, glass-filled plastics, like Ultem, are very abrasive and prone to delamination, making them a difficult material to work with.

These materials can be difficult to source and costly to ship. CNC machines that are capable of producing high-quality aerospace components should be able to cope with these materials and meet the strictest tolerances. In addition, a quality control process is essential to ensure the accuracy of the components.



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