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Prototype to Production: Choosing a Full-Service Precision Machining Partner

Prototyping in manufacturing

Finding the right partner for large or complex precision machining projects can be challenging. Many precision machining shops are either priced too high, have long lead times, only cover part of the process, or lack the capabilities to scale up for mass production.

Ultimately, you need a partner that can do it all, from initial prototype to large-scale production. This is especially important for projects that require multiple machine types or parts.

Prototyping Parts Provides Many Benefits

Creating a prototype is a valuable and often necessary step for a sophisticated precision machining project. Prototyping helps test for fit and functionality before producing a part. By carefully reviewing part features and requirements during prototyping, an experienced partner can proactively make design change suggestions that result in significant cost savings.

Your precision machining partner should offer both 3D printed and CNC machined prototype parts. While prototyping has applications in most industries, it’s particularly valuable in automotive, general manufacturing, industrial, commercial, design engineering, and material handling.

Seamlessly Move to Production

Successfully transitioning from research and development (R+D) to production is a critical step, and it’s one that your precision machining partner should have the in-house capabilities to handle. 

Look for a partner with the following capabilities and offerings:

  • 3D Modeling: Durable and fully functional parts are built by importing a 3D file into a 3D printer. Parts are printed by layering plastic and supporting materials, including rubber-like, rigid opaque, high temperature, transparent, and simulated polypropylene materials.

  • Reverse Engineering: This helps to extract design information from products via 3D scanning. Using 3D scanning and dimensional measuring, your partner can replicate and improve parts.

  • Assembly: The ability to assemble multiple parts of your project in-house drives efficiency. A one-stop-shop solution enables a well-planned process that delivers speed and quality at a competitive price.

  • Machining: Your precision machining partner should be able to scale from prototyping to producing hundreds of thousands of parts per year. Making 50 parts is very different from making 50,000 parts. While scaling up, they’ll learn more efficient ways to produce those parts by incorporating feedback from the floor or toolmakerand then pass those savings on to you.

  • Capital Investments: Regularly investing in the latest technology is key to streamlining processes, reducing setup time and cost, and machining complex shapes with an improved surface finish. Make sure your partner has the capital to add new machines.

  • In-House Metrology (Quality) Lab: An in-house quality lab, or metrology lab, means your manufacturing partner has the ability to test everything they make for you, all under the same roof. For complex projects, look for climate-controlled metrology labs with the ability to manage temperature, humidity, and dust - all of these elements make a huge difference when you’re dealing with microns!

Advantages to Using the Same Shop for Your Entire Precision Machining Process

Most machining shops can offer services that only cover part of the process. Perhaps they aren’t large enough to produce parts at scale, lack the machines to handle complex pieces, or have maximum order limits that don’t meet your needs.

It’s worth the effort to find a precision machining partner with prototype-to-production capabilities. For starters, you unlock significant efficiency improvements gained from lessons learned along the way while working on your projects. Those efficiencies lead to lower costs in the long run.

Leveraging a full-service precision machining shop is also far simpler than managing multiple manufacturing vendors. Working with a prototype-to-production shop means more streamlined and informed production, better communication, and simpler billing.

Finally, you’ll get faster services. A full-service machining partner offers quicker production times, shorter lead times, and faster product improvements.

Wauseon Machine Is Your One-Stop Precision Machining Shop

Wauseon Machine is a premium precision machining shop offering a full suite of manufacturing services, from prototyping to production. We offer over 570 years of combined toolmaking experience, with experience deep enough to handle any complexity.

Working with Wauseon Machine for prototype-to-production projects gives you access to engineering managers and toolmakers. That means when you have a question, it’s not translated through anyone any less technical or experienced than the people working directly on your project and products.

Combine that knowledge with our diversity of CNC machining equipment and you get a precision machining partner that can cover the entire process without sacrificing quality, cost, or speed. 

Learn more about our precision machining capabilities. Click below to download our Precision Machining brochure.

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