Design for manufacturing (DFM) is an important (and sometimes forgotten element) of custom machining and fabrication. Even if you are only modifying or repairing an existing part, this is something that should be evaluated. Here are a few key categories to consider when evaluating for the most efficient manufacturing design.
Features and shape:
Including only essential features or ones that require the least modification is important for manufacturability. While fillets in CAD look clean and safe, they are incredibly expensive if one was to machine them on every edge. Nonstandard size holes or slots are also more expensive and time consuming. Consider what process you expect for your part to be created with. Features efficient for machining won’t be for 3D printing or vice versa. Shapes that require 3D profiling are time consuming from a programming perspective and may require specialty tooling, too.
Selecting the correct material is a key part of design for any fabricated item. Not only does the cost of the raw material itself vary greatly, the machinability of each material impacts the type and cost of tooling required, the type of equipment that can be used and even the cycle time of the machining and processing.
Overlooking tolerances is routine when designing parts. Loosing or tightening tolerances can affect manufacturing costs by multitudes. Designing a part with only as tight of tolerances required on as few of features needed is critical. Also, sometimes engineers use a default tolerance block or forget to change the setting on the number of decimals shown. The drawing is the roadmap for making a custom part, and knowing you’ve got the most correct roadmap is critical to get what you need for the best price.
These are just a few of the key categories that affect whether a design has been optimized for manufacturing. Have any questions? Call us today to explain your next project and we can return a competitive quote to get it from design into reality.