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Challenges in CNC Machining and Fabrication

The demand for accurately machined parts has risen tremendously across various industries. Whether it is for custom-made parts or standard-sized parts, the demand for precision parts is at an all-time high. Manufacturers and fabricators are constantly on the lookout for new manufacturing techniques to get ahead, differentiate themselves, and keep up with demand. CNC machining continues to be the most popular and widely used production technique in the metal manufacturing world. CNC machining uses computer numeric controls to produce parts of the required volume and shape without compromising on cost, functionality, and speed. This process is highly efficient for creating dynamic and complex part designs with the utmost precision and accuracy. Normal and repetitive machining tasks are completed using this technique with the same degree of accuracy as complex part designs, regardless of volume.

Given all the advantages of CNC machining techniques, there are without a doubt, some challenges involved in the machining process. This discussion covers some of the most common CNC machining challenges in the manufacturing industry.

Common Challenges in CNC Machining

CNC machining is subtractive in that it subtracts material to create the desired part to the exact specifications required. At times, machining can be more difficult compared to other fabrication processes as it requires a high level of precision and accuracy. There are a variety of factors that affect the outcome of this manufacturing process as well. Common challenges of the CNC machining process include:

Complex Geometry

It is said that processes that an advanced tradesman may perform with skill, a CNC machine may struggle with, and the same can be said in reverse. However, a CNC machine can easily perform most functions that a skilled tradesman can, such as cutting in straight lines or circular patterns. On the other hand, CNC machines may struggle with more complex geometrics. Consequentially, a machine operator may have to apply workarounds like fixturing, part holding, or eliminating certain elements of the part designs. This can have a negative effect on production efficiency or lead to increased levels of distortion or stress.

In cases where there is a challenge with complex or asymmetrical geometric patterns, an experienced tradesman can get the job done with precision. At Caprice MachineWorks, our tradesmen possess an advanced level of experience and skill. Pair this with our modern, advanced, machinery and we can complete the most complex jobs out there!

Data Processing

Due to its mechanical characteristics, CNC machining can function optimally within the parameters of the hardware. However, performance can be affected by the operating software of the machine. In some circumstances, there can be a bottleneck in the speed of the CNC machine according to how quickly the computer of the machine sends instructions to the devices it controls. An easy fix to this problem is upgrading the hardware of the computer that runs the software on the machine to a more efficient and faster hardware. This can also be solved by replacing the software itself with a more powerful and versatile software that can maximize a machine’s intrinsic strengths.

Heat Generation

Every material has its limitations when it comes to extreme temperatures. For this reason, heat generation can be a challenge. Heat production during the machining process can be good for malleability and ductility, but too much heat production is not good for the quality of parts and the life of the machine.

Manufacturers are always looking for new efficient composites and alloys due to the increasing demand for complex, strong, and compact machined parts. At times, materials are stretched past their limits which can result in overheating and further damage. Heat generation can affect the overall quality of a finished product and the longevity of the machine. Rest assured, the experts at Caprice MachineWorks have experience in this area. We use highly skilled techniques to eliminate excessive heat generation in the CNC machining process. This enables us to consistently produce precision parts and preserve the life of our equipment.

Using the Right Tools

It is fundamentally essential to use the right settings and tools for the success of CNC machining. The wrong cutting tool can produce inaccurate or defective machined parts. Another result of using the wrong cutting tool is mechanical or thermal damage to the material. These defects can be visible to the naked eye, including rough edges or burn spots. For this reason, it is essential to select the correct CNC equipment according to the application requirements. Additionally, the machine operator should review the manufacturer’s instruction manual to verify the parameters of different tools. This brief research process is necessary to ensure that the right tools and equipment are being used for the project at hand.

Poor Programming

Another major challenge in CNC machining is poor programming or user error, which can both interfere with the entire production process. Since CNC machining is an automated process controlled by computer numerical programming, inaccurate programming can affect the accuracy and quality of the finished product. Operators should have adequate skill and knowledge of using the correct CNC program to avoid the mishap of poor programming. If you are in the market for a machine shop, you should take extra care in choosing a machine shop that is qualified and experienced in various machining processes. Review our services and areas of expertise at Caprice MachineWorks today!

Inadequate Power Supply

This is one of the most basic and essential challenges that some manufacturers may deal with. Due to the complexity of CNC machining processes, an ample and continuous power supply is required to see products through to completion.


Given the challenges discussed, it is pertinent to work with a machine shop that has enough experience and skill to manage challenges that may arise in the production process. By working with a knowledgeable and skilled machine shop, common mistakes can be avoided easily. This prevents product losses or recalls in the future and guarantees that parts are produced exactly to specifications and to the highest standards. Ensuring that you work with an experienced machine shop service provider also saves time and money throughout the manufacturing process.

Caprice MachineWorks has over 50 years of combined experience in our shop, and we possess some of the most highly skilled tradesmen. We’ve had a market presence for several years, and there is no question why businesses choose us as their machine shop services provider. Our team is dedicated to precision and accuracy in each part that we produce, and we are vested in the completion and success of each project we execute. Contact us for a quote today!

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