How to Calculate CNC Machining Costs?

How to Calculate CNC Machining Costs?

CNC (computer numerically controlled) machining is a digital manufacturing technique utilized for creating high precision parts based on a CAD file. It is a cost-effective method for on-demand manufacturing, especially for producing accurate metal parts with outstanding physical properties. While CNC machining has been in use for some time, technological advancements have made it more affordable and accessible for manufacturers.

CNC Machining Cost

When creating components, it’s crucial for manufacturing engineers to have a comprehensive understanding of the different factors that affect CNC machining costs. By identifying the key elements that influence pricing and adjusting the part design accordingly, significant reductions in CNC machining expenses can be achieved. CNC machine shops calculate production costs based on the following considerations:

  • Machine
  • Labor
  • Material
  • Part Features
  • Part Finish
How to Calculate CNC Machining Costs?
How to Calculate CNC Machining Costs?

CNC Machine

CNC machine shops utilize milling machines and lathes, with 3-axis and 5-axis options enabling precise tolerances and intricate shapes. The cost of CNC machining varies based on the specific machine needed and the projected production or machine time. Operating a 5-axis machine typically requires more time than a 3-axis machine, while a CNC lathe generally requires less. The machine time rate does not encompass labor costs.


CNC machines operate automatically once set up with minimal intervention needed, but a skilled CNC machinist is required to set up the machine, program the cutting, and load tools. Labor costs encompass programming, machinist time, quality control, and any post-processing tasks like surface finishing and assembly. Additionally, a CNC programmer is responsible for converting the CAD file into a CAM file, utilizing AutoCAM technology to create the machine’s workpath.

The initial costs of CNC machining labor may be higher due to programming and setup, but these expenses are often balanced out by the benefits of high-volume production and advancements in CAD/CAM software.

How to Calculate CNC Machining Costs?
How to Calculate CNC Machining Costs?


The choice of material is a significant factor in determining the costs of CNC machining. The selection of material depends on the function, design, and ease of machining of the part. Common materials used for CNC machining include stainless steel and aluminum, with the occasional use of plastics. Stainless steel is often the most expensive due to its superior durability and corrosion resistance. Aluminum can be a suitable option for testing geometries in prototype parts before transitioning to steel for production, or for parts that do not require the same level of durability as stainless steel.

Different grades of aluminum can be priced between $1.50 and $2.65 per pound, while stainless steel may range from $1.60 to $1.75 per pound. ABS plastics are generally cheaper at around $1.35 to $1.55 per pound, whereas Nylon 6 can be twice the price, reaching $2.50 to $2.80 per pound. It’s anticipated that commodity prices will continue to fluctuate based on current market conditions.

Part Features

Creating parts with intricate geometries necessitates additional time for programming, setup, and machine run time, potentially requiring multiple setups and specialized tools. The intricacy of a part can also escalate the overall CNC machining expenses. A proficient CNC machine shop that specializes in producing complex parts can provide the most competitive pricing for precision parts.

How to Calculate CNC Machining Costs?
How to Calculate CNC Machining Costs?

Part Finish

Part surface finishes offer a smoother outer surface, increased wear resistance, and the elimination of roughness or tool marks. Achieving different finishes can be done through bead blasting or anodizing, but this may contribute to the overall cost of the produced part. A knowledgeable machine shop can assist in determining the most suitable surface finish for parts based on their function.

Precision CNC Machining in Towavina

Towavina provides comprehensive domestic part manufacturing services, offering turnkey solutions to elevate your part production. Our CNC machine shop specializes in part design, rapid prototyping, and high-volume production. With extensive experience in producing intricate parts with tight tolerances, we are equipped to meet all machining requirements. Our capabilities include state-of-the-art CAD/CAM software, 3- to 5-axis CNC machines with 24-hour production capacity, skilled engineers, and rigorous quality control procedures. Additionally, we offer post-production surface finish options and light assembly as part of our value-added services.

Contact us today and get a quote for CNC machining services.


Binh Chuan 44, Binh Chuan, Thuan An, Binh Duong

Hottline: 0979.034.634 – 0931.155.155