Aluminum is one of the most commonly used metals in the world because of its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, low cost, and recyclability.
101 and 110 copper alloys offer excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, which makes them natural choices for bus bars, wire connectors, and other electrical applications.
Garolite G-10 (also known as phenolic and epoxy-grade industrial laminate) is a composite material with a low coefficient of thermal expansion. It does not absorb water and is an excellent insulator, making it useful for electronics applications.
Nylon is a general purpose plastic material that resists both frictional and chemical wear. Two of the most notable use cases for Nylon are in medical devices and electronics insulation, notably screws and spacers for panel mounted circuit boards.
In high-stress or high-temperature applications, PEEK is a great lightweight plastic substitute for most soft metals. Additionally, PEEK is resistant to moisture, wear, and chemicals.
Polypropylene (PP) resists most solvents and chemicals, which makes it a wonderful material to manufacture laboratory equipment and containers for a variety of applications. PP also offers good fatigue strength.
Commonly known as Teflon, PTFE resists high temperatures and chemicals/solvents excellently in and is also a great insulator. It is also a very slippery plastic, which makes it a good material for low-friction applications such as bearings.
Stainless steel is highly resistant to corrosion and rust, making it suitable for situations where a part may be exposed to the elements for long period of time. Stainless steel is also fairly malleable and ductile.
Fictiv offers both alloy and carbon steel options, useful for a variety of applications including fixtures, mounting plates, draft shafts, axles, torsion bars, gears, bolts, studs, shafts, and structural applications.
Titanium may be selected over other materials such as steel due to its ability to withstand high and subzero temperatures. Common use cases include aerospace fasteners, turbine blades, engine components, sports equipment and marine applications.
Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene (or UHMW) is a hard plastic with a slippery surface, which resists abrasion and wear. Additionally, it offers high impact strength and is the optimal material for chute/hopper liners and machine guards.
ULTEM 1000 is a translucent amber colored plastic with excellent durability, strength, stiffness and heat resistance. ULTEM 1000 may be selected over Nylon or Delrin because it has the highest dielectric properties. Common applications include industrial equipment, medical devices and electronics.
“Being able to use Fictiv for gears is very exciting. We know they're going to hit their lead times and we're going to be in constant communication to see where our parts are in the supply chain.”
Anodizing is an electrolytic passivation process that grows the natural oxide layer on aluminum parts for protection from wear and corrosion, as well as for cosmetic effects.
Chromate conversion coating, more commonly known by its brand name Alodine, is a chemical coating that passivate and protects aluminum from corrosion. It is also used as a base layer before priming and painting parts.
Electroless nickel plating (ENP) is a reaction that deposits a nickel-phosphorus alloy onto the surface of a metal. Compared to electroplating, it has more uniform thickness and superior wear and corrosion resistance.
Nickel plating is a process used to electroplate a thin layer of nickel onto a metal part. This plating can be used for corrosion and wear resistance, as well as for decorative purposes.
Powder coating is a process in which a dry powder paint is applied to a metal surface. Unlike traditional, liquid paint, powder coating does not need a solvent to keep the binder and filler of the paint in liquid suspension.
With a drawing, Fictiv can produce parts with tolerance as low as +/- 0.0002 in. Without a drawing, all parts are produced to our ISO 2768 medium standard.
CNC, or computer numerical control machining, is a subtractive manufacturing method that leverages a combination of computerized controls and machine tools to remove layers from a solid block of material. The desired cuts in the metal are programmed according to corresponding tools and machinery, which perform the machining task in an automated fashion.
Depending on the type of part that needs to be machined, there are different types of CNC machines best fit for the job. CNC mills consist of a multi-axis system (three, four, or five axes, depending on the part complexity). Lathe machines generally have 2 axes and cut pieces using a circular motion. Electric discharge machines (EDM) utilize electrical sparks into order to mold work pieces into the desired shape. Hobbing is another type of machining process used for cutting gears, splines, and sprockets. Additional machining types include plasma cutters and water jet cutters.
Compared with parts manufacturing through additive methods, CNC machined parts are functionally stronger and typically have superior production quality and finish. Thus, CNC machining is typically used in the mid to late stages of development when parts are ready to be tested for functional accuracy.
While most of the details, such as tooling, spindle speed, cutter type, and depth of cut, and taken care of at the machine shop, there are some key things you can do while designing your parts to not only make sure they can be made, but also ensure you develop a lean product that doesn't break the bank. For an in-depth overview of key CNC design considerations, read our free CNC Design Guide.