Aluminum Machined and Anodized Prototype
  • Aluminum Machined and Anodized Prototype
  • Project Overview:

    Prototyping Process: CNC Machining and Boring
    Prototyping Material: Aluminum 6061-T6
    Prototype Dimensions: 390.00 × 213.00 × 130.00 mm
    Surface Finishing: Sanding, Tapping 1-1/2" BSPT and M12, Anodizing Dark Blue
    Prototyping Tolerance: ± 0.1 mm
    Lead Time: 7 Days

    The customer was a western Australia company offering professional service and engineered solutions for fluid systems around the world. This aluminum prototype was made to test its liquid pressure and fitting before low volume manufacturing. Considering the big overall dimensions and multi-sided milling need, the size stability and milling tolerance were the key challenges for this project. In addition, one hole was bored as it out of milling capability, and tapping 1-1/2" BSPT was for sealability.

CNC aluminum machining CNC Prototyping Step By Step:

Step 1: CNC machining the first side. As an subtractive manufacturing process, CNC machining cut away the unwanted material from a block of base material to form the desired part, and the base material's dimensions were normally about (L×W×H) 30×30×5 mm bigger than the part's overall dimensions. To get a high CNC milling efficiency, it usually started from the coarse machining by the big and strong milling cutters to fast remove the unwanted material, then the gradually smaller cutters to mill the fine and detailed features till the final part came out.

Step 2: CNC machining the second side. For the multi-sided milled part made by 3 axis CNC machining, the workpiece had to be rotated manually each time to mill the another new side, and the CNC machinist must accurately relocate the workpiece to ensure the milling tolerance. 5 sides (normally 6 sides for a part) of this aluminum prototype were rotated to be milled, and an ABS fixture (the yellow one) was milled to prevent the workpiece deformation during the multi-sided machining. CNC aluminum milling

Aluminum CNC Machining Aluminum CNC milling
Step 3: CNC machining the third side. The general shape of this aluminum prototype came out when finished the first and second side's milling that took the major milling time. The fourth side's milling work was to mill the 6 holes of the bottom side. Step 4: CNC machining the fifth side. One of the two deep holes on this side's milling had to be CNC bored instead of milled as it was out of the milling capability since the part geometry, and just a small hole was milled to guide boring this deep hole.

cnc aluminum milled prototype aluminum anodizing
Step 5: The CNC machined aluminum prototype without surface finishing. After tapping 1-1/2" BSPT & M12×1.5 and boring the deep hole, all cutting lines and burrs on the milled surface were removed by sanding before the anodizing blue finish. Step 6: The final aluminum anodizing dark blue Finishing. The anodized film provided not only aesthetic feeling but also corrosion & abrasion resistance for the part anodized, different colors and gloss could be achieved by this surface finishing.

Aluminum milled and anodized prototype Step 7: The finished CNC aluminum milled and anodized dark blue prototype for delivery. The customer was satisfied with the liquid pressure and fitting test result and pleased with the surface finishing quality as well as the impressive customer service provided, then gone ahead the 10 pcs of low volume manufacturing shortly.

How to Make a Quality Aluminum Anodized Part or Prototype:

• Quality material used. The anodizing quality was considerably affected by the aluminum material composition, quality material ensured quality anodized result.
• Quality anodizing technology. The different intended colors and glosses could be matched as close as possible by the quality anodizing technology.
• Reasonable CNC milling. Good CNC milling delivered high tolerance and size stability, also helped improve the subsequent surface finishing quality.

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