Engineering Blog

Our blog is dedicated to providing engineers design tips from a machinist perspective. These key tips can help you and your team save time and money on your next project.

The Design Process

The design is the most crucial part of the process, this is when all considerations need to be taken into account. That is why we work with our customers through every step, from design to final product to save them time and money. Below you will find a few tips that we feel will have a huge impact on your final design.


Material Selection


Tolerance Planning


Finish Requirements


Edges : Broken Vs. Sharp


Burr Free Requirements


Marking Methods

What Drives Machining Cost?

Tip #1

Choosing a material is the most essential step in the design process when you are looking to save money. First, you will need to review the applications requirements and then find the best material based off the materials properties. In many situations, we find that the material chosen for the application is not always the best material, but instead an over engineered one. Next, make sure that the material selected is able to machine the features and tolerances that are required to manufacture the part. Deciding on the wrong material could result in major quality issues down the road, which will drive up costs in the long run.

Tip #2

Tolerances over the years have gotten tighter and tighter, which can drive up cost depending on the tolerance and material selected. What people don’t realize is just because the metrology equipment can inspect down to .0001, does not guarantee that the material or manufacture can hold these tolerances. This is why we suggest you always check your applications tolerance requirements before selecting a material because machining +/- .0001 can be more challenging on some materials compared to others.

Tip #3

Finish requirements on machined components have become a big concern for OEM’s around the world. The smoother the surface the higher the price, the reason for this is because manufacturing is slowed down. Not only does the machining process slow down, but inspection time also increases. When designing your component keep in mind to only require what is needed to make the part function. Sometimes a callout for a smooth surface finish does not guarantee that the part will last longer or seal better.

Tip #4

Essentially deciding between broken edges or sharp corners is not an enormous concern when machining components. However, depending on where the callout is can significantly control the cost of the part.

Also, it is important to remember that broken edges, chamfers or radiuses called out on both sides of a component may require secondary operations. If possible try to determine if a simply broken edge performed by a deburring operation will do. This will save you time and money.

Lastly, when requiring sharp edges make sure you consider the magnification level at which the parts must be checked, as well as, what equipment that will be used. This will help reduce rejections received from your suppliers.

Tip #5

When requesting a “Burr Free” requirement on your application it is important to understand the inspection methods and equipment needed to ensure your application is burr free. When requesting magnification to a drawing or 100% inspection to an order remember can be costly, so always double check that your vendor and inspection department are on the same page in regards to inspecting parts for burrs. By implementing these tips you will not only save time and money, but future rejections as well.

Tip #6

When deciding your components marking or plating method keep in mind that they vary in cost. For example, machining or engraving markings are the most costly methods, due to the fact that they need to be programmed before producing the component. The more affordable marking methods include, laser, etching, ink and stamping because these options tend to take less time.

Also keep in mind that some materials are not capable of being marked the same as others. Make sure you understand the materials properties to ensure the best method for marking your parts.

Here at Tamshell, we never just slap a price tag on a job. We take pride in our quoting process and ensure that all requirements are addressed one by one. So keep this in mind when you place a detail on a drawing, it might be what is driving up your components cost.

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