What Is the Difference Between Machining & Engineering Services?

Machining & Engineering (2)

When entrepreneurs and business owners in any sphere of industry and manufacturing need sample parts, design support, or small runs of parts, they turn to machine shops with specialized design, and engineering services. A machine shop in Nashville should be able to help a customer go from a design, even a simple sketch, to a finished part. Although the engineering and machining of a part are distinct steps most of the time. This is how machining and engineering go together, even though they are different. Nashville owners of manufacturing firms may wonder “Is there a CNC machine shop near me that can handle my design and engineering needs?” Yes. In fact, you can find a company qualified to go from refining a product idea to adapting existing files or diagrams to creating a finished part.

Design and Creation

The best way to test and promote a new part or product design is to make a prototype. In the industrial sphere, most of these prototypes and demonstration parts will be precision machined in steel, steel alloys, and aluminum. Many CNC machine shops can help turn a sketch or diagram into a finished part or parts. Engineering services that these shops offer may also include:

  • Process automation
  • Control panel design and fabrication
  • Creation of 3-D models or drawings
  • Fixture creation
  • CNC machine programming
  • Replacement parts from damaged or worn originals

If the design challenge is complex or somewhat outside the designer’s area of expertise, they will want expert advice from an engineer before proceeding. This is another way a good machine shop can help business owners.

Hamilton Machine’s experienced team can take an idea from sketch to finished product with design and engineering help backed by CNC machining expertise. We are a machine shop in Nashville and Lebanon that can work from a physical example of a part or from files in about any common format (AutoCAD and so on) or from a hand-drawn sketch. More often, a client will need a part repaired or modified versus needing something designed and prototyped.

Making and Remaking Parts

When most people who need fabrication services look for a machine shop near me, they are looking to have parts or components of a manufacturing system replaced or repaired. Parts for machines, vehicles, and assembly lines sometimes need to be repaired or modified. These are traditional machine shop jobs they handle with CNC machine tools and, sometimes welding or brazing equipment too. In unusual cases, such as an old machine or one that was custom-built from the ground up, there may not be an off-the-shelf component suitable for repairing or modifying it. In this situation, you need engineering help to design a suitable part and machine it to the required tolerance.

Many machine shop services require neither engineering analysis, or design work; it is just a matter of milling, grinding, drilling, or cutting. A typical machine shop will generally offer numerous manufacturing services, such as:

  • Surface grinding
  • Keyway cutting
  • Boring
  • Couplings made or modified
  • Spray welding
  • Shafting
  • Rethreading

Or an older piece of equipment may need to be modified, retrofitted in some way, or upgraded. Machine shops take old parts and rethread or modify them. They can also machine new, replacement parts for machines that are not commercial, off-the-shelf parts, or are just no longer available. This work may require some design work though. Any modifications or upgrades to a custom machine are almost certain to need engineering and design work before a machinist can get to work on a CNC tool to make something.

Machining and Engineering Go Together

Once a piece or part has been designed and refined, the traditional machining services of a shop become relevant. A CNC machinist turns the design into parts that can be tested, demonstrated, or fitted to a machine. Those custom parts may be needed to repair or upgrade a piece of manufacturing equipment.

In complex upgrade, design, or small-batch manufacturing services you ideally have one design and engineering partner who can help turn an idea into a real item, something many shops could not do. The shop will also be able to repair or rethread steel, aluminum, or plastic parts. Some shops can even work with unusual materials like titanium, copper and chrome moly steel and ceramics.

Expert Design and Engineering Support in Nashville

Machine tooling and engineering services have a complementary role in product development and testing for industry and manufacturing. If you have a business in the Metro area and wonder if there is a CNC machine shop near me that offers design and prototype services along with standard machine shop services, there is Hamilton Machine. There is a machine shop in Nashville that provides a wide range of related services. We have experience machining steel, aluminum, plastic, and many alloys. We are happy to sign a non-disclosure agreement before discussing a project. Contact us to discuss your design or production needs and any specific requirements you have.