Fictiv’s Machining Services for Prototypes and Production Parts

Fictiv is a San Francisco-based company that provides rapid manufacturing services to startups and companies of all sizes. Whether you need help with prototypes, production parts, or one-off jobs, we have the expertise to help. Fictiv’s machining services include gear hobbing, electrical discharge machining (EDM), CNC turning, and CNC milling.

These CNC machining services are used to create prototypes and production runs across all industries from transportation and construction to aerospace, oil and gas, and medical.

Gear Hobbing

Gear hobbing uses a hobbing machine to create straight teeth on gears, sprockets, and splines. The process is usually completed in a series of four operations:

  • Profiling the workpiece shape to generate a planer form.
  • Using helical cutting to create grooves at precisely calculated depths along the profile’s axis for each tooth.
  • Hobbing or shaping the teeth by milling with special gear-cutting tools..
  • Parting off the gear from its blank.

The machine itself looks like an automated lathe but with two heads instead of one. One head grinds away at the gear material to create its shape while the other rotates and creates teeth on it using specialized cutting tools called “hobs.” Gears can be made out of various materials including steel, bronze, brass, or aluminum, depending on what’s needed for their application.

Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM)

The EDM process uses electrical currents to cut through metal, leaving a smooth finish on both sides of the workpiece. This is an extremely versatile machining method for prototyping that can achieve complex shapes without secondary operations such as milling or grinding. It also provides greater protection against vibrations caused by tool chatter and is ideal for parts that require intricate features with high-precision and tight tolerances.

The best types of materials to use with an EDM process are steel, aluminum, and brass. EDM is usually done on a smaller scale than machining by milling or turning, because of its versatility in shaping metal to specific shapes without the need for secondary operations.

CNC Turning and Milling

CNC turning is a process that creates the shape of a workpiece using a machine with rotating axes. CNC turning machines use computer-aided design programs to control the movement of their axes and can be used to create parts that have a uniform thickness, threads, or grooves on either one side or both sides. CNC turning can produce parts such as shafts, gears, and machine components.

CNC milling, in contrast, is a process that uses a machine to cut the surface of a workpiece using circular metal end mills that are rotated by an axis. The CNC milling machine also uses computer-aided design programs to control the movement of its axes and can be used to create parts with complex shapes, threads, holes, slots, or internal features such as cavities. A CNC mill is ideal when creating shapes that are not cylindrical and those that lack rotational symmetry.

Choosing the Right Service

Selecting the right service for any type of manufacturing project can be challenging. That’s why Fictiv specializes in providing custom quotes and step-by-step guidance throughout the process.

At Fictiv, we have decades of experience working with clients in a wide range of industries including aerospace, automotive, medical device manufacturing, and consumer electronics. We’re uniquely positioned to help you find the right service for your project and we’ll work with you the whole way, from quoting and prototyping to production and assembly.

Fictiv offers a full range of machining services including gear hobbing, EDM, CNC turning, and CNC milling so that companies like yours can manufacture prototypes and finished parts exactly how they envision them — from start to finish!

Contact us today at hello@fictiv.com or call (415) 323-3400 for a custom quote for your machining needs.

About the Author –
Christine Evans is the Director of Product Marketing & Content Strategy at Fictiv, an on-demand manufacturing company. Over the past six years, Christine has grown Fictiv’s popular Hardware Guide and Digital Manufacturing Resource Center, with over 2,000 teardowns, DFM guides, and mechanical design articles to help democratize access to manufacturing and hardware design knowledge.

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