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ResourcesMachining Design3 Things to Know About Size Limitations for CNC Machining
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3 Things to Know About Size Limitations for CNC Machining

Learn more about designing within the work envelope of a CNC milling or lathe machine and the availability of post-processing options for larger parts.

Serena Ngoh - Xometry Contributor
By Serena Ngoh
October 9, 2020
 1 min read
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1. The "Work Envelope" of a machining center...

...describes the machine's travel dimensions. Xometry's partner network includes CNC machiningcenters with 64" (X)" by 32" (Y) by 38" (Z) travel limitations. Keep in mind that the travel limitations do not necessarily translate to maximum part dimensions. Deep features requiring long tooling can cut into the effective work envelope of a machine. 

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CNC work envelope dimensions
CNC work envelope dimensions
CNC work envelope dimensions

CNC work envelope dimensions

For parts manufactured on a lathe, the critical limiting dimensions are...

...the maximum part diameter and the overall length of the part. Xometry supports parts up to 18" in diameter, but special considerations can be made for larger parts. The maximum overall length of parts that can be supported also depends on the part's maximum diameter. Live tooling lathes can manufacture more complex turned parts with off-axis features, but this often means smaller effective work envelopes.

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A CNC Lathe part
A CNC Lathe part
A CNC Lathe part

A CNC Lathe part

3. Part size can affect the availability of different post-processing operations

For example, larger parts often do not fit in media-blasting cabinets. Additionally, for large parts that need to be anodized or electroplated, there can be custom racking requirements.


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CNC Anodized Parts
CNC Anodized Parts
CNC Anodized Parts

CNC Anodized Parts

Congratulations! You're now on your way to building parts that are optimized for our partner network's machine sizes. Read more design tips from our CNC Design Guide or quote now.

Serena Ngoh - Xometry Contributor
Serena Ngoh
I write about Xometry and all things manufacturing. You might also see me hosting webinars, designing infographics, producing videos, and working directly with customers to tell their manufacturing success stories.