CNC Machining: Maximum Extents
Find the maximum extents of plastic and metal materials available for CNC milled and turned parts.
Our CNC machining service provides the ability to easily add threaded features to milled and turned parts. Threads are specified within our automated interactive quotes. When a quote is returned, the 3D display will show which thread types are possible for each feature. Different threads (where possible) or no threads can be selected on a feature-by-feature basis. View a demo quote to explore a 3D model with threads. For those having trouble with the interactive display, a 3D PDF is included in the demo quote that shows the thread options available.
After an order is placed, an order confirmation will be emailed with the thread sizes selected. Please review the order confirmation for accuracy. We offer a limited selection of UNF, UNC, and coil and key inserts (but do not supply or install the inserts). See the table below for all of our available selections.
Milled vs. Turned Parts
Threaded holes on milled parts must be modelled at the proper diameter and oriented along one of the three primary axes. Automatic external threads are not available for milled parts at this time. Keep in mind that it is possible (but not recommended) to obtain external threads on milled parts, but in this case, the threads must be modelled. External threads are machined using our standard ball and flat end mills. The smallest external thread that produces reasonable results in our CNC milling process is roughly 1/2-13 (M12). Threaded holes on turned parts must be modelled at the proper diameter and oriented axially or radially. External threads are available on the axial diameters of turned parts. Simply model the nominal diameter—do not model the threads.
- We may thread a through hole or continuous outer diameter from either side of the part. If the depth of the hole or length of the outer diameter is deeper than our tools can reach, we will offer to thread both ends of the feature. It should be assumed these threads will not be continuous. See the Maximum Reach tab on the table below.
- All threads will be right handed. Left handed threads, and diameter and pitches not shown in the table cannot be produced with our machining processes at this time.
- We may be unable to thread features that are obstructed by other elements on a part or that are obstructed by our fixturing. If a feature cannot be threaded, no thread options will be offered for that feature on the quote.
- Threaded features are not available for parts loaded in the .STL format.
Threading options differ for milled and turned parts, so make sure the right process is selected in the table below. If you have any issues or questions please contact an applications engineer at [email protected] or +44 (0) 1952 683047.
|3-axis 6-sided milling||3-axis 2-sided milling||5-axis milling*||Turning centre|
|Type||Material||X Y mm||Z mm||X Y mm||Z mm||X Y mm||Z mm||Ø mm||Z mm|
|Aluminium||Aluminium 2024-T351 | 3.1355 | AlCu4Mg1||254 x 178||70||356 x 254||44|
|559 x 356||32|
|Aluminium||Aluminium 6082-T651 | 3.2315 | AlSi1MgMn||254 x 178||93||559 x 356||93||Ø 73||99||Ø 75||228|
|Aluminium||Aluminium 7075-T651 | 3.4365 | AlZn5.5MgCu||254 x 178||93||356 x 254||44||Ø 73||99||Ø 75||228|
|559 x 356||32|
|Brass||Brass Cz121 (bar) | 2.0401 | CuZn36Pb3||Ø 73||99||Ø 75||228|
|Brass||Brass Cz112 (60/40) | 2.0321 | CuZn36Sn1||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
|Carbon Steel||Carbon Steel EN8 | 1.0503 | Fe||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44||Ø73||99||Ø 75||228|
|Copper||Copper C101 | 2.0060 | Cu||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44|
|Mild Steel||Mild Steel S275JR | 1.0044 | Fe||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44||Ø 73||99||Ø 75||228|
|Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel 17-4 PH | 1.4542 | X5CrNiCuNb16-4||254 x 178||44||279 x228||53||Ø 73||99||Ø 75||228|
|Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel 304/304L | 1.4304 | X5CrNi18-10||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44||Ø 73||99||Ø 75||228|
|Stainless Steel||Stainless Steel 316/316L | 1.4404 | X2CrNiMo17-12-2||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44||Ø 73||99||Ø 75||228|
|Titanium||Titanium Grade 5 | 3.7164 | Ti6Al4V||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44||Ø 73||99||Ø 75||228|
|ABS||ABS Black||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
|ABS||ABS Natural||254 x 178||93||356 x 254||44|
|Acrylic (PMMA)||TECACRYL Acrylic Transparent||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||74|
|HDPE||TECAFINE PE100 Black||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
|HDPE||TECAFINE PE100 Natural||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
|Nylon||Nylon 6 SUSTAMID 6 FR Natural||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44|
|Nylon||Nylon 6 TECAST TM Black||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
|Nylon||Nylon 6 TECAST T Natural||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
|Nylon||Nylon 6 TECAMID GF 30% Black||255 x 178||44||279 x 228||44|
|Nylon||Nylon 66 ERTALON GF30 Black||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
|Nylon||Nylon 66 TECAMID 66 Natural||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
|Nylon||Nylon 66 TECAMID GF 30% Black||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
|PBT||TECADUR GF 30% Light Grey||254 x 178||70||279 x 228||74|
|Polycarbonate (PC)||TECANAT Translucent Natural||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||73|
|PEEK||TECAPEEK Natural||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44|
|PEI||Ultem 1000 TECAPEI Natural||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44|
|PEI||Ultem 2300 TECAPEI 30% GF Natural||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44|
|PET||TECAPET / TECADUR||255 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
|PE-UHMW||TECAFINE PE1000 Natural (Opaque White)||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
|POM (Acetal)||Acetal Copolymer Black||254 x 178||93||380 x 279||70|
|POM (Acetal)||Acetal Copolymer Natural||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
|POM (Acetal)||Acetal Copolymer SUSTARIN C FDA approved||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44|
|POM (Acetal)||Acetal Copolymer Static Dissipative (TECAFORM AH SD) Beige||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44|
|POM (Acetal)||Acetal Homopolymer ERTACETAL H Black||254 x 178||74||279 x 228||74|
|POM (Acetal)||Acetal Homopolymer Tecaform AD Black||254 x 178||74||279 x 228||74|
|POM (Acetal)||Acetal Homopolymer Tecaform AD Natural||254 x 178||74||279 x 228||44|
|PP||Homopolymer Natural||254 x 178||70||279 x 228||74|
|PP||Homopolymer TECAFINE Beige||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
|PPSU||Radel R-5500 Black||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44|
|PSU||PSU||254 x 178||23||279 x 228||23|
|PTFE (Teflon)||TECAFLON White||254 x 178||44||279 x 228||44|
|PVC||TECAVINYL Grey||254 x 178||93||279 x 228||93|
* 5-axis indexed milling (3 + 2 milling)
5-axis* allows for a multifaceted approach to milling features from multiple angles, which means more complex designs can be manufactured.
With our 5-axis machining, it’s important to understand that the raw material used is bar stock (cylindrical). We have quoted the maximum diameter, the corresponding maximum milling envelope is shown in the diagram (66 mm x 73 mm x 99 mm). If in doubt about the maximum extents, please upload and we will provide detailed DfM feedback.
What is 3-axis milling?
The 3 axis refer to the X (left-right) Y (front-back) and Z (up-down) movements of the tool. Complex shapes can still be generated like slopes and contoured surfaces. A limitation is that holes and threads typically need to be on one of the 3 axis.
What is meant by 2-sided and 6-sided milling?
With 3-axis milling the part and spindle/tool are fixed relative to each other, the more features that can be addressed from one side the better (both for manufacturing time and accuracy). Protolabs offer milling from all 6 sides (think of drilling holes into a dice) on most materials. Due to their size, bigger components may only be accessible from 2 sides (the top and bottom or Z axis)
What is a turning centre?
A turning centre is a lathe, that also has milling capability – this gives you the advantage of much more complex components. The main consideration is designing in a “parting face” this is the last face to be machined and ideally should be flat. This face can be machined with a second setup. See our CNC turning page for more information.