Complete Precision CNC Engineering Services

Solving Tough Manufacturing Challenges

The Trace-A-Matic engineering team of highly skilled engineers, technicians, and programmers are ready to guide you through your most challenging CNC machining and part design obstacles. They are experts at designing for manufacturability, precision machining of exotic metals, and developing turn-key engineering solutions for prototype and production parts. Two huge advantages that separate Trace-A-Matic from most machine shops are machining capacity and the specialty machining processes offered. We have enormous machining capacity with over 150 multi-axis mills and turning centers. With complete understanding and control, we fully leverage the capability of each machining center in the manufacturing process. We also manage the integration of special processes: thermal hardening processes, coatings, EDM (electrical discharge machining), deep hole processing, gear cutting and grinding, surface finishing, machined part balancing, porosity impregnation, and welding. Leading OEMs around the globe entrust Trace-A-Matic to precisely manufacture their mission-critical components and assemblies from start to finish!

Engineering Evaluation Process

Every new part order enters into our engineering evaluation process for an in-depth manufacturability review and to identify all foreseeable pitfalls before production. Our engineers verify that selected machining operations provide the quality, machining efficiencies, and overall tolerances required to produce parts successfully. They establish document control to manage material and process certifications, quality forms, and other necessary records and reports. An inspection protocol ensures your machined components and assemblies meet or exceed every specification. Planning includes the testing instruments to be used, the need and frequency of in-process inspections, special process inspections, as well as final inspection requirements, as appropriate.

CAD Modeling and CAM Programming

Precision machining and manufacturability start in the fine details of the design stage. We are experts at transforming part concepts having complex geometry and intricate features into 3D CAD models. Trace-A-Matic uses the SolidWorks platform with the ability to import print and model files from many CAD packages. We are ready to work with you at any phase of the design process to produce the most accurate 3D models. We use the ESPRIT CAM system for 5-axis and multi-axis programming and FeatureCAM for CNC milling and turning center programming. These robust programs are the foundation for streamlining and verifying the CNC programming process, but it’s the expertise of our engineering team that elevates this process to the next level. They account for all part specifications and tolerances, working material properties, tooling design, feed and speed rates, material removal rates, minimum part thickness, and complexity of internal cavities and features ensuring the highest level of part accuracy and overall quality. We virtually machine your part to simulate every manufacturing aspect and even can verify the G-code with VERICUT software before it drives our state-of-the-art CNC machining centers on the shop floor.

Reverse Engineering

Trace-A-Matic engineers can reverse engineer machined parts and processes. Over the years, we have helped customers with emergencies, like when a plastic part mold is damaged, and a machined aluminum part fills the void quickly, keeping the assembly line running. Other companies have found their way to us fleeing from a current supplier, causing them frustration and even having part failures. We evaluate the part and process, identifying the cause of failure, and provide solutions that perform under the demand.

3D Printing Rapid Prototyping

Trace-A-Matic offers two platforms of 3D printed prototypes and parts. Our Polyjet machine produces visually pleasing, dimensionally accurate parts that provide great feature intricacy and is an excellent choice for concept models. The FFF machine is excellent for printing durable, functional pieces with a lower material cost.

Design Guidelines to Optimize Part Machining and Reduce Cost

Specific performance requirements drive many of the design features that add cost and lead-times. However, here are a few design tips that can help minimize both cost and lead time:

  1. Always include a range of material and process alternatives to allow Trace-A-Matic to choose the best vendors to support the project.
  2. Try to design features around off-the-shelf tooling; this is especially important when defining corner radii and fillets. Features as simple as non-critical fillets can be cost-drivers if special tooling is required.
  3. Avoid embedding a manufacturing process in the design data wherever possible. We love the challenge of finding the best manufacturing strategy to hit your target.

And please remember, the Trace-A-Matic engineering team is available to review and guide you at any phase of a machining project.

Steps to Prepare Parts for Trace-A-Matic

  1. Provide part prints and CAD models with features clearly defined and dimensioned. Use GD&T (Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing) on part prints and CAD models, if possible. Trace-A-Matic uses SolidWorks as a CAD modeling platform with the ability to import from other programs. Please see our “Supported File Formats” list below.
  2. Identify prints and CAD models with the part name and the current revision level.
  3. Callout all working materials to be used in manufacturing and providing substitutions if allowed.
  4. Indicate if your company is supplying the working material or if Trace-A-Matic is to provide.
  5. Provide general and specific part feature tolerances expected.
  6. Specify the quality documentation, certifications, special inspections required.
  7. Identify any additional processes required: thermal hardening, coatings, EDM (electrical discharge machining), gear cutting, special surface finishing, part balancing, porosity impregnation, and welding.
  8. Note whether Nadcap certification is required.
  9. Communicate your PPAP (Production Part Approval Process) and FAI (First Article Inspection) requirements.

Supported File Formats:

  • AutoCAD (DWG, DWZ)
  • BMP - Bit Mapped Graphics
  • Catia (CATDrawing, CATPart)
  • DXF - Drawing Interchange Format, or Drawing Exchange Format
  • GIF - Graphics Interchange Format
  • IGES - Initial Graphics Exchange Specification, ANSI file format
  • Inventor (IDW, IPT)
  • JPG or JPEG - Joint Photographic Experts Group
  • PDES - Product Data Exchange using STEP, Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data
  • PDF - Portable Document Format
  • Pro-E or Pro/Engineer (DRW, PRT, XPR)
  • SAT - 3D ACIS Model File
  • STEP - Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data
  • TIFF - Tagged Image File Format
  • Unigraphics (PRT)

CNC Engineering Terms and Definitions

  • CAD - Computer-Aided Design
  • CAM - Computer-Aided Manufacturing, Computer-Aided Modeling, or Computer-Aided Machining
  • CMM - (Coordinate Measuring Machine) used to measure and verify machined parts and components to a required specification.
  • CNC - Computer Numerical Control
  • Design for Manufacturability - is an engineering practice of designing products for increased manufacturing efficiency.
  • FAI - (First Article Inspection) is the verification process to ensure the first machined part and reported measurements meet or exceed the required part specifications and tolerances. The supplier and customer perform the first article inspection together.
  • FMEA - (Failure Modes Effects Analysis) is a systematic method to evaluate a process and identify areas of possible failure and establish solutions to rectify.
  • GD&T - (Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing) is a symbolic language used to communicate the geometry, dimensions, and tolerances of machined parts on prints and CAD models.
  • PC-DMIS - (Personal Computer - Dimensional Measuring Interface Standard) is the software used to drive CMMs and ROMER arms to measure and verify machined parts and components.
  • PPAP - (Production Part Approval Process) the process suppliers and customers use to communicate and approve production designs, processes, and parts before, during, and after manufacturing.
  • Nadcap Certification - (National Aerospace and Defense Contractors Accreditation Program) is an accreditation program for aerospace suppliers providing specific processes: chemical processing, coatings, conventional machining, heat treating, nondestructive testing, welding, and others.

Other CNC machining services offered: 5-Axis Machining, 5-Axis CNC Machining, Multi-Axis Machining, 4-Axis Machining, 3-Axis Machining, Horizontal Milling, Vertical Milling, Horizontal Turning, Vertical Turning, CNC Engineering, CNC Inspection, and Special Machining Process

All product names, trademarks, and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Contact Trace-A-Matic today about our CNC machining services or request a quote for your next project!