How much does CNC machining cost?

18th Mar 2024
by Sam Brown

Understanding your quotation


Sales quotation


As a buyer of machined components, cost is probably never far from your mind. As you can imagine, answering the question ‘how much does CNC machining cost?’ is not dissimilar to asking ‘how long is a piece of string?’. In fact, several key elements influence the final cost of your CNC machining project.

Of course, one of the main determining factors is the quantity of parts you require. You will usually get a better cost per part, the bigger the order you place. And more parts will always determine a higher cost. But what are you paying for when you contract a CNC machining company?




In this blog post, I will break down what a CNC machining quote should cover to help you compare quotes between suppliers in the UK.



What makes up the cost of CNC machined parts?


There are quite a few factors that should determine the price you pay for your CNC machined components.

Some CNC machining companies take a very casual view of quoting. They receive your RFQ, give it a quick scan, and then put a finger in the air and prompt for a figure that sounds about right.


Request for quotation


That method of quoting makes me very uncomfortable, and I’d be nervous that the company might come back asking for more money once the part is on the machine.

A good machining company on the other hand will take the time to properly understand your part, get quotes from their materials suppliers, work out the routings for the job, inspection requirements etc, and put together a quotation based on a very accurate estimation.

So, what makes up the cost of a CNC machined part? Let’s dive in…



Raw materials


This is the material that the CNC machining company will likely buy from a preferred supplier.

Some CNC machining companies will have a good working relationship with a few suppliers and might even ask more than one supplier for a quote so that they can get you the best value for money.


Billets of material yellow metals


Some suppliers may get quotes for the exact grade of material you stipulated on your drawing. Others may dig a little deeper and suggest a cheaper alternative if appropriate. They should contact you before quoting if this is the case though.


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Programming/setting/machining time


As I mentioned before, this really shouldn’t be a quick guess. Some companies use estimators who are time-served engineers to do this. The benefit of this is that they can work out the specific routings needed for the part which will allow them to estimate the number of hours it will take to machine your part.


Milling machine - inside


Most CNC machining companies will have a standard hourly rate that they charge. This will cover the labour (i.e. a skilled CNC machinist) and the cost of running a CNC machine. The machining hourly rate is likely to make up a good portion of the quote price.

To give you an idea, most CNC machining companies will charge anything from £30 to £100 per hour in the UK. Remember, expedited orders will usually come at a premium too.


Complexity (any special tooling)


Sometimes a more complex part will require non-standard tooling which will need to be bought in specially for the job. When this is the case, the tooling cost will be factored in.


Inspection requirements

The inspection requirements of a part can be far-ranging depending on the specific application and which industry you operate in. The greater the inspection requirement, the more time needed by a trained inspector and potentially additional specialist inspection equipment.

First article inspection reports (FAIRs) and additional certifications are an added requirement that will take an inspector additional time to complete and therefore will need to be costed in.

A good CNC machining company should be able to liaise with you on your specific inspection requirements and advise you where necessary.


Finishing processes/assembly

You may have a need for your parts to undergo further finishing processes such as anodising or powder coating, or even assembly. It’s worth establishing with a prospective CNC machining supplier whether they can offer a one-stop shop service.


Soft sulfuric blue anodized support bracket


This means you deal with a single supplier who will handle all the machining requirements plus plating, coatings, part marketing etc, and even small assemblies such as thread inserts, press-fit bearings, and adhesives.

As well as helping you budget your project more effectively, getting all these processes quoted and dealt with by a single supplier can save you a lot of time and stress.




Penta boxes for delivery - packaging

You won’t necessarily see this itemised on many quotes but of course, there is a cost associated with packaging up and shipping your parts to you. To give you an idea, here at Penta, our packaging and delivery fee starts from £26 per delivery.


Comparing like for like?


It’s worth noting that most CNC machining companies won’t necessarily break down the separate costs on the quote you receive. Therefore, if it’s not clear what is included, ask!

It’s really important to know what each quote covers to ensure you’re comparing like-for-like between CNC machining suppliers, so communication is key.

It’s a cliché but if a quote seems too good to be true, it probably is! A seemingly cheap quote might be because the company has guessed without much thought into the cost, or they’ve only quoted for materials and labour but not the right level of inspection or required tooling.

When you’re working within a budget, the last thing you want is to enlist a CNC machining company, only to find out that there are additional costs to pay.





Whilst I can’t give you a definitive answer on how much CNC machining costs, understanding a CNC machining quote does empower you to make informed decisions for your project. Hopefully, this blog has empowered you to compare quotes between suppliers with confidence.

Remember, the cheapest quote isn’t always the best. Seek out a supplier who takes the time to understand your needs, provides an accurate estimate of the costs, and offers clear communication throughout the process.

By prioritising quality and clear communication alongside price, you’ll ensure a smooth buying experience and avoid hidden costs down the line.


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Next steps


At this point, you’re probably thinking you need to find a CNC machining company that takes the quotation stage seriously. One that will take care to exactly calculate the cost rather than making a guess. Who will communicate with you to ensure they understand your requirements and that you’re getting the best value for money?

It’s a good job you found us then! Here at Penta Precision, we have a dedicated team of estimators who will work with you to get you an accurate quote for your machined parts. Not only that, we offer a design for manufacture service that can help you improve the machinability of your component and even reduce the complexity to help you keep your parts within budget.

If you would like to discuss how Penta can help you with your upcoming project, give our friendly and experienced estimating team a call on 023 9266 8334 or email .