. Machinists will often need to alter your part to machine some of the features. Work through this together and you'll both be happier.
. When you first bring your drawing to the machine shop, it's common to scribble notes and explain what's "not that critical." This is a valuable exercise, but take the time to alter the drawing in your design software before giving it back to the machine shop.
. For many parts, the machining costs are 5X or 10X the cost of the raw materials. Planning with a machinist can reduce the material costs.
. When you send your part to be machined, you will (hopefully) get the exact part you drew. Great, except that your part needed 4 unique tooling setups and 15 different bits. Walk through this process with the machinist.
. Often, adjusting relatively unimportant features of your part will make it half as difficult to machine.
. You can draw a lot of things in Pro/E and SolidWorks that you can't make in the real world.
. Machinists know more about machining parts than you do. Say it with me ... Machinists know more about machining parts than you do.
. Learn from Machinists. They have made thousands of parts and seen amazing design solutions. They always have creative input.
What tips have you learned while hanging around the machine shop?
(Picture of a 1950's Volkswagen Plant. Courtesy shorey.net