The CNC milling industry is proliferating at a steady rate for good reasons. CNC milling is precise and accurate, guaranteeing product quality consistency as opposed to machine milling. Moreover, you can use your SYIL CNC machine to perform repetitive tasks in the same manner, streamlining your production speed and efficiency.
In 2019, the global CNC machine market reached $80 billion. Experts project the market size to grow at a compound annual rate of 6% for the next six years. These are sobering statistics for manufacturers who are hesitant to adapt to change. Your competitors are already going for it, and so should you if you want to stay on top of your game.
For instance, if your business deals in custom knives, a CNC machine can be a great choice to ensure quality control and consistency in your production line. But how do you do it? Is it easy and cost-effective in terms of time and resources? Here is a more in-depth look into using your SYIL CNC machine for custom knife making.
Understanding the concept of CNC Milling for custom knives
Using a CNC mill to make custom knives can be pretty challenging, especially if you're just beginning. First, you'll need to come up with the knife's design as opposed to generating it from a computer.
That means you'll need a knowledgeable designer with experience in using drawing programs to highlight the desired shapes, sizes, and dimensions. However, before using a computer program, the designer will need to highlight the whole idea in paper drawings and sketches. The drawing program will help you generate a digital 3D model of the knife's design.
This 3D model is not yet ready for your CNC milling machine to handle. You need to convert it to G-code, the language that will bridge the gap between your drawing and the CNC milling. This will allow the CNC machine to understand the right size cutters for the milling. It will help if you're accurate at this stage because even the slightest error, say a difference of 0.01 millimeter, will cause an imbalance in the scale.
Designing and producing fixtures
After setting your CNC mill, you'll need a secure base material known as a fixture to keep it running. Here is where some manufacturers might get it wrong. You don't just take a block of aluminum, steel, or titanium and add it to your machine—you must design and produce it.
The process of designing and producing fixtures for your CNC machine can be time-consuming, not to mention expensive. For instance, it takes a lot of testing and readjusting before getting the right fixture. Remember, the fixture must be accurate to stay in place when milling.
Most fixtures are made of materials that can be directly recycled, making them more expensive to produce. That said, it will help if you get it right from the start to avoid unnecessary expenses even before you start the actual custom knife making process.
Prototyping and milling bits
After the fixture designing and production stage, you can now proceed to produce and test prototypes with different tools. You'll use bits to mill away the material and do the finish. Some machines can also have an extra bit on the surface to perform a detailed finish. For these reasons, bits undergo extensive wear and tear and may often require replacement.
It's imperative to note that the milling bits used will determine the final finish of the tool. If the final finish isn't as impressive as you anticipated, it's a sign that your bits need replacement. Depending on the frequency of replacement, bits can be pretty expensive. You can mitigate this by going for high-quality options with a relatively prolonged lifespan.
Doing the finish after milling
The above process consumes a lot of time, but it's worth it. However, it's not over yet. You only have parts cut from a CNC mill. The milled parts will likely have minor but visible blemishes and tool marks.
Since you're making custom knives, you need to do another finish—probably by hand—to improve the aesthetic appeal of the end product. Also, some finish processes such as sanding can help you maintain the dimensional integrity of the custom knife.
Other finish processes that might be helpful in your custom knife making business include sandblasting, sanitizing, bead blasting, anodizing, and powder coating. Bead blasting is a relatively affordable process for adjusting imperfections and removing tool marks to create a consistent grainy finish.
Anodizing is expensive but thickens the machine parts with a natural oxide layer, enhancing durability and inhibiting electrical conductivity. These are some of the features that an average consumer would consider when shopping for a custom knife. So, make your last finish count if you're going to sell your product effortlessly.
SYIL CNC milling machine: Get inspiration from other custom knife makers
Are you still contemplating whether custom knife making with a CNC mill is right for your business? Ambitious entrepreneurs all over the world are already doing it, and so can you. Over the last few years, we’ve had the privilege of serving many customers who use SYIL CNC milling machines to make custom knives for their clients.
Our Malaysian customer, Kumar Mathusamy of Vicious Tools, is a professional banker but didn't hesitate to turn his hobby into a successful company. He started as an avid knife collector. Today, his custom knife products create a lot of buzz in the media. He recently featured in Channel News Asia (CAN) lifestyle and The Star.
We also have Alistair Phillips Folders and Made for Oysters knife makers as our customers. All these companies have one thing in common—they turn nearly impossible knife design ideas into finished products using SYIL CNC milling machines.
Start making your knives with a CNC mill
As you can see, SYIL CNC mills and custom knife making are a good fit. You get to achieve quality, accuracy, reliability, and efficiency—all in one machine available at a reasonable price. Nevertheless, it's worth mentioning that making custom knives requires a great deal of craftsmanship. Moreover, you need to get the process right, starting from designing prototypes to actual production.
Contact us for more information on our CNC milling machines and how you can use them in your business.