Question of the Month: What is Precision Machining?

Precision Machining is a process to remove material from a work-piece (such as a block of steel, bronze, graphite, glass and plastics, etc.) while keeping low tolerance surface finishes. According to Wikipedia, “surface finish, also known as surface texture or surface topography, is the nature of a surface as defined by the three characteristics of lay, surface roughness, and waviness… Surface texture is one of the important factors that control friction and transfer layer formation during sliding. Many factors contribute to the surface finish in manufacturing. … Parts that have sliding contact with others may work better or last longer if the roughness is lower.”

Precision machined items include aircraft, automotive and appliance components, medical instruments and dozens of other industrial parts. Many industries require tools that are made with a close attention to surface finish, feel of objects and flawless assembly. These factors are critical for their performance and longevity. Therefore, their parts must be made to exacting standards.

The precision machine has many types: lathes, milling machines, stamping and drill presses, precision shears, high-speed robotics, electrical discharge machines, and others. In many cases a part might pass through many operations before it is considered finished. Precision machinists operate these machines to create or repair objects that surround us every day. There are over 3000 precision machining firms in the US and that number has been growing steadily in the past 10 years, contributing over $9.8 Billion to the US economy (based on 2005 data). Precision machined products are about 0.054 percent of U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).* has more about precision machining:

“Quality precision machining requires the ability to follow extremely specific blueprints made by CAD (computer aided design) or CAM (computer aided manufacturing) programs like AutoCAD and TurboCAD. The software can help produce the complex, 3-dimensional diagrams or outlines needed to manufacturer a tool, machine or object. These blueprints must be adhered to with great detail to ensure that a product retains its integrity. While most precision machining companies work with some form of CAD/CAM programs, they still work often with hand-drawn sketches in the initial phases of a design… Precision machining often requires the programming of CNC devices which means they are computer numerically controlled. The CNC device allows for exact dimensions to be followed throughout the run of a product.”

For information about precision machining for the camera equipment industry, contact MYT Works Inc. at 212-337-3789 or send an email to


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