Machining parts from raw materials such as steel, aluminum, titanium, and other metals is often the only way to get a part for a custom project or specialty machine that you are using. If you have a machine or piece of equipment that was custom built to fill a specific need, then the parts used in it might not be readily available to buy off the shelf. You may need to consider having them made to meet the specifications of the originals parts by a machinist.
Finding A Machine Shop To Make Your Part
When you start looking for a machinist or machine shop to make your part, take the time to talk with the shop about what the part is, what it does, and when you need it. They will tell you if the project is something they can or are willing to take on for you. Not all shops have the same equipment, so it is possible that your part will require equipment that is just not available in every machine shop. If the first place you go can't make your part, ask them for a recommendation as they may know someone with the right tools to do the work.
Redesigning Your Part
If you are starting with a part that was custom made for the machine you are using, there may have never been one like it and there may not be any replacement parts available. Removing the old part and taking it to a qualified machinist is a good place to start. In many cases, taking a look at the piece, measuring it, and understanding its function will help the machinist recreate the part and make it function just as the original did.
Using The Right Material For The Job
Consider the reason for the failure of the part and talk with the machinist about it. If you tell them what happened or how it failed, they may suggest a different material for the part as an alternative to make it last longer. If a valve was made from aluminum but failed due to wear, the machinist may suggest using an alloy or more durable material for the new part. Sometimes parts are made from materials available, and while the material works, it may not really be the right material.
Producing The Part Once or Many Times
If you just need this part one time, any machine shop that you work with can make just one. But if you suspect that you may need additional pieces later on, it might be worth working with the shop to have them design a CNC program to make the part on a CNC machine. You will not have to tie up the money making parts that are not going to be used right away, and if you have the CNC program, a good machine shop can load the program on their CNC machine and make your part when you need it.