Process Zones

Large-Part Machining
Large-Part Machining is here defined as the challenge of machining any part that is too heavy or bulky for a single human being to move the part to another location quickly, or too large to fit within the work zone of the most commonly available CNC machine tools. Parts such as these could apply to almost any industry, though aircraft, construction, power generation, and oil drilling are ready examples of industries that commonly have a need for very large machined parts. In large-part machining, much of the challenge has to do with performing as much of the work as possible in a single setup. Five-axis or 3+2 machining is often required to let a machining center reach many of the features of the part in a single setup. On-machine probing is another important resource, because the machine is often required to precisely locate the part prior to machining and may even inspect the part after machining is done.

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Featured Zone Content

Large-Part Additive Manufacturing


These articles sample possibilities for additive manufacturing of large metal parts.

Building on the Right Foundations


One of the largest vertical turning and milling centers in the country will be installed in this Cincinnati-area job shop. Although installing the foundation for this huge machine was a massive undertaking, the company is building on other “foundations” as well.

repeating parts at WSI

Delivering Value in Program Production


A contract manufacturer specializing in ongoing production programs describes the investments involved in winning this work.

Minimizing Turnaround Times for Big Parts


The key to success (and the primary challenge) for any job shop is minimizing turnaround time for non-repeating work. This Indiana shop shares some of its strategies for reducing lead times for the various large-scale jobs it encounters.



Shops Serving Oilfield Customers Appreciate Retrofits

By: Derek Korn
Buying new is nice, but there are reasons why retrofits make sense for shops serving the oilfield industry.

A Modular Clamping System for Bulky Parts

By: Derek Korn
Here’s one fixturing alternative for clamping large workpieces such as mold and fracking components.

Profiler Expected to Exceed 100 Cubic Inches per Minute in Titanium

By: Peter Zelinski
Five-axis, five-spindle machine aims at reduced cost per piece for production of large aircraft components.

A Novel Modular Clamping System

By: Derek Korn
This clamping system minimizes setup times, enable a machine to access five sides of a part and provides highly repeatable positioning for bulky components.

machining a 40-m wing

Laser Encoder Feedback for 40-Meter Wing Parts

By: Peter Zelinski
Large machine travels, long machining cycles and changing aircraft manufacturing precision demands necessitated a non-contact approach to machine-tool position feedback.


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