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Custom CNC part manufacture ... you can do it !!!

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Thought I'd share my experience in having a custom part manufactured in case its of interest to others in their projects. It was all in all a pretty cool experience and the price was 'fair' in my book considering it was a completely one off item.

Full Disclosure: I used to be a design engineer so the design / modeling part of the job was fairly straight forward to me. In saying that, anybody can learn enough to design most parts these days via YouTube and forums and have a lot of fun along the way !!

The Item: I needed a dry sump oil pan to make my Nissan VQ37 + BMW E46 swap project viable. There is nothing available off the shelf that fits the brief so I set to designing my own custom piece in SolidWorks.

The Service: I didn't know where I would get the item priced and manufactured but I thought there must be somewhere that offers manufacture 'as a service' now online ... a quick search later and I came across https://hubs.com which does exactly that !! I'm not easily impressed but the Hubs platform is really pretty awesome. You simply upload your 3D model and it immediately checks to ensure it can be manufactured (they do 3 and 5 axis CNC milling, CNC turning, sheet metal, 3D printing etc) and calculates a price on the spot. The pricing is then recalculated depending on options you select such as shorter lead time, number of parts, surface finish and any post machining operations such as anodising or bead blasting.

The platform has everything you want such as saving various versions of a part, sharing the quotes with others and a cool built in 3D viewer complete with a banana for scale.

Once you are happy with your selected options you hit the production button just like ordering something off Amazon !! Now sit back and wait in anticipation as your part is manufactured and shipped to you ... you can see the status in the Hubs platform and I used the live chat a few times which was great also to query things.

The Result: In summary I'm really impressed (this probably reads like a sponsored post hah) end to end with the service ... my part was made in China it turns out and looks beautiful. No customs charges as I assumed they took care of that via DHL who shipped it (shipping is also priced when you submit your part). I went with brushed and clear anodised finish.

Summary: Give it a go if you have some custom parts to get made !! Its something that you may not consider a viable option but it definitely is if you can design it up. Price wise my part was less than both of the options available online (Ross and Dailey) and is the only thing that will work with my E46. In saying that, mine is also the heaviest of the lot :P

EDIT: Images were not showing previous, have attached as files.

Attached Files

wow, that sounds perfect for many of the builds we see here. thank you for sharing

Regards Ross

It's good to get feedback from folks who've used these services. There are quite a few places you can get it done, even sites where you can put your requirements up for bidding.

Been trying to get onto one of the "3D" print intoductory courses, through evening classes for a few years now, but no luck so far. Usually down to a lack of a tutor.

Thanks for the post -- it does sound intriguing. I spent several weeks last summer making my own DBW servo brackets. The design took a few hours (Fusion 360), and working out all the rest to cut the part took a couple weeks. I used a lot of material, and broke a couple tools. Plus I had chips all over my shop. Maybe this would have better and maybe faster?

Sounds cool for sure. I have a mate here in NZ that has a 5 axis CNC who does my custom parts. I send 2d drawings and he draws them up in 3d them makes them for me.

Keen to see pics of your finished part as the links seem to be broken.

I do have a one off part I need for my build and was looking at options to have it made, maybe this is exactly what I need.

Have added the pictures as files to the original post now ... hope you can see them. I would have liked to remove some weight by taking out more material but would have been more expensive.

Keep your friend with the 5 axis well fed with boxes of beer Brian !! What an amazing thing to have access to.

The thing that surprised me was the price reductions for multiple items ... it really drops fast so if you need say 4 or 5 of something its really quite good value.

Thanks for sharing David M.

Just for scale, how much did the produced past set you back?


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