Precision in Practice: The Art of CNC Machining Tolerances

In the intricate world of CNC machining, precision reigns supreme. The ability to create parts with exacting measurements is not only a skill but an art form. Central to achieving this precision is the concept of tolerance. Tolerance plays a pivotal role in determining machined parts’ quality, functionality, and overall success. In this article, we delve into the significance of tolerances in CNC machining, explore their impact on our parts, and offer insights into different tolerances along with tips for achieving impeccable results, all while highlighting the expertise of Metrics Works.

Understanding Tolerances in CNC Machining:

In the context of CNC machining, tolerance refers to the acceptable deviation from a specified dimension. These deviations are an inherent part of the manufacturing process, influenced by factors such as Metrics Works’ machine capabilities, material properties, and design intricacies. Tolerances are defined numerically and often presented as a range within which the final dimension of a part can vary while still being considered acceptable.

Significance of Tolerances:
Tolerances are not mere numerical values; they hold the key to the functionality and performance of machined parts. Whether it’s a precision medical device, aerospace component, or automotive part, tight tolerances ensure that parts fit together seamlessly, perform as intended, and meet safety and quality standards. In industries where even the slightest deviation can lead to catastrophic consequences, tolerances act as a safeguard against potential failures, a principle deeply embedded in our approach.

Types of Tolerances:

Dimensional Tolerances:These are the most common types of tolerances and dictate the allowable variation in linear dimensions such as length, width, and height. Metrics Works’ commitment to precision guides the setting of these tolerances.

Geometric Tolerances: Geometric tolerances control the form, orientation, and location of features on a part. This includes parameters like straightness, flatness, cylindricity, and angularity, all meticulously handled by Metrics Works’ experienced team.

Positional Tolerances: These tolerances specify the acceptable deviation of a feature’s location relative to a reference point. They are crucial for ensuring proper alignment and fitment of parts, a principle adhered to by Metrics Works to ensure seamless integration.

Achieving Precise Results:


  • Clear Communication: Effective communication between designers, engineers, and machinists is paramount. Metrics Works emphasizes clear definition of tolerances in the design phase and collaborative efforts to ensure a shared understanding of expectations.
  • Material Selection: Different materials behave differently during machining. Metrics Works selects materials in alignment with the required tolerances to reduce potential deviations caused by material properties.
  • Advanced Tooling and Machinery: Metrics Works invests in high-quality tools and machinery equipped with advanced measurement systems, significantly enhancing precision and accuracy.
  • Proper Fixturing: Securely fixturing the workpiece reduces vibrations and movement during machining, minimizing deviations caused by external forces, a step meticulously taken by Metrics Works.
  • Calibration and Inspection: Regular equipment calibration and thorough inspection processes are crucial to ensure that parts adhere to specified tolerances, a practice upheld by Metrics Works’ rigorous quality control.
  • Optimized Toolpaths: Metrics Works utilizes CNC programming techniques that optimize toolpaths to reduce tool wear, vibration, and deflection, resulting in more accurate cuts and finished products.
  • Iterative Improvement:Embracing an iterative approach to machining, Metrics Works analyzes each iteration, identifies deviations, and adjusts to refine the process, showcasing their dedication to excellence gradually.

CNC machining is a realm where precision and tolerances are the guiding principles. Understanding the significance of tolerances, the types involved, and employing effective strategies to achieve precise results is the essence of mastering this art, which Metrics Works has perfected. By embracing the art of tolerances, Metrics Works ensures that its creations are accurate and exhibit the craftsmanship that elevates machined parts to the realm of excellence.

Unleashing the Power of 3PL: Transforming Your Supply Chain Management with Metrics Works

Do you need to streamline your supply chain management? Are you searching for a reliable partner to manage your warehousing and inventory needs? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to Metrics Works Columbus, where we leverage the power of Third-Party Logistics (3PL) to ensure your business runs smoothly and efficiently.

The State-of-the-Art Columbus Distribution Center

At the heart of our operations is the Metrics Works Columbus distribution center, a state-of-the-art facility that is setting new standards in the 3PL industry. This is more than just a warehouse. It’s the hub where all the magic happens, where we combine cutting-edge technology with our industry expertise to provide superior warehousing, inventory management, repacking, logistics, quality inspections, and rework services.
We’re on the cutting edge of technological innovation, utilizing the latest in Internet of Things (IoT) technology to monitor and optimize our production processes. Our state-of-the-art software allows us to capture and analyze real-time data from our IoT-connected machinery, providing us with unprecedented insight into our operations. This granular level of data enables us to identify inefficiencies, take proactive measures to prevent downtime, and ensure optimal performance at all times.
Our commitment to utilizing advanced technology extends beyond our machinery. We employ sophisticated inventory management software that allows us to track items in real-time as they move through our facility. This ensures we always have an accurate picture of our inventory, reducing errors and enabling us to react quickly to changes in demand. Our clients can rest assured that their inventory is in safe hands, with the ability to access real-time updates and reports at their fingertips.

Warehousing and Inventory Management

Are you struggling with the complexities of warehousing and inventory management? With Metrics Works, you gain access to a professional team who knows exactly how to store, track, and manage your goods. Our Columbus distribution center is equipped with the latest technology to ensure a seamless flow of inventory, reducing waste and maximizing efficiency.

Using Metrics Works Columbus for your warehousing needs delivers a host of benefits that can significantly impact your bottom line. One of the key advantages is our commitment to using cutting-edge technology that ensures precision in inventory tracking and management, which can drastically reduce losses and improve efficiency. Our state-of-the-art facility comes equipped with temperature-controlled spaces, ensuring optimal storage conditions for any type of goods. We also offer a scalable solution, meaning we can easily accommodate your needs as your business grows. With our expert team at your disposal, you can free up your time and resources to focus more on your core business operations, confident in the knowledge that your warehousing needs are in capable hands.

Repacking and Rework

Ever thought about the immense value repacking and rework can bring to your business? Our team at Metrics Works understands the significance of these services. We offer repacking solutions to optimize your product packaging, making it more attractive and market-ready. In addition, our rework service is designed to salvage products that might otherwise be wasted, providing you with opportunities to maximize profits and minimize losses.

Logistics and Quality Inspections

Navigating the world of logistics can be daunting, but not with Metrics Works. We handle all aspects of logistics, from transportation and delivery, to tracking and reporting. Furthermore, we conduct rigorous quality inspections to ensure your products meet the highest standards. With us, you can rest assured that your goods are in safe and capable hands.
supply chain services. Our team is composed of industry veterans with years of experience in managing complex supply chains. We stay current with the latest trends and best practices in the logistics industry, applying this knowledge to deliver top-notch services that exceed expectations. With a track record of delivering innovative and effective solutions, we’ve helped countless businesses transform their supply chain operations. By leveraging our expertise and sophisticated technology, Metrics Works provides a one-stop solution for all your supply chain needs, ensuring your business remains agile, efficient and competitive in today’s fast-paced marketplace.

Choose Metrics Works for Your 3PL Needs

At Metrics Works, we’re not just another 3PL provider. We’re your partner in success. Our commitment to delivering exceptional service is unwavering. We understand the challenges businesses face in managing their supply chains, and we’ve made it our mission to provide solutions that make a real difference.

When you partner with Metrics Works, you’re not just getting a service. You’re gaining a team of experts who are dedicated to your success. So, are you ready to revolutionize your supply chain management? Are you ready to experience the Metrics Works difference?

Your path to a more streamlined, efficient, and successful business starts here. Contact us today to learn more about our 3PL services and how we can help transform your business operations. Metrics Works – where your success is our metric.

Control Arm Machining

Some of the most critical components in an automobile are contained within a vehicle’s steering and suspension systems. These are important for efficient and safe vehicle operation. One of the most important components of this subsystem is a vehicle’s control arms.

Control Arm is affixed to an outboard-mounted hub at one end, and a vehicle’s frame at its opposing end. Bushings are positioned within control arms frame mounts, thereby preventing excessive wear under continuous movement. Control arms allow vehicles wheels to pivot up and down, with respect to the fixed position of the frame itself.

A vehicle’s control arms allow each front wheel to move vertically, in retaliation to the vehicle’s frame. This movement is cushioned via the use of shocks/struts, which absorb the vibrations from the road. At its outer end, a control arm is connected to its corresponding wheel hub through a ball joint.

Many automobiles feature both upper and lower control arms, which operate together to secure the subassembly. Control Arm is subjected to rough road conditions, so it needs to be made with the right stiffness, hardness, and assembly methods.

The majority of Control Arms are made of Cast Iron. There are some, however, made from Stamped Steel, Cast Aluminum as well as Forged Steel. Cast Iron offers the best combination of design flexibility (shape, size, machining) and strength. They are painted to achieve the corrosion resistance needed.

Metrics Works Effingham has been making high-volume Control Arms for Volkswagen, Toyota, Honda, and Subaru for over 12+ years. They have made more than 5 million over that span. We also specialize in small batch auto manufacturing, including service parts and high-mix-low-volume production runs on a 3-axis or 5-axis machining centers to achieve the tight tolerance and demanding finishes this application requires.

Reach out to to learn more.

Customer Success Story

Retrofit production equipment for low-volume and changeover applications? Oh, yes, we did.

It’s a fact of automotive manufacturing: older model cars need parts. But there comes a time in the production cycle when the demand for those parts drops dramatically. So, how can you make room for new, high-volume production runs while continuing to produce a lower volume of service parts?

That was the challenge presented to Metrics Works by a leading manufacturing of high-pressure diecast products and engine components for some of the top OEMs in the automotive industry.

The Background

This award-winning Tier 1 automotive supplier had spent more than 10 years mass-producing an aluminum die cast part, taking up 5,000+ square feet of space in their own manufacturing facilities. Their runs were very high. Their quality even higher.

But the time had come for the main production program to end. This meant they needed to transition this part to a lower-volume, service phase. But they simply could not justify reserving thousands of square feet of manufacturing space, as well as maintaining their production equipment to continue production for the life of the part.

Could Metrics Works help them by providing a low-volume run, freeing up their space, equipment, and resources to make room for future, high-volume parts for new models?

The Metrics Works Approach

The short answer is, yes. And the first thing we did was determine whether we could use any of their production equipment for the low-volume application. The answer to that was yes … and no.

Our facility in Effingham, Illinois is designed to support high-mix, low-volume production runs to deliver high-quality castings, forgings, machinings, stampings, and more with daily volumes ranging from 120 to 1,200 parts per day per dedicated production line. Making their ask happen would be no problem, so that was a good start.

Next, however, we needed to tackle the issue of production equipment. We evaluated the customer’s equipment and determined that we could leverage some of it in an as-is format. We also determine that we could retrofit a portion of it to make it suitable for the low-volume application.

But we didn’t stop there. We then transferred the usable equipment to our location and set it up. Then we got to work developing the rest of the required tooling equipment. We then put everything through a rigorous PPAP (production part approval process). Could we meet the customer’s engineering design and exacting specifications? Challenge accepted and approval received – all within an aggressive timeframe of 4-6 months from transfer to approval.


Of course, the customer’s other demanding expectation was for Metrics Works to deliver the same quality machining, assembly, inspecting, and testing on this low-volume project as they themselves did when the part was in mass production at their facilities – and we did.

“We appreciate how Metrics Works helped us overcome our low-mix, high-volume challenge. They helped us rethink the way we approach the service phase, allowing us to better serve our OEM customers, as well as expand our operation. And they did it without asking us to invest in expensive equipment or production space.” 

In fact, one of the reasons they turned to us was because we have all the automotive manufacturing capabilities they need, including automotive experience, mass production machining capabilities, production staff with decades of experience, and an understanding of – and dedication to – stringent requirements, regardless of whether we’re making 1 part or 100,000 parts.

More Success

With the success of the first program, our customer then looked to us for more. Now Metrics Works is running not just 1 part number, but 8 different parts with potentially more to come. We’ve adapted the equipment, too, so that we can do quick changeovers. This allows us to run parts for 2 days or 2 weeks, as needed to meet demand.

In addition to our ability to quickly adapt and change, this customer relies on Metrics Works for storage and shipping assistance. Because we’re geographically located within 3 hours of all their facilities, we store their parts until we have a full truckload. We ship, they inventory, and everyone is highly satisifed.

Freeing Up Space, Equipment, and Resources for Future Programs

Do you have an unending budget? Unlimited warehouse space?  All the time in the world? Of course, you don’t. Nobody does. Which is why Metrics Works is offering these ideas to help you ready your organization for strategic pivots and rapid changes without breaking the bank:

  • Look ahead to your ongoing service requirements.
  • Assess your existing processes and equipment.
  • Identify which, if any, equipment could be transitioned to a smaller footprint.
  • Determine whether you need additional tooling equipment developed.
  • Evaluate your organization or current supplier by asking:
    • Are they delivering porosity-free, defect-free machined castings?
    • Do they offer quick production and tooling lead times?
    • Are they competitively priced for all manufactured parts and tools?

Contact Metrics Works to learn how you can benefit from our high-velocity, Just-in-Time production and shipments for your next production phase.

For OEM and Tier 1 automotive manufacturers, we offer:

  • Aluminum Diecast Parts and Components
  • Assembly and Machining Services
  • Lightweight Metal and Alloy Castings
  • LVHM Production Runs
  • Smart and Agile Digitized Production
  • State-of-the-Art CNC Milling

What is Lean Manufacturing and Why Does It Matter to OEMs and Tier 1 Shops, Foundries, and Suppliers?

What is Lean Manufacturing, and Why Does It Matter to OEMs and Tier 1 Shops, Foundries, and Suppliers?

Lean manufacturing isn’t new, but it is revolutionary.

At Metrics Works we’ve been doing a lot of lean manufacturing training lately, so we wanted to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what we’re doing. More importantly, we wanted to share how training our team helps us deliver added value to automotive, industrial, medical, and agricultural OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers like you.

What Is Lean Manufacturing?

At its core, lean manufacturing is a commonsense approach that maximizes productivity while minimizing waste. As simple as it sounds, implementing lean manufacturing is never easy, nor is it every truly complete.

That’s because lean manufacturing is both a philosophy and an approach to continuous improvement. It requires organization-wide commitment combined with implementation of best practice techniques throughout the entire supply chain.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of lean manufacturing for us—and for you:

  • Improved cycle times
  • Increased efficiencies
  • Faster development
  • Decreased defects
  • Lower production costs
  • Less waste and waiting
  • Better inventory management
  • Enhanced customer service

When Did Lean Manufacturing Start?

There’s a bit of debate over whether lean manufacturing started with the first known use of the name in the 1990s, with a well-known Japanese auto manufacturer in the 1930s, or with an integrated production process that rolled out of Detroit in the early part of the 20th century.

You can read a more robust version of lean’s history here. The short version, however, is that it doesn’t matter when lean manufacturing started.

What matters is that lean manufacturing, done right, improves operational effectiveness and manufacturing excellence, resulting in delivery of the best possible parts at a fair price in the fastest possible time. Learn more about Metric Works’ commitment to delivering on lean manufacturing’s promise through what we call Last Mile Manufacturing.

The 5S Methodology

There’s a lot that goes into lean manufacturing, including various components and subprocesses, each of which serves a unique purpose and provides a specific outcome. Do a quick online search of the keywords “lean manufacturing” and you’ll be bombarded with 1+ million results, scads of research, and thousands of opinions about it.

That’s why instead of talking more about lean manufacturing in general, we’re going to focus on is the 5S training we recently conducted with a pilot group of Metrics Work team members at our Effingham, Illinois, USA location.

What is the 5S Methodology?

5S is a series of process improvement practices designed to support manufacturing excellence. It helps organizations like ours to identify potential issues and resolve them in ways that:

  • Eliminate causes of defects
  • Reduce or remove redundancies
  • Improve changeover and handling times
  • Advance safety outcomes

Many (including us) consider 5S to be foundational to best-in-class lean manufacturing. In fact, the reason we’ve implemented 5S is simple: Our goal is to supply our customers with the right product in the right quantities at the right time.

Our goal is to supply our customers with

the right product in the right quantities at the right time.

Benefits of 5S

For us, 5S is a system that creates repeatable efficiencies that save us (and, ultimately, you) valuable time.

Here are just a few of the many benefits of 5S:

  • Clean, well-organized workspaces
  • Visibly evident results
  • Inspired, motivated, and disciplined employees
  • Easier, safer work environment
  • Enhanced worker accountability and personal pride

5S Training: Top Takeaway

Like other aspects of lean manufacturing, 5S is not a “one-and-done” operational checklist. Instead, it’s a way of thinking and doing that is ingrained in our culture, so we can achieve small yet profound incremental improvements over time.

Here’s how we summed up the biggest takeaway of 5S training for our team:

Don’t Let Perfect Get in the Way of Better

Service Parts Machining for Die Casters and Foundries

Automotive OEMs require their Tier suppliers to produce and maintain inventory of OEM quality parts for service and repair for 10+ years after their project ends or model changeover has happened. In the wake of labor challenges, die casters and foundries are looking for more ways to produce these infrequent and unpredictable supply chain demand components.

Aluminum die casting demand is expected to grow from 8% of vehicle weight to over 14% as Electric vehicle adoption continues. Die casters should review if their existing casting, machining, assembly, secondary processes should be available for OEM production or service parts?

Challenges for these Tier suppliers in offloading are many:

1) Quality systems for machining sub-supplier – Foundries and die casters need to have at least an internal PPAP from the machining source. OEMs are not likely to require PPAP for service parts, so die casters have more flexibility in picking a sub-supplier. However, they must ensure that the machining source has ISO9001 or IATF certification.

2) Capacity – Foundries must ensure that the machining sub-supplier has extra capacity. Service part orders and demands fluctuate considerably, and they usually go down farther out of the model year it goes. Machining shops must flex their capacity with equipment, labor, and materials to support these demand changes.

3) Resource base – Machining shop should have depth in tooling and maintenance resources to support long periods of time production. The shop should also have engineering resources to maintain work holding fixtures, gages, and support fixtures such as leak testers, assembly machines, and fixtures.

4) Quick tool changes – Machining shop should preferably have the ability for quick tool changes. They should have many of the equipment needed to have rapid tool changes in place to enable the production of high-mix low volume parts with quick lead times and competitively.

5) Secondary processing – The machining shop should be able to manage secondary processes such as assembly, outsourced powder coating, painting, etc to support ongoing production and shipping issues. As MOQs get small, the willingness of painters and e-coaters gets harder as well. The machine shop should have a good relationship and vendor base locally to manage these secondary processes.

6) Re-pack and EDI capabilities – Ideal machining shop should support repackaging activities in returnable containers, packing in individual bags to ship to distribution shops along with EDI capabilities for proper part ID, barcoding, and traceability paperwork.

To help find a machining shop which can support foundries and die casters for overflow machining work or service parts machining, please reach out to us at