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Seeking prototype shop reference

John Whorfin

Mar 7, 2023
Hi There,

This is my first post after recently finding out about this site. I have some parts I would like CNC machined and since there is no capable shops anywhere near where I live, I need to find a shop that I can deal with online. I have an estimate from an online shop called Protolabs. I dont know what to think of it because I am not current on shop rates. Also, it makes me realize that I dont know anything about these shops. What would really be useful is a recommendation. If someone has had a good experience with a prototype shop I would love to hear it.

By the way, my parts would be aluminum about the size of a book and smaller. The machining would involve fairly simple CNC turning and milling operations and might be suited for a mill/turn machine.




Nov 22, 2015
San Francisco
Location would help, as would other requirements.
I love my local prototype shop, but I seldom accept lead times over 1 to 2 weeks, and don't mind paying accordingly.
I would go to different ones if I was willing to wait 4 to 6 weeks.
Most of these are in CA, and priced accordingly.
For quantities of <5 Protolabs is often competitive if you really do need your parts inside of a week, so long as you can live with their looser tolerances and surface finish.
Xometry IME is like Protolabs, but lower quality and longer lead time.

Higher quantity, meeting remotely tight tolerances on a drawing, see the RFQ suggestion above.


Hot Rolled
Mar 22, 2007
Check out Parts Badger in wisconsin. They seem to be a little more flexible then Protolabs. They must be doing something right as they are growing.
I have no affiliation.


Feb 11, 2014
C2 Machine in Joelton, TN or Southpointe Precision in Ft. Myers, FL. Both great shops, good rates, fantastic work. Both have websites you can find with the google box.