Materials for Packaging and Shipping Machined Components

June 21, 2021 1:50 pm

Machine shops run a wide range of operations and serve a lot of industries, so naturally, the packaging and shipping materials vary. Once the machined components are complete and ready to be shipped out, it’s time to package them up properly for shipping.

There is no one way to accomplish the packaging and shipping process, so we asked the Practical Machinist community on social media to share what the process looks like for their company or business. As expected, the answers varied. Many times the machinist is responsible for packaging up their work whereas other machine shops have a designated team. Some machining and manufacturing facilities use air freight while others stick to semis and trains. It could also be that your business or company does not complete this post-production step in-house and outsources the job completely.  

In this article we will break down the packaging and shipping processes for machine shops and then link to some commonly used materials, for those of you who are shipping parcels and not freight. 

Packaging machined components 

As mentioned above, the size of the business will determine whether a shop’s packaging and shipping area is a table, a room, or an entire department. 

The type of components that must be shipped will highly influence the complexity of the packaging and shipping process. For example, shipping sheet metal is far different from shipping highly-fragile medical device components, and both are very different from shipping an endmill. The more delicate and intricate the components are, the more likely they’ll require customized packaging. This customized packaging and shipping approach for tricky components is called industrial packaging.

If your product is pretty durable and straightforward, your material selection for packaging will be pretty standard since the packaging needs can be accomplished with basic shipping materials.

Check out the list of those common packaging materials below.

Shipping machined components 

There are a couple ways to ship machined components, by freight or parcel. Freights are ideal for facilities that ship multiple boxes on pallet loads, with machined parts that are on the large side. A parcel on the other hand is an individual package usually under 150 lbs, which you can get started with FedEx here.  

Freight shipping typically requires more time as the process is more complex than simple parcel shipping. The medium used to transport the freight (ship, aircraft, train, truck, or semi) will also influence the delivery timeline.

Packaging materials for machined components

Getting your machined components to your customers on time is extremely important and machinists will know, it’s easier said than done. There are many reasons that make hitting a deadline a challenge, but having all the right packing materials on hand will help. 

Check out this list of commonly used packaging materials. 


Coming in a variety shapes and sizes, here are some different options for boxes.. Looking for packaging more suitable for tiny parts? Check out these bubble padded mailers

Protective packing

Filling the box or mailer with some extra cushion will help the parts stay in place during shipping. Bubble and foam wrap, loose packing fill, or packing paper will certainly do the trick.


You don’t just want to use any old tape. Make sure that you are properly securing the goods with tape made for packing and shipping. 

Strapping & stretch wrap

Strapping & stretch wrap is necessary for pallet loads and freight-style shipments. This material holds the boxes together as a unit. Strapping can be done with heavy duty rubber bands, special seals and buckles, or the more classic stretch wrap. Decide which option is best for shipment and check out all the different strapping options here.


Ensure your products arrive safely to the correct location with shipping labels. These days there are many practical and convenient options that will allow you to print out labels right on the spot!



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1 Comment

  • We produce 5-axis CNC ported cylinder heads for Harley-Davidson motorcycles, as well as other parts… shipping parts all over the US, Canada, Europe and Australia. Protecting the cylinder head’s fragile cooling fins is a must. We’ve found that cardboard boxes with foam-in-place packing offers the best protection, easy packing process, and low shipping weight / cost. Over the past 55+ yrs we’ve tried just about every packing prosses/products available – with mixed and often disappointing results – all of our shipping woes went away once we began using foam-in-place packing. We use both Sealed-Air and Instapak products.

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