How CNC Machining Plays a Critical Role in US Military Weapons Systems

Sheldon Precision is proud to support the mission of the US military by manufacturing precision machined parts using state-of-the-art CNC equipment and engineering. The precision offered by Swiss CNC machinery is critical to achieving the highest in quality standards and adhering to extremely tight tolerances required for military applications.

Sheldon Precision inventory of Swiss screw machining equipment combined with our experienced team of engineers and machines is the right combination for producing components for application in weapons systems, electronics, communications systems and other systems where complex and highly precise parts are required.  Our in-house quality system monitors machinery, processes and final parts and components to meet the highest quality standards. 

As an ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 registered company, Sheldon Precision is continuously improving the quality process. Every employee is involved in quality and lives and breathes it every day on the job. This fierce commitment to quality is how we deliver precisely what you need every time.

Additionally, Sheldon Precision is able to work with a variety of materials including titanium, aluminum and stainless steel.

At Sheldon Precision, we utilize a combination of CNC and cam driven Swiss Screw machines including:

  •  Escomatic
  •  Tornos
  •  Star CNC
  •  Milling & Secondary Equipment
  •  Advanced Inspection Systems

Our experienced staff works closely with our customers to understand their specific requirements and make suggestions on designs, materials and manufacturing for their specific needs.  If you are looking for more information or have a component design for quoting, contact us today at 203-758-4441 or click on the link for a quote

CNC Machining & Swiss Screws in the Electronics Industry

There is a large demand for speed and efficiency in much of todays’ industries. Manufacturing technology will need to continue to advance in order to meet such high demands. Both CNC Machines and Swiss screw machines can craft parts for the ever changing and advancing electronics market as devices get smaller and smaller.

Sheldon Precision meets the demands of the electronics industry with cost-efficient production and long or short run capabilities with the intricate parts in electronic screw machine products.

A Swiss screw maintains stability and allows for highly precise tolerances, even in tiny, long, narrow applications. Swiss screws are built for perfect precision, even in delicate parts with demanding tolerances. This is exactly what is needed to manufacture electronics.

A CNC Machine can produce parts at high speeds, with extremely tight tolerances, over and over. CNC controllers are the ideal solution for all applications used on the electronic components market.

Next time you happen to use a small electronic device, think about how it is probably comprised of parts manufactured by Swiss Screw and CNC machines. Contact Sheldon Precision today for your custom quote at

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CNC Machining vs. Traditional Machining

The precision manufacturing industry relies heavily on computer-numerical control (CNC) machining, including operations that once used engineer-operated equipment like routers, shaping machines, vertical millers and center lathes.  Manufacturers of many types of industries choose CNC machining because it provides efficient, expedient and precise production capacity ideal for creating large quantities of items normally produced with a grinder, router, center lathe, or shaping machine.  

In manual lathing, there must be a skilled technician for every machine, while with CNC machining, one skilled person can operate several machines.  CNC machining can produce a broad range of metal components used across many industries use due to their accurate, consistent and complex cuts.  Some examples of these industries are:  aerospace, automotive, electronics, firearms, hospitality, manufacturing, metal work, military, production and transportation.  The first CNC machines were developed by US Air Force mechanics in the 1940s.  These early machines used punched-paper technology as a driver which has evolved into today’s digital software.  CNC machining grew popular due to its ability to produce detailed and precise results in large quantities by using computers.  

Computer Numerical Control is different from typical PCs because the software used to control the machine is specially customized and programmed with G-Code, which is specific to CNC, that allows precise control of speed, location, coordination and feed rate. One person can delegate the machine work that would be the equivalent of multiple operators on lathes, grinders, routers, mills and shapers which human operators and conventional machines don’t always do efficiently.  The manufacturing field finds CNC machining very useful because this industry needs large amounts of metal and plastic parts, often in complex shapes.  Different types of CNC machines have the advantage of multiple axes that can adjust to difficult angles and help manage hard to cut materials. 

Basic machines have a cutting implement along x and y axes that each work independently and simultaneously.  Advanced machines may have up to five axes that perform similarly and have the capacity to turn and flip the part.  CNC machines can automate the jobs that require several cuts.  A router or spindle turns the cutting implement, which resembles a drill bit, and cuts the material, while a true drill bit only cuts at the tip.  The programming in CNC machines incorporates all the exacting, high-speed movements needed to produce the object and enables detailed customization.  CNC machining is becoming increasingly popular to fabricate metal parts and plastic parts, since it allows the manufacturer to produce complex shapes that would be close to impossible to create manually.  Many industries look to CNC machining advantages for production solutions involving metal and plastic and any number of machining processes they may need.  

CNC and conventional machines both start with a raw chunk of metal or plastic and shape it into a part.  The main difference between the two machines is the automation of CNC versus the manual nature of conventional.  Speed, production rate and accuracy are some of the main advantages CNC machining has over conventional machining.  A skilled employee programs software to cut the parts in CNC machining while with conventional the employee sets up and operates the machine and gears.  Conventional costs less and is usually used for small-quantity projects.  CNC is used for high quantities and is not as cost-effective for smaller projects. A CNC machine uses three tools to cut parts, while conventional machines require five tools and more time to get the job done. Conventional and CNC technologies are available for most machining jobs. Some of these include drills – a bit spins to make contact with the material, lathes – the block of material moves against the drill bit, usually in lateral motion and milling machines – rotary-cutting tools remove material from a stock unit. Novel CNC machining technologies include less common types such as electrical/chemical where the material block is cut using a specific kind of machining style such as electron beams, electrochemical, electrical discharge, photochemical and ultrasonic. Less commonly found methods of CNC machining involve cutting media like lasers, oxy fuel, plasma and water jets.

The use of computer-aided design (CAD) software is used in CNC machining to produce a two or three-dimensional model of the final component. The prototype image of that component is fed into the software which operates through the computer to direct the machining tools to produce items identical to the model. Once the computer loaded a new image for CNC machining, it is able to pull up that model numerous times to produce more of the item. This is designed to achieve machining accuracy within .0001.

Conventional and unconventional methods of CNC machining are employed for a plethora of jobs that may involve a variety of materials such as:


These are 20 cutting chores frequently completed by CNC machining:


Advantages of CNC Machining

Precision Components: The digital template and autonomous machining of CNC practically eliminates human error and achieve accuracy within 1/1000th.

Reliable Endurance: CNC machines work around the clock every day and only top for repair or maintenance.

High Production and Scalability: Once the design parameters and specification have been entered into a CNC machine, it consistently executes huge quantities and afford flexible scalability.

More Capability: When used in tandem with advanced design software, CNC machines create outputs that cannot be replicated by manual machines. Even the most gifted engineers can’t use conventional machines up to the level of CNC machines because of the advanced software that they use. These machines can produce any size, shape or texture needed.

Less Labor: CNC machining requires fewer personnel to execute the production tasks. One skilled operator can run several of the autonomous CNC machines while another programmer can get them loaded with the designs. A manual machines requires at least one skilled operator per machine and a supervisor. What you can save on manpower can be passed along to customers.

Uniform Product: When you use CNC machines over conventional machines, your CNC outputs match exactly. Even the most talented machine operations running traditional machines, their products will very slightly. Perfect parts are guaranteed every time with CNC machines.

Lower Costs: CNC machines have high speeds, are more efficient, precise and require fewer labor hours. Saving money or making more money is one of the popular benefits of CNC machining.

Fewer Headaches: Manual machines serve many great purposes but when your operator is out, or your staff isn’t performing up to their expectations you won’t produce as much as you would by using a CNC machine.

Better Safety: Even though CNC machines still require the use of operators, they are at a distance from the sharp tools. Operators of conventional-manual lathes, drills and punches come into direct contact with the implement.

Design Retention: Once the design has been loaded into the CNC machine software and it creates a perfect prototype, the program can easily retrieve the design and create the object over again.

Low Maintenance: The G-code based software will automatically update when needed and CNC machines usually do not require much service other than to change the cutting implements at the proper interval. None of the regular maintenance requires professional service.

Versatility: CNC machining creates virtually any component. Some of the models include special features and accessories that further expedite and simplify the production process.

There are many advantages to using CNC machines and at Sheldon Precision we only use the best machines to make sure your product is made with the highest quality possible. Contact us today for a quote at

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Using Swiss-type Machines to Manufacture Medical Components

The latest machining technology should be used in your warehouses and workshops to accurately create medical components.  Swiss-style lathes are a great combination of precision and repeatability due to their guide-bushing design, which provides support for the workpieces very close to the cut. Most businesses recognize that the US medical market offers more opportunities for those that create intricate components from tough materials. 

The United States has the largest and most sophisticated medical market in the world.  This is due to the aging population.  There are 35 million people 65 and older but by 2075 there will be about 69 million in the senior age group.  The rising cost of healthcare is another reason why the medical field is a new-business venture for many manufacturers.  Insurers and healthcare providers are creating pressure to reduce costs by increasing manufacturing productivity, which gives shops the opportunity to be capable to machine medical parts and devices in an efficient matter. 

Adopting the latest machining technologies becomes key for shops to accurately and repeatably create medical components.  The need for more sophisticated machining practices is driven by difficult materials, shrinking component sizes and the complex operations needed to create tight-tolerance features on these parts.  Swiss-style lathes offer a good combination of precision and repeatability for these applications due to their guide-bushing design, which provides support for the workpieces very close to the cut.

Many different areas and departments in the medical field can be served by shops using Swiss-type turning.  Some of these include interventional cardiology devices (stents, catheters and surgical tools); orthopedic devices (bone screws. implants and joint replacement); minimally invasive surgical equipment (laparoscopic devices); diagnostics (point of care testing instruments); wound care (staples, suture anchors and clips); and dental implants and equipment. 

Here are some tips for producing common medical component features and equipment on Swiss-type lathes:

Micro-machining is machining on a small scale that requires a proper mindset in terms of part handling, tool handling, inspection and secondary operations.  However, it starts with machine accuracy because even the best tooling won’t help if the machine lacks positioning accuracy.  Runout that might be acceptable for a standard-size part likely isn’t acceptable when machining features on tiny parts.  High precision collets are used for the machine’s main spindle, pickoff device and guide bushing.  High-frequency spindles are essential for drilling and milling tiny features into parts while achieving the desired surface finish, accuracy and tool life. 

When performing internal broaching, it is important to use the proper broaching tools and to prepare the workpiece for the operation.  Internal broaching requires creating a pilot hole with a 90 degree chamfer which prevents the broach’s points from chipping upon entering the cut and allows the broach to follow the centerline.  It may be necessary to remove material for the feature’s corners with a small end mill.  Deburring passes may also be required depending on the size of the chips. 

Wobble or rotary broaching uses a tool with a shape that’s similar to the final feature shape, except that it has a clearance ground into it.  The tool axis is typically inclines 1 degree from the workplace access and as the broach rotates, it presses against the workpiece. The 1 degree incline causes the leading edge of the tool to “wobble” with respect to the workpiece.  If the tool is inclined by 1 degree, the sides of the tool must have a clearance angle of at least 1 degree since the tool advances at the same rate it cuts. Wobble broaches do not cut as accurately as a punch broach, so their use should be determined by the application it will be used for. 

Thread whirling is often used to cut special form threads in difficult to machine materials and is not as limiting as other threading operations.  Thread whirling is typically used for bone screws that have a significant length to diameter ratio; deep, high-helix buttress threat forms and extreme differences between major and minor diameters.  ID thread whirling is effective for producing clean, burr-free thread contours with no residual chips and it enables threading down to the bottom of a hole to sizes as small as 0.0551 inch.  An alternative to thread whirling includes a die head (not to be used on materials such as titanium), thread milling (requires pre-turning, special cutters and special supports in certain cases), single point turning (used for short screws since long screws need support), thread rolling (requires accurate pre-turning and doesn’t work on buttress-style threads in hard materials) and grinding, which can’t be performed on a Swiss-type lathe.

Cannulated bone screws, (screws that are hollow) have a space that allows bone marrow to grow.  This also facilitates the insertion of guide pins for bone screws used in fracture fixation.  The demand for cannulated bone screws is increasing even though it can be expensive.  Gundrilling allows shops to machine these screws effectively from solid bar stock.  It offers high drilling quality, process reliability, effective chip removal, minimal runout and significant length to diameter ratios. 

If you are interested in manufacturing high quality components for the Medical Industry contact us today

Article adapted from

The History of Screw Machining and Equipment

A screw machine is a type of lathe used for the precise shaping of hard materials (usually metal) into specially designed components. Typically, this equipment works by rotating a workpiece at high speeds and allowing it to be operated on by various changeable cutting tools. Screw Machine might be a misleading term for this machine since they are used to produce a range of different components in addition to screws. Threaded parts represent only a small portion of the items manufactured by these types of machines.

Prior to the 1840’s “screw machining” was used to refer to any process that involved the manufacturing of screws. When Stephen Finch introduced the turret lathe in 1845, it was called a “screw machine”. In 1860, Joseph R. Brown improved the original turret lathe, which at that time was manually operated, with an upgrade and the machine’s movements could now be mechanically automated with the use of drum cans. During this time these machines were now known as automatic screw machines, while the earlier versions were named manual screw machines.

In the 1950’s further advancements were made as the machining process became automated with computerized controls. These machines were now known as CNC screw machines and were now part of the same family of automatic screw machines. Today, the term automatic screw machine is referred to any screw machine that runs with little to no human labor.

Types of Screw Machining Technology

Turret Lathes

Turret Lathes were the first types screw machines. They were first used in the mid-1840’s to mass-produce screws for the percussion locks of 30,000 pistols under a government contract. Turret lathes consist of h

orizontally or vertically rotating turrets fitted with different cutting tools that advance toward the rotating workpiece. Once one tool completes its operation, the turret slides back and indexes the turret to apply a different tool to the workpiece. When all of the tools on the turret have shaped the workpiece, the final product is released and another workpiece is added to the spindle. Earlier, manual versions of turret lathes are no longer used and have been replaced by more automated machining methods.

Cam-Operated Screw Machines/Lathes

Cam-operated screw machines are mechanically automated by a series of disc cams. These became popular in the late 1860s and the rotating cams transform rotary movement into linear movement. As the cam rotates, linear motion is used to advance the cutting tools to the rotating workpiece. This was the first type of automated screw machine. Cam-operated machines are now largely replaced by CNC-operated machines but continue to be widely used in many fabrication workshops.

CNC Lathes/CNC Turning Centers

In a CNC screw machine, the cutting tools are controlled by computer programs. CNC lathes/CNC turning centers also fall under the family of automatic screw machines but instead of relying on cams for controlling the approach of cutting tools, the movement is controlled electronically via programmable user input. CNC lathes became popular in the 1950’s and are one of the most popular automatic machines with their superseded cam-operated lathes. CNC lathes are known for their enhanced precision and accuracy and their quick job hangover rate.

Swiss Screw Machines

Swiss screw machines are automatic screw machines consisting of a sliding headstock and a guide bushing. The workpiece is secured in the headstock with a collet, which clamps the workpiece and rotates it with the spindle. The cutting tools move in and out to trim the bar’s diameter and shape the overall cross-section, while the headstock does forward and backward to create the desired length. In the 1960’s the first Swiss Screw machines were automated by rotating cams, with CNC versions becoming more widely available in the 1970s. Today, Swiss screw machines are one of the most popular types of screw machining technology.

Multi-Spindle Screw Machines/Lathes

These types of screw machines feature multiple spindles that hold, rotate and form several workpieces at the same time. The spindles are mounted on a rotating drum, which advances the parts to different cutting tools at various locations. The operations needed to complete the part are divided among the cutting tools in a way that allows one rotation of the drum to produce the finished product. Multi-spindle screw machines can be either cam or CNC operated and are commonly used in modern fabrication facilities where mass production and repeatable accuracy are crucial.

Screw Machines Through the Ages

Since screw machines were introduced more than 150 years ago, there have been several changes and advancements. Manual methods have become obsolete and replaced with cam and CNC automation. Although CNC machines are more commonly used and have many advantages over mechanical cam automation, cam-operated machines are still being used in many types of machining applications. The best option of which machine to use will depend on specifics of the job that needs to be completed and the application at hand.

At Sheldon Precision we utilize a combination of CNC and cam driven Swiss Screw machines including Escomatic, Tornos, Star CNC, Milling & Secondary Equipment and Advance Inspection Systems. Since 1969, Sheldon Precision has had the ability and experience to manufacture components from a wide range of materials. Our expertise and stringent quality inspection standards ensure the highest quality components can be produced using steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass and copper and titanium. We serve numerous markets with our Swiss Screws in the medical, military, aerospace, electronic, automotive and control/valve fields.

Contact Sheldon Precision for a quote on your next precision component machining project.

Article adapted from:

CNC Technology and Swiss Precision Machining

As a type of lathe, Swiss machines have been used for more than 100 years to manufacture with accuracy. The term “Swiss” in machining actually has more than one meaning. To some it is a type of machine, and to others it represents a product of uncommonly small size or high precision. To us at Sheldon Precision, the use of this term allows us to be absolutely certain of the meticulousness of your desired product.

Computer numerical control, also known as CNC is the self-operating control of commonly used machining tools such as drills and lathes by the use of a computer. This equipment can take any material and perform a wide range of manufacturing tasks such as cutting, or drilling that meets specifications programmed into it’s software which requires little-to-no man power.

Positioning CNC as a computer-controlled process, CNC Swiss machining has only gotten better as a unique tool and is being used in a growing number of industries and applications.

Sheldon Precision utilizes CNC technology, as well as precision machining, along with Computer Aided Manufacturing programs to produce both large and small quantities of precise parts. Our product ranges from sizes .015” to up to 1.125” in diameter. Considering the microscopic size of the product, it is crucial to use the CNC technology in order to ensure perfect accuracy of fit.

To learn more about our industry-leading CNC technology and Swiss precision machining, contact us at []

Supporting Our Troops With Swiss Screw Machinery

The defense industry relies heavily on Swiss Screw machined parts. Our machines provide a cost-effective way to produce various parts used in the creation of various military equipment. From small rifles to larger military equipment such as missiles and ships, Swiss Screw machined parts are vital for the protection of the armed forces and national security. 

Some of the many parts we are able to produce include:

  • Screws
  • Pins
  • Spacers
  • Missile Components 
  • Fighter Aircraft Components
  • Artillery Components
  • Dust Cover Pins & Firing Pins

Utilizing titanium, aluminum, stainless steel, and copper, we are able to manufacture parts that meet our militaries rigorous demands. We are extremely proud to play a small part in supporting and protecting our troops by providing them with the very best materials. 

Contact us at [] and make sure that those fighting for you have the quality equipment they deserve.

Precision Swiss Screw Machined Components are Critical in the Electronics Industry



Parts and components manufactured using Swiss screw machinery are found in a wide variety of industries. Today, the electronics industry relies heavily on precision Swiss screw machined components as technology continues to develop. As devices continue to become smaller and smaller, critical internal components must also become more compact and precise. Swiss screw machinery is the most reliable and accurate way to manufacture these parts.

Large companies like Apple and small local companies are able to create innovative products that fit in the palm of your hand and improve productivity because of the precise components inside. Connectors, screw and additional parts that become systems in circuit boards are just a few examples of precision Swiss screw machined components.

Many may find it easy to overlook the impact that Swiss screw machinery has in our lives, yet all we have to do is look at our smartphone or tablet or computer to see just how important this is to our everyday life. 

At Sheldon Precision we use our passion for innovation and Swiss screw machinery to manufacture a wide variety of components for electronic, telecommunications and wireless advancements. Our combination of engineering and manufacturing skills allow us to innovate and collaborate on projects from prototyping to full-scale production.

For a competitive quote on components for your next electronic manufacturing job, contact us at []. 

Uses for Swiss Screw Machined Components in the Medical Industry

In order to complete intricate surgeries and diagnose patients with complex health complications, the medical industry relies heavily on advanced technology. Each day, just as there are constant discoveries in the medical field, technological advancements in medical devices allow doctors and surgeons to continue to push boundaries in their specialties and provide a higher level of medical care.

When it comes to creating advanced medical technologies and devices, precision Swiss screw machined components play a critical role. The ability to manufacture components to the precise specifications and with superior quality control and in a variety of materials relies not only on advanced machinery, but also an experienced workforce. At Sheldon Precision, our team of knowledgeable engineers and machinist are able to produce precision parts from .015″ to 1.125″ in diameter, with the ability to hold tolerances of ± .0002″.

Some of the most common devices that utilize components manufactured in our Swiss screw machine plant include:

Orthopedic Devices
Diagnostic equipment
Minimally Invasive Surgical Equipment
Dental Implants & Equipment
Wound Care
Cardiology Devices

Swiss screw machined components touch many important applications within the medical industry. Whether you are looking for short-run prototypes for testing or full-scale production of your medical application, contact us [] for a competitive custom quote.

From Turret Lathe to Modern Day Swiss Screw Machine

While Sheldon Precision has been manufacturing precision machined components since 1969, Swiss Screw Machining dates way back to the mid-1800s. In America, Joseph R Brown patented a machine for cutting spills and coined the term “screw machine”. His screw machine was an improvement on the turret lathe, a machine used to make several tools at once. 

At the same time, the Swiss were developing a similar machine to be used for watchmaking. 

A few years later in 1880, the first fully automated screw machine was made by the engineers at Brown and Sharpe, led by Oscar S. Beale.  

Finally, from the 1940-50s, engineers developed the technology we know today as CNC, Computer Numerical Controlled technology. Once developed, they were able to make the first CNC Swiss screw machines in the 1970s. While it was first used in electronics and the semiconductor industry, by the 1990s they had also done extensive work within aerospace, healthcare, and industrial applications. 

As a company, we use CNC Swiss Screw machines heavily in our work with aerospace applications. Using state of the art machinery and skilled operators, we turn our precise components in a variety of materials, including steel, stainless steel, aluminum, brass, copper, and titanium. By using CNC Swiss Screw machines in combination with any of our high end materials, you are sure to get the best parts for your next aerospace project.

Whether you are looking for short-run prototypes or full-scale production of aerospace components, contact us [] for a custom quote.