Lindel has specialized in CNC Machining as Tucson's best Machine Shop for the past decade. Excelling in medical machining and aerospace applications, we provide high quality products time and time again.

Custom CNC Machining: Telescope Parts

In the world of precision CNC manufacturing, every project brings its unique set of challenges and rewards. But sometimes, a project comes along that tests our capabilities. Such was the case with our recent collaboration with the Giant Magellan Telescope Organization (GMTO).

Our journey with GMTO began when they approached us with a Custom CNC Machining project that was compelling and exciting. The task? To manufacture a series of intricate CNC milled parts that would contribute to the construction of a telescope.

custom CNC machining

Unlike most projects that involve producing single item part numbers in various quantities, this endeavor required us to craft many different parts, each with its unique specifications and complexities.

The Challenge of Precision

The construction of a telescope demands nothing short of absolute precision.

The parts that we were tasked to create were crucial to the telescope's structural integrity and its ability to capture clear, undistorted images. This precision is not just about adhering to measurements, but ensuring that every component functions harmoniously within the larger assembly.

Navigating the Manufacturing Process

Material selection played a significant role in this custom CNC machining project, as we needed to ensure that each component could withstand the harsh environmental conditions of high-altitude astronomical observation.

The manufacturing process involved advanced CNC milling techniques to achieve the high precision that is required for the telescope parts.

Our team utilized state-of-the-art machinery - capable of performing 3-axis, 4-axis and 5-axis milling - to cater to the complex geometries of the parts.

custom CNC machining

3-Axis CNC Milling

A typical 3-axis CNC milling machine uses three axes points during the manufacturing process - x-axis, y-axis and z-axis. Each axis point enables a completely different cutting technique.

  • X-axis operates vertically
  • Y-axis operates horizontally
  • Z-axis operates along the depth of a workpiece

4-Axis CNC Milling

A 4-axis CNC mill machine utilizes a technique that is quite similar to 3-axis machining, which is up and down, side to side, back and forth.

However, 4-axis mills contain an additional rotation along the x-axis. This added rotation is referred to as the a-axis. The a-axis, specifically, allows the workpiece to rotate during the machining process. As a result, the tools are able to perform a cutting procedure on both sides of the part.

4-axis CNC machining will provide continuous precision, even when a project requires multiple positions during the cutting process.

5-Axis CNC Milling

When it comes to 5-axis CNC milling, the machinery not only operates on the XYZ plane, but also along additional rotational axes, as well.

5-axis mills can perform a high precision CNC machining procedure that simultaneously operates on five sides of a machined part.

The added rotational procedures include:

  • A-axis, which rotates around the vertical x-axis
  • B-axis, which rotates around the horizontal y-axis
  • C-axis, which rotates around the z-axis

The 5-axis CNC machining method provides increased accuracy alongside your part, ensuring a high quality surface finish. This technique is, ultimately, ideal for the production of highly intricate and complex parts that need a precise manufacturing process.

Beyond Machining: Assembly and Inspection

Our collaboration with GMTO took an exciting turn when we were also entrusted with the assembly of the machined parts.

This added responsibility underscored the trust GMTO placed in our capabilities - not just as machinists, but as precision engineers who understand the intricacies of assembling complex mechanisms. Once assembled, the project underwent a rigorous inspection process to guarantee that every part met the stringent standards set by GMTO.

The Moment of Truth

The culmination of our efforts was a visit from GMTO to our machine shop. This was the moment of truth, where the assembled parts would either pass the scrutiny of GMTO's experts or fall short of their expectations.

CNC machining

It was a testament to the dedication and expertise of our team, when GMTO signed off on the project for delivery acceptance. This approval was not just a formality - it was an acknowledgment of our contribution to this highly complex custom CNC machining project.

Custom CNC Machining

Working on this project with GMTO was more than just another job for P4Swiss/Lindel CNC Machining. It was a journey into the realm of high precision engineering, where every micron matters.

This project showcased our capabilities in CNC machining, our flexibility in handling complex requirements and our commitment to achieving excellence in every task we undertake.

Our approach is agile, adapting to the changing needs of each industry that we serve:

If you have any questions or would like to submit your own custom CNC request for quote (RFQ), please do not hesitate to contact Tony Torrez at, call us at 520.792.3160 or click the “Request A Custom CNC Quote Today” button below.

Interesting Facts

Did You Know?

What makes Tucson, AZ a pivotal center for astronomical research?

The combination of its dry climate and the surrounding mountainous landscape forms the backbone of optical astronomy within the United States.

The region's observatories hold a storied place in history — with Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) being the eldest, established in 1958, and its renowned Mayall telescope celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.