These days, it seems like all anyone wants to write about is 3D printing. However, not a lot of people are talking about how CNC machining compares to 3D printing, which should be a required read for anyone seeking the help of a precision machining service.
CNC machining has been used in the manufacturing sector since the late 1950s, although it didn’t take off until the 70s. Since then, the software and tools used in the CNC machining process have been refined and has evolved to become the most cost-efficient, precise method of manufacturing prototypes and products.
In contrast, 3D printing is a relative newcomer to the manufacturing industry. The first 3D printer was invented in 1984, but it wasn’t until the 90s that actual parts were made using this technology. Today, 3D printing is used extensively for manufacturing, but there still remain several glitches to be worked out in the process.
How they work
Both start with digital designs, and both allow designs and specifications to be digitally manipulated and changed. Additionally, both of these technologies use computers to control the machines that product the parts. However, this is pretty much where the similarities end.
CNC machining is a precision machining technology that creates prototypes, parts and products from a solid piece of material. These prototypes range from the standard to the exotic, whereas 3D printing creates a part layer by layer.
Advantages of CNC machining
Because CNC machining is a subtractive process, whereby products are made by removing material from a solid block – it produces products that are stronger. Because 3D printing is an additive process, it produces less material waste, but the materials that can be used in this relatively new technology are limited compared to CNC machining. Overall, both methods can produce high-quality parts, prototypes and products.
CNC machining is a great option if your company needs to create a component faster, more reliably and less expensively. Contact PDS today to learn more about our precision machining service options.