As technology in manufacturing and product development continuously advances, many businesses and even individuals are prototyping new products using CNC milling or 3d printing. We can now create fast and exact product parts through CSC rapid prototyping or 3D printing prototypes. Both methods offer great advantages and of course disadvantages, but let us take a look at what CNC Rapid Prototyping can offer over 3d Printing.
Differences in Process
Milling or CNC Rapid Prototyping is one of the recent advances in product design and development. It entails rotary cutting of digital designs into a block or strip of material. CNC mass manufacturing provides an accurate cut of the exact material to be used for possible production of the new design based on the details that you put into the computer. This gives a great advantage in terms of product development as you can test out different types of materials to exactly suit what you will need for the finished product. Also, the materials, generally metals or hard plastics, are reusable through a recycling process.
In 3d printing, it is a totally different process from CNC Rapid Prototyping. Instead of being carved out of the actual material, layers of resin are “printed” out to form whatever 3d design has been keyed in into the computer. The problem is resin is quite expensive. Being that 3d printers can only use resin at the moment, prototyping using this method would not allow you to use or test different materials.
Milling also does not end in just CNC Rapid Prototyping. Some small scale manufacturing companies which offer custom design products used CNC Milling to create specific parts for specific designs. It is largely popular in car restoration shops, custom motorcycle shops or any businesses that offer fixing or restoring machinery. Adjustments can be made instantly and as long as the material is available, parts can be CNC milled directly from the digital design and attached straight into the final product.
3d printing, on the other hand, cannot offer final product outputs for all types of manufacturing. First is that it is limited on the material you can use and second, the speed of 3d printing cannot cope with the demands of quick production needs. It is very much limited to prototyping compared to CNC milling which can produce usable and actual parts for the final product.
Cost also plays a big role as using CNC Rapid Prototyping have adjustable costs based on the material you choose to use. 3d Printing offers almost no alternatives than resin.
The variety of materials that you can use for CNC Rapid Prototyping would allow some flexibility to your budget that you put in for product development. The reusability of some of the materials also allows you to cut costs instead of constantly buying supplies while your product is under development.