Pros and Cons of CNC for Prototyping

Prototype plays a vital role in the development and verification of a new concept and a new design. It needs high accuracy, high precision, repeatability and scalability. Precision CNC machining can satisfy the requirements of high-quality, high-precision products, that’s why it is popular all over the world. This article introduces the advantages and disadvantages of CNC machining in detail to help engineers figure out their needs for rapid prototypes and parts production.

Advantages of CNC machining:

1. The number of tooling is greatly reduced, which means complicated tooling is not required even for processing parts with complex shapes. If you need to change the shape and size of the part, you only need to modify the part processing program, which is suitable for new product development and modification.

2. Stable processing quality, high accuracy, and high repeatability, these qualities are suitable for the processing requirements of the aircraft.

3. The production efficiency is higher in the case of multi-variety and small-batch production, which can reduce the time of production preparation, machine tool adjustment and process inspection, and also reduce the cutting time due to the use of the best cutting amount.

4. It can process complex shapes that are difficult to process with conventional methods, even some parts that cannot be observed with the naked eyes.

CNC machining offers distinct advantages over rapid prototyping, but its disadvantages should be seriously considered as well.

1. For single-piece or very small batch production, CNC machining may be more expensive than other technologies (such as 3D printing).

2. Compared with 3D printing, CNC machining wastes more materials.

3. A professional team of engineers is required to perform CNC machining, such as CNC operators and programmers, and engineers who understand the whole working principle and process.

In general, if you need to produce high-quality parts or multiple units in a short time, the benefits of CNC machining for rapid prototypes and small batch production outweigh the disadvantages. Especially CNC machining can manufacture the required products with higher precision and quality (and customized surface treatment) in almost any type of material.What follows is that your products can be pushed to the most potentially valuable market faster.

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