3D printing and CNC machining are the more common production processes in the field of precision machining today. There are similarities and differences between the two, for example, CNC machining is suitable for mass production. It can create many products in a much shorter period of time, 3D printing takes hours to create a product.
What advantages does CNC machining have over 3D printing? The main ones are the following.
surface treatment advantages
CNC machines offer a better surface finish than 3D printing because the material is not deformed during processing. Rigid materials and cutting action keep the product together and there is less chance of error or distortion. 3D printing has a poorer surface finish. The material bends, twists or distorts because the material is layered heated plastic.
prototype integrity is improved
CNC machines do not heat the material and modify it. The material stays stronger and has better structural integrity than 3D printers, which must heat the material to build the intended product. 3D printers may also need to add foreign objects to the mixture to make prototypes, whereas CNC machines do not.
prototyping becomes easier
CNC machines are better suited for prototypes that can withstand structural testing because they carve designs out of materials. They can also build prototypes using the exact materials that will be used to make the final product.
Structural tests and changes will be more accurate because they use the same materials. This can speed up the production process because the changes will be to the design and not to the material. 3D printers do not make prototypes with structural strength, so they cannot be physically tested.
price and volume do not represent price
The cost of 3D printing depends on the volume of material required. The volume of the final product does not determine the price of the CNC machine. 3D printing is not cost effective for larger orders, which is exactly what is happening with the CNC machine boom.
Rising tolerance levels
CNC machines are more accurate, so parts have better tolerances than 3D printers. Because of the tolerance levels, prototypes with axes or connections to other parts will have higher quality and are more likely to fit other parts.
quality benefits CNC
The larger layers of a 3D printer are faster, but not as high quality as the smaller layers. If you need a prototype, you can choose to get it quickly but with slightly less quality, or wait longer to get the best quality prototype the printer can provide. CNC machines allow you to choose the resolution of the item. They can provide different qualities in a short time, making them ideal for quick builds and instant test results.
If you have a choice of which manufacturing method to use for your product, CNC machining is usually cheaper than 3D printing.