When it comes to designing and creating a new part, the manufacturing companies have two options. They can either choose 3D printing or get CNC machinery for sale. Although both processes are widely used in various industries, each has evolved to meet different demands in recent years. So, it is important that you know which one of these manufacturing methods is suitable for your needs.
Here’s a quick comparison of both technologies to help you pick one. Let’s begin.
CNC Machinery for Sale Is Subtractive, Not Additive
The main difference between the two technologies is that they have different processes. The CNC machines take the material in a mass and subtract from it to create a unique shape. While the 3D printers build up from nothing to form a part.
The CNC routers use the Computer-Aided Design Software (CAD) to make a blueprint for a particular part of a product and then create it using Computer-Aided Manufacturing Software (CAM). This manufacturing process is subtractive, where the finished product is a part that comprises less material than it had before the refined state.
On the contrary, 3D printing works in the opposite direction. Though it uses the same CAD and CAM software, it creates them with an additive process. Instead of cutting away the material, it manufactures the parts by adding the material in layers until the finished product is made.
Mass Production Vs. Prototyping
While the CNC industrial machine tools and 3D printers appear to do similar things, they have different commercial purposes in the market. The CNC routers are more appropriate for large-scale production with excellent efficiency.
3D printers, on the other hand, are more suitable for creative, medical, and domestic purposes with quick prototyping. Without the scalability of producing things in bulk, the printers are more useful for making individually-produced items, which is ideal in the customized-consumer industry. Their inability to produce mass production makes it more appropriate for domestic projects like unique gifts, phone cases, and many more.
Dimensional Accuracy – Defined by Machine Shops in Georgia
The CNC machines have tight tolerance and exceptional repeatability that allows them to manufacture very large and small products accurately. Because of the cutting tool shape, the internal corners of parts will always have a radius; however, the external surfaces can contain sharp edges and be very thin.
Different 3D printers offer various dimensional accuracies. If you need tight clearances, the dimensions can be oversized, 3D printed and then machined in post-processing. Since the parts are produced layer by layer, the lines might be visible, especially with curved surfaces.
The minimum wall thickness of parts made with these printers is restricted due to the end effector’s size. At the same time, the maximum part of 3D printer routers is also tiny, as it requires environmental control.
The Ability to Work on Materials
The CNC machines can work with various materials, using wood, metal alloys, modeling foam, acrylics, wax, and thermoplastics.
In contrast, 3D printers only work with limited materials, primarily metal, polymers, and plastic. They cannot work with metals that have high melting points. In addition to the capability of working with many materials, the CNC machines also quickly adapt to the use of new materials.
CNC machinery for sale and 3D printing fulfill the different demands of manufacturing. If you are looking to produce at a large scale, CNC machines from sellers like Flint Machine will be cheaper and faster in producing high-quality parts.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is better, CNC or 3D printing?
Mostly that depends on the manufacturer’s requirements. If you want to produce product parts in bulk, CNC machines are more preferable. Similarly, if you wish the machine parts to have an extra smooth finish, 3D printers will not be able to deliver that with accuracy.
Is 3D printing cheaper than manufacturing?
3D printing is one of the cheapest methods for manufacturing. It allows quick prototypes and minimizes waste production. However, for the production at a large-scale level, it isn’t the best choice.
Is CNC additive or subtractive?
The CNC machines are subtractive, as they will cut through the material to convert it into the desired shape. More so, the finish material will be less than what you started with.