3D Printing vs. CNC Machining-All You Need to Know

Apr 18, 2019

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3D is getting popular day by day for its benefits over traditional printing solutions. 3D printing has also its drawbacks well as like limitation in mass production, low speed, etc. On the contrary, CNC (Computer Numerical Control) is a popular printing solution perfect for low-mid production.

Today we will compare 3D printing and CNC machining and will unveil the major differences between these two.

3D printing is an additive printing solution while CNC is subtractive:

This is a major difference between 3D printing and CNC machining. 3D printing is an additive that means prototypes are being created layer by layer. In 3D manufacturing plastic/metal powders, resins, plastic flames are used as raw materials. These materials are joined or solidified under the supervision of the computer. Since 3D printing is additive manufacturing it created less waste.

On the contrary CNC machining is subtractive manufacturing where it takes a large material called blank and cut/resize it to get the expected product. Since it takes complete material to cut/resize it generates more waste compared to 3D printing.

Nowadays these two manufacturing techniques are combined together and make hybrid printing solutions.

Types of material used in 3D printing and CNC Machining:

3D Printing and CNC Marching support a wide range of raw materials including plastic, metal, resin and etc. But 3D printing works smoothly with plastics. 3D printing technology is developing day by day and metal printing is also coming into 3D printing.

CNC Machining work smooth with aluminum. Aluminum is recyclable and can produce high-quality prototypes. Plastics such as Polycarbonate, ABS, Polypropylene, Nylon, etc are also using in CNC Machine.

3D printing is easier compared to CNC:

3D printing requires fewer resources and everything can be done from a computer. Whereas CNC machining requires more resources compared to 3D printing. 3D printing produces less waste compared to CNC Machining.

3D printing is cost effective compared to CNC

3D printing cost less compared to CNC machining. It requires less physical labors. 3D printing is also suitable when you need to prototype quickly. On the other hand, CNC machining is good for large production.

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