When it comes to rapid prototyping, there are several different options. These include 3-D printing, sand casting, selective laser sintering, investment casting, fabrication, and CNC rapid prototyping. While they all offer unique advantages, there are some unique advantages to CNC prototype machining.
What Is CNC Prototype Machining?
CNC prototyping involves utilization of 3D solid model CAD designs as the input, and correspondingly fabricating the part directly from solid material through a computer controlled cutting and milling process. Some have used the term, “subtractive” rapid prototyping to describe this process, to contrast it with 3D printing, which is sometimes referred to as “additive” manufacturing. The subtractive aspect is that the CNC machine removes material from a starting material block to create the final part precisely to the CAD model specifications. With modern CNC machines, this material removal process is efficient, quick, and accurate to demanding specifications. Because of this subtractive nature, CNC prototyping allows for parts made from literally any material that is machinable and commercially available in cast or extruded stock. This provides material versatility and permits prototyping in materials that are often identical or very similar to those specified in production use. CNC prototyping suppliers offer an outstanding option for low volume customized products and prototypes with precision results!
While prototyping offers many benefits, two stand out. First, by creating a model before producing hundreds or thousands of finished products, engineering teams can identify potential problems, often times minor geometry or functional issues that by human nature are inherently difficult to catch in a computer model alone. This can allow the manufacturer to make the necessary corrections before going into full production, which saves a significant amount of money. Secondly, human factors, or how humans interact with the product are most often best assessed on the prototype. Issues such as color, texture, feel, light, shadows, temperature to touch, resistance to motion, etc. can be assessed with prototypes made to high craftsmanship, quality, and proper materials.
A Broad Reach
Prototyping and CNC Prototyping in particular can benefit any industry, whether aviation, automotive, architecture, aerospace, construction, medical, or something else that requires a finished product with precision and detail. Investing in the prototype process with CNC machining reduces the risk of time-consuming and costly mistakes.
Likewise, CNC is a viable option for many lower volume production projects. Depending on the geometry and material, whether a customer needs 100 or 1,000 units, CNC machining may be an excellent option as it eliminates the need for upfront tooling and molds due to its “on-demand” manufacturing methodology. Whenever a customer needs a plastic or metal prototype or multiple pieces in low volume manufacturing, CNC machining can be an outstanding process.
Enjoy Stellar Results
If you need a rapid-prototyped part or component, our team at JouleHub can help. As a leader in the industry, we maintain state-of-the-art CNC machines and have a dedicated team of professionals eager to assist you. Visit our website or call for more information.