3D Printing Vs CNC Machining – What to Choose?

3D printing has been growing an unprecedented growth. In fact, it has eve been creating waves and has been able to replace the existing traditional manufacturing methods.

3D Printing vs CNC: Explained

However, it is still far from the CNC machining and may need to go through the considerable advancement. How do 3D Printing and CNC machining differ from one another? Let us check out the two manufacturing options one by one.

How do CNC Machining and 3D Printing differ from one another? Here are a few features that would differentiate them.

1] Mode of manufacturing

This should be the key difference between CNC machining and 3D Printing. The 3D Printing works on the basis of the additive manufacturing process, while the CNC machining is all about the subtractive manufacturing process.

CNC machining will start from a block of the raw material and remove the parts of the material to manufacture the final product. 3D Printing would involve adding the raw material until you arrive at your final product.

2] The Materials

Both the manufacturing processes work with almost similar products as raw materials. The ideal materials include metals and plastics. However, plastic is more widely used in 3D printing, but the things are set to change soon.

CNC uses predominantly almost all types of materials. A few prominent options include BS, Nylon (PA66), Polycarbonate (PC), Acrylic (PMMA), Polypropylene (PP), POM and PEEK. When it comes to prototyping, CCNC machining utilizes Aluminium as one of the widely used options.

3] Ease of Use

3D Printing is a little simpler and easy to use than its CNC counterpart. You just need to create a file, and once the process begins, you need not to go through the supervisory options of any nature. The printer is left to work as per the file instructions, and you do not need to supervise in any manner whatsoever.

CNC Machining, on the other hand, tends to be a labor intensive process. You would need to collaborate each of the processes. You need to supervise the tools when they need to be changed, and It will also come with a few post-processing operations as well.

4] Environment-friendly features

3D Printing does not create much wastage. In fact, theoretically speaking, 3D Printing does not come with any sort of wastage as it is designed as an additive technology. Whatever is left from the previous product is used in the next round.

Environmentally friendly

CNC machining is a subtractive process, and thus it comes with a lot of wastage. The wastage needs to be cleaned off and disposed off in an environment-friendly manner. That would ideally make 3D Printing more ethical than CNC machining.

In Conclusion

Which one would you choose among these two? Ideally speaking, there is no one single type of process that would suit you all. We would consider both CNC machining and 3D Printing as being good at what they do. However, what you would choose is dependent on a variety of factors.

In any case, we would definitely treat 3D Printing technology to be the future of manufacturing, and when that happens, it will be the most environment-friendly option ever.

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About the author

Michael Austin

Michael Austin is a Internet Entrepreneur, Blogger, Day Dreamer, Business Guy, Fitness Freak and Digital Marketing Specialist. He also helps companies to grow their online businesses.

1 Comment

  • This had a lot of good information on the different machining processes. I’ve wondered about when cnc machine would be better to use than laser methods. I can see how it’s more efficient for cutting stone, ceramics, and thicker metals.