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  • Why Should You Choose CNC Machining for Rapid Prototyping?


Sep 22,2021
CNC machining has been considered for prototyping for several years now. Even if there are different additive prototype manufacturing processes dominating the market, the contribution of CNC prototyping is still valuable. Additive prototyping methods may deem fit for building visual prototypes but for creating functional prototypes, the CNC machining is considered suitable. This post discusses the reasons for using CNC machining for rapid prototyping.

An Overview of CNC Rapid Prototyping
CNC rapid prototyping is a process of manufacturing functional prototypes of products using the Computer Numeric Machining (CNC) process. In this process, a digital replica of the product to be manufactured is created, and then the CNC code is updated to the CNC machine for manufacturing the prototype.

Rapid prototyping in CNC machining is a subtractive process. In this process, the CNC tool removes material from the workpiece in order to manufacture a physical prototype. Rapid prototyping in CNC machining is often selected for the prototypes that need to “look-alike-work-alike” a final product. Unlike, additive rapid prototyping, CNC prototyping can offer prototypes that are not only visually similar but also function the same as the final product.

CNC rapid prototyping is suited for applications where prototype strength, versatility, and mechanical stability matters. It offers numerous benefits that drive manufacturers to choose CNC machining for rapid prototyping.

Six Reasons for Choosing CNC Rapid Prototyping
CNC prototyping offers numerous benefits. The fundamental benefits of CNC prototyping are detailed as follows:

Digital to Physical Prototypes:
In CNC prototyping, the digital image or stimulation of the prototype is created. Once the digital stimulation shows the appropriate function of the prototype, and then only it is manufactured. This helps ensure the prototypes are built according to specifications.

Precision and Consistency:
In CNC prototyping, the CAD models with required dimensions are created. Numerous changes in the dimension can be made until the operator gets precise output on the screen. CNC machines offer prototype manufacturing in the exact precision of the CAD model. Multiple prototypes with varying designs can be manufactured repeatedly using CNC machining.

Material Compatibility:
Unlike 3D printing, CNC prototyping is a feasible choice if you are working with a diverse range of engineering materials. Since CNC prototyping is used for prototypes demanding mechanical strength, it allows the use of material like aluminum, steel, stainless steel, PPE, HDPE, etc. The range of material in CNC prototyping goes from engineering metals to engineering polymers.

Non-stop production:
CNC machines can work around the clock and require no human intervention too. If the prototype production time is time-consuming, then the operator can set the parameters and the machines will do the work with precision. Therefore, rapid prototyping in CNC machining is proven to be time-efficient.

Visual and functional accuracy of the final product:
CNC prototype manufacturing gives look-alike-work-alike prototypes. This means the visual and functional resemblance of a CNC prototype is very high and allows product engineers to envisage how the final product will look like. This makes the prototype testing effective.

Intricate Prototype Manufacturing:
Unlike additive prototyping methods, CNC machining is suited for complex product manufacturing. It offers the freedom to a designer to design intricate prototypes. Since it is a subtractive manufacturing process, material removal can help in customizing detailed features on the workpiece. Therefore, rapid prototyping in CNC machining comes with the benefit of detailing.

Although CNC machining is a highly automated process, still CNC prototyping brings desired results only if performed by experts. The coding, material consideration, CAD design, and machine availability make it a task for experts. Therefore, you should source rapid prototyping in CNC machining from industry experts like BDE, Inc. The company has a record of providing efficient and cost-effective rapid CNC prototyping services to industries like marine, military, aerospace, medical equipment, etc.