If you’ve been browsing the internet lately, there’s no doubt that you’ve encountered stories about 3D printing. And it’s hard to miss them, given the fascinating, and sometimes unusual, products this new technology offers.
For instance, 3D printers have produced everything from pizzas, to evening gowns, to drones, and even other 3D printer units. A college student from New Jersey even used his school’s 3D printer to manufacture his own set of braces.
The problem with 3D printing, however, is that it remains uneconomical for a vast majority of clients needing to produce large quantities of the same product or equipment part. Moreover, there’s also a size limit on what you can print using this technology. It can create small, intricate items, but manufacturing larger items may be difficult for a 3D printer by virtue of its design.
In this regard, a more mature technology such as CNC machining often gets the upper hand.
CNC Machining 101
CNC is short for computer numerical control. In a nutshell, designs are inputted into computers and software which then guide the operation of other machines such as milling machines and lathes. This method allows for the precision production of hundreds if not thousands of similar parts at a much faster rate, making a local CNC machining company an ideal partner.
Benefits of CNC Machining
CNC machining offers clients plenty of advantages, and perhaps the most important one is precision. For example, CNC machining is often utilized to create parts for medical equipment, which are used to diagnose or treat diseases. As such, each and every part needs to manufactured accurately so the equipment can perform its functions properly.
Another key benefit is the fact that CNC machining can create unique shapes that will be hard (if not impossible) to manufacture by hand, or impractical and too expensive to 3D print. What’s more, CNC equipment can be operated pretty much 24/7, allowing companies to deliver the needed products on time. Currently, it’s not established if the same performance can be expected of 3D printers.
What’s new and shiny may be interesting, but what’s tried and true is often more practical. Those who need CNC machining service are advised to work only with trusted companies that have experienced personnel and best-in-class equipment to get the best results possible.
A college student has 3D-printed his own braces for less than $60, sciencealert.com
10 Crazy Things 3D Printers Can Make Today, readwrite.com