5 Reasons to use CNC Machining for Rapid Prototyping

5 Reasons to use CNC Machining for Rapid Prototyping

CNC milling

Rapid prototyping is a manufacturing process that employs specialized production techniques to create high-fidelity physical prototypes of a 3D design concept. Prototypes are generally used for design evaluation, functionality testing, quality control, concept iteration and design improvement. They offer valuable insights into a product concept by delivering quick and economical models that can be critically evaluated before proceeding on mass production. Rapid prototyping is also very fast as the process can be run without the need for hard tooling.

CNC Machining is one of the most effective means for rapid prototyping. The process allows you to take advantage of the computer numerical control to deliver high-quality prototypes in the quickest turnaround period. Here are some more reasons why CNC machining should one your preferred technique for making rapid prototypes of your design.

1.  Speed

CNC Machines have greatly improved since their inception in the 1970s. The addition of computerized controls to these numerical control machines has greatly accelerated the capacity of CNC machines to deliver higher quality at improved speeds.

As rapid prototyping demands genuine models with fast turnaround times, CNC machining is one of the most preferred methods in the industry for obvious reasons. From setup times to actual execution, CNC machines will translate 3-dimensional CAD/CAM models into G-code software and then commence milling to produce the final part in a number of hours.

The automation of the CNC milling technique also means there is limited human interaction and almost zero downtime during the production process.

2.  Tooling – CNC Machines will run without tooling and dies

There is a significant cost associated with the production of dies and molds. For manufacturing techniques like pressure die casting and injection molding, there is usually a need for a rigid die that is made from steel alloys. These dies can take weeks to manufacture based on the complexity of the design and the desired shape. Also, errors in the details in these dies will automatically reflect in the copies produced from them.

CNC machining on the other hand requires no fixed tooling. The process on its own only requires a CAD/CAM design, a computer software and some metal cutting inserts to execute a production. Because of this, CNC machining is considerably faster, cost-efficient and possibly more accurate for rapid prototyping.

3.  Accuracy and Precision

The level of accuracy and precision of CNC machines is unmatched by any other manufacturing process in the industry. In modern production hubs, the computerized numerical control is the most effective way of achieving the highest level of accuracy with tolerances in the neighborhood of 0.05mm give or take.

The accuracy of CNC machines is also highly scalable and repeatable, which guarantees that all the prototypes to be produced with a look and work exactly alike. The tolerances attainable when using CNC machines is so accurate that it will fit for virtually all the commercial applications it may be employed for.

4.  Control and Modifications

By simply altering a few lines in the software program, an entire manufacturing process can be modified to match new specifications in a number of seconds. The G-code program allows for very interacting and controlled prototyping, where multiple design iterations may be run by simply refining and tweaking certain specifications without additional cost. This is a great advantage over conventional manufacturing and prototyping techniques where modifications may require new dies or expensive modifications to existing ones

5.  Material Variety

CNC machines are for the most part unselective machines. This means that they will cut and mill any type of material being used for production as long as the material is strong enough not to deform under pressure.

CNC machining is suitable for rapid prototyping as it offers many developers and engineers to run multiple prototypes of their parts from a wide array of materials. This way, the same design and prototypes can be made from several materials to evaluate the option with the best-fit mechanical, functional and physical property for its end use. With only small modifications to the feed parameters and running speed, the same design can be run across several materials to get the perfect prototype and ideal product.

Premium Part CNC Machining Services in China

At Premium Part, we offer high-quality CNC machining services that are optimized for the production of many precision parts. Our expertise range across a number of services and we can generate exceptional quality products with a quick turnaround. We can work with an extensive range of materials and produce both mass manufacture volumes and low-volume manufacturing. From CNC machining to 3D printing and rapid injection molding, our engineers are highly experienced to deliver best-in-class manufacturing quality and standards.

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