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Advantages and Disadvantages of CNC Machining Prototype


Computer Numerical Control is also called CNC machining. It is a manufacturing process that machining tools like drills and lathes are controlled by computer inputs. CNC machining process is widely used in a wide range of industries to produce prototypes and end products. CNC machining process begins with a 3D design which is created by CAD software. A computer translates the instructions to the cutting tools. When these instructions are sent to the machines, machines know how, when and where to do the machining autonomously. In traditional machining, machinist cut the work piece by labor operated cutting tools. Compared to traditional machining, CNC machining helps in saving time and cost significantly.


Machining is a subtractive manufacturing process that equipment removes exiting material instead of introducing new material. Excess material in CNC machining process will be discarded or recycled, and the leave behind the finished parts. Complex CNC machines with a greater number of axes are able to manufacture more complex parts with more complicated geometries. As CNC machining is accurate, versatile, consistent and has a wide range of materials selections, it is very attractive in wide range of industries.

CNC Machining Prototype


CNC machining is an ideal process to produce prototype parts. Prototypes can be used to guide the R&D process to offer concept proof. When prototypes are made with high aesthetic standard, they will act as the new products to show to customer. These prototypes do not request very high end equipment to make. They can be made by hand or simple 3D printers. Some prototypes are not used only for visual representation. Manufactures sometimes need prototypes with look and function like the end parts. 3D printing is a good option to make looks like prototypes and CNC machining is suitable to make functional prototypes which need strength, mechanical stability can not be achievable by 3D printers. CNC machining is an ideal choice to make prototypes. But it depends on the purpose, material of the prototypes. Reasons to use CNC machining to make prototypes including speed, quality, material options.


As CNC machining is a digital process, it builds parts from computer files. Manufacturers know the prototypes will match the 3D design. The same digital design will be used later to build the end parts. CNC machining has high repeatability. 3D design offer fast and precise alterations. When the machined prototypes have flaw because of the design, manufacturer can easily return to the CAD file to make modifications.


CNC Machining Prototype as a prototyping process, it has some disadvantages. Compared to 3D printing, CNC machining prototyping is more expensive. CNC machining centers need more power and supervision than 3D printers. CNC machining materials are more expensive than normal 3D printing materials such as PLA. Cost is always the main point that manufacturers will choose other prototyping processes, even they want to use machining parts for the end products. CNC machining has geometrical restriction. Even 4-axis and 5-axis machining center provide more geometrical flexibility, they have limitation when producing parts with complex internal geometries. Additive manufacturing process is suitable as it has less limitation by the cutting tools. CNC machining is a subtractive process so it needs more material than what is actually used. It will have some material wastes during machining process. Additive prototyping processes will not produce material waste unless the print fails and repeats. Using CNC machining to produce prototypes can incur expensive material cost due to the increasing material usage and wastage.


CNC machining is used for precision CNC machining parts, prototyping, metal parts, plastic parts, low to mid volume machining production. When it comes to China CNC machining Prototype or custom CNC machining, TEAM Rapid will offer flexible solutions to deliver high quality parts to customers fast. Contact us at to discover more about CNC machining prototyping for your projects.

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