CNC machining is revolutionizing computer-aided manufacturing at a trailblazing speed. These computer numerical control machines make things easy, cost-effective, and efficient, especially for product development engineers and designers.
It’s impossible to introduce a product in the market without its proper and thorough performance analysis.
CNC machining enables the designers to introduce prototype products at a fast speed. This subtractive manufacturing process is at the core of the product development cycle.
So, rapid prototyping is the easiest method to guarantee the quality of the new products. But the traditional manufacturing machines are unable to do this job. They take more time, increase the budget and leave behind the mistakes in the prototype products.
The consumer-centric market needs something more precise and error-free to solve this problem. Every machinist knows that CNC machines are computer numerical control. On top of that, high-precision machine tool manufacturing is quite possible and easy with a CNC machine.
Since 2015 the rapid prototype market has been increasing at a 27% rate. According to well-established estimates, it’ll hit an impressive target of $2.6 billion by 2025.
The expansion in the rapid prototype market indicates the need for something more precise, accurate, and robust. And CNC machining fits well to do this job.
Indeed, the CNC machine will also hit $23 billion by 2026. Rapid prototyping and CNC machining markets are increasing in size daily.
So, there must be some significant benefits of using CNC machining for rapid prototyping. In this article, you’ll learn the top 8 benefits of a CNC machine for rapid prototyping.
What is Rapid Prototyping?
Rapid prototyping creates quick prototype models of a product using computer-aided design (CAD). As the name suggests, this is a fast process of bringing any new product to the market. Rapid prototyping processes require skilled CNC machinists. CNC machine training can help the machinists to give high-fidelity prototype products.
Most product manufacturing companies use rapid prototyping throughout the product development process. If the prototype product matches the final product’s design, then we usually call it a high-fidelity prototype.
In case of a marked difference between the final product and the prototype product, we usually call it a low-fidelity product. Rapid prototyping is an innovative way to create a new product and more.
Manufacturing industries use CNC machines for rapid prototyping. It helps them increase the final products’ efficiency, productivity, and quality.
This approach helps them create 3-D prototypes of any product by maintaining the shape, usability, and size. Thus, ensuring high-end product development.
What is CNC Prototyping?
CNC rapid prototyping uses the 3D solid metal and CAD designs to manufacture the prototype products. It fabricates the metals through milling, precise cutting, and computer-aided designs.
Industries find it risky to mass-produce the products from the initial design phase.
So, CNC prototyping helps them to assess the quality of the prototype products. They analyze the color, shadow, resistance to motion, quality, temperature to touch, feel, light, and much more.
Thus, before mass production, most companies can save big bucks. CNC prototyping helps them remove the product’s geometry, quality, and color flaws. Modern CNC machines are efficient and precise. They manufacture precision products without any error or flaw.
In this way, CNC machines are well-equipped to help the rapid prototyping market. Their accurate, precision and high-quality manufacturing can boost the rapid prototyping market.
Top 8 Advantages of Using CNC machining for Rapid Prototyping
CNC machining is a fast, efficient, and agile method for manufacturing prototype products.
CNC prototyping helps the industries to avoid mistakes by indicating the flaws in the prototype products.
On top of all, it takes less time and gives cost-effective services to the rapid prototyping industry.
Companies can find the most durable product development solution using CNC rapid prototyping.
So, let’s learn how CNC machining benefits the rapid prototyping industry in 8 different ways.
1. The Fast Production Speed of CNC Machining
For any manufacturing process, production speed is of fundamental importance. A high production speed will decrease the budget, whereas a low production speed will increase it.
CNC machining is a computer numerical control machine that works from the input commands.
It is precise, accurate, and highly efficient in manufacturing machine tools.
CNC machining is a subtractive process. A CNC machine works on a piece of metal and manufactures the products according to the input specifications.
From the design phase to the actual product, CNC machining is a perfect manufacturing process for rapid prototyping.
Thus, you can get a fast production speed using the CNC machining process for your new product development.
2. CNC Rapid Prototyping is Accurate
CNC rapid prototyping technology is best for manufacturing machine tools and prototype products. The conventional manufacturing process is cumbersome, with a high probability of human error.
It can impact the prototype products, delay the final product development process, and increase the cost. However, CNC machining is a computer numerical control machine using 3D CAD files to process any given material.
CNC machines have high efficiency, zero to no error and full precision. In addition, CNC machining only requires the product designer to create a 3D CAD model of the product design.
These CNC machines have a tolerance of ±4 μm which is impressive and more than enough. Any machine shop with CNC machining can produce high-end results. CNC rapid prototyping makes manufacturing the prototype products seamless and frictionless.
3. CNC Rapid Prototyping Maintains the Quality
CNC machines are computer-aided machines and follow a simple and sophisticated manufacturing process.
A CNC machine has many types, such as a CNC Milling machine, CNC lathe machine, and many more. Their parts are complex and robust such as bed, tailstock, footswitch or pedal, tool turret, control panel and many others.
Each CNC machine plays an important role in the manufacturing of prototype products. When any design engineer wants to examine the prototype products, cost, time, and total investment are the main concerns.
Additionally, every other prototype may need to fulfill specific engineering specifications. So, CNC machining eases these problems. It manufactures the most accurate, precise and robust prototype products.
So, completely functional, finished and robust final components even help to reduce the post-processing labor. It is possible because of outstanding cutting, precision machines, and automation.
4. CNC Machining is Affordable
CNC prototyping is affordable and highly accessible for most industries. You don’t need to look for different fixtures, mold tools, and complex equipment.
CNC machining has your back, and you can easily perform the cutting, milling, and processing without much hassle.
The CNC machine helps the rapid prototyping market and product designers to manufacture the products.
Keeping the cost of manufacturing under control helps companies improve the quality.
5. CNC Rapid Prototyping is Compatible with Different Materials
Different industries such as aviation, construction, medical industries, and the military need different prototype products. When the nature of prototype products changes, so does the material from which it is made.
Additive manufacturing technology, commonly called 3D printing, are the same as CNC machining. Both share the same quality of relying on 3D CAD files and computer automation to manufacture the prototype products.
But there is one marked difference that sets them apart. CNC machining is highly compatible with widely different materials compared to 3D printing.
Product developers understand the qualities of different materials and their impact on the prototype product’s appearance, performance, and cost.
Common metals and plastics machined using CNC machines are steel, aluminum, zinc, POM, brass, bronze, copper, LDPE, PP and much more.
6. CNC Rapid Prototyping Machines are Flexible
Every product developer wants optimum results with resonating efficiency. So, CNC machining is at your service for every manufacturing need. CNC has complex machinery to produce metal prototypes and production components.
CNC prototyping is flexible for every type of production, irrespective of the number of prototype products. CNC manufacturing is effective for one part as it is effective for 100 different parts. Because of the unpredictable fluctuations of markets, CNC machines can help maintain digital manufacturing.
It can help the product developers to analyze the products in the market before ordering for mass production.
7. CNC Machining is Extremely Versatile
CNC machines are computer-aided machines and work under the influence of powerful software. The CNC machining process is simple, and with the help of one command, CNC machinists can manufacture the prototype products.
The CNC rapid prototyping can manufacture the products within hours.
Indeed, the processing software impacts which parts the CNC machine can machinate. As you know, CNC machines are not conventional milling machines.
So, you don’t need to change the fixtures and gears each time you want to manufacture a prototype product. When using CNC machining, you don’t need to change the machine parts frequently.
8. CNC Prototyping Gives You the Choice of Materials
Product developers always try to save money on the next big projects and compensate for excessive expenditures. As for the discussion about the prototype, they are just to check the materialization of the designs.
Until and unless final confirmation, there can be many changes and upgrades in the prototypes.
So, product designers can face massive costs and losses without having a choice of material used. Here, CNC rapid prototyping comes to save them.
CNC machining gives them a wide range of options to use different plastics and metals such as zinc, aluminum, bronze, POM, LDPE, copper, PP and many more.
At the start, a product designer may want to use cheap materials and once the prototype products are finalized, then move on to use the expansive metals and materials. So, CNC machining provides this opportunity.
The Bottom line
CNC machining is ideal for manufacturing the most robust and precise prototype products. Rapid prototyping is the need of the hour, and without fast production, no company can come up with creative and appealing ideas.
Consumer demands are evolving, and without something new, something which can stun them, no company can thrive. So, CNC prototyping helps the product developers to manufacture the prototype products throughout the process.
A CNC machine is a computer-aided machine with the top 8 benefits of using it for rapid prototyping.
CNC prototyping machines reduce time, cost and error and increase the material choice, production quality and design precision. Thus, acts as an ideal CNC machine for rapid prototyping.