Why CNC Machining Still Reigns Over 3-D Printing

M&M Automatic Turning Machine

In the last couple years, 3-D printing has been getting a lot of publicity in the machining and manufacturing industry for its ability to print an image into a physical part, such as connectors, screws and nozzles. While, this technique provides a new and unique perspective on manufacturing, there are a number of areas in which 3-D printing falls short in comparison to traditional cnc machining practices. Here we’re detailing our three main areas in which cnc machining still reigns over 3-D printing today when it comes to manufacturing parts and components.

1. Unmatched Speed

CNC machining works on the premise of subtracting or removing to create the desired part. By using this approach, cnc machinists are able to manufacture parts very quickly. While on the other hand, 3-D printing works on the premise of building or adding to something in order to create a product, making it a much more time-intensive process.

2. Unmatched Flexibility

With 3-D printing, you can currently only work with materials such as ABS plastic, PLA plastic, and some metals. While it may be possible to print with a desired metal, cnc machining can achieve a stronger, more durable and cleaner product when finished that most standard 3-D printers cannot.

3. Unmatched Quality

CNC machining offers precise machining capabilities that allow you to determine what type of quality of part you need, depending on the purposes it will serve. It even allows you to vary that quality within different areas of the part, giving you the precise measurements, look and feel for your application. On the other hand, 3-D printing works on the premise of building layers and utilizing layers to build a product (smaller layers are stronger than larger layers). Because it cannot vary the height of those layers without completely compromising the product, you are not able to change the quality of different areas within a part, further eliminating customizability.

The Takeaway:

3-D printing may be the newest trend in prototyping and part manufacturing, but nothing beats the quality, precision, speed and flexibility of cnc machining and manufacturing. Whether you’re looking for a complex part that’s never been made before or a stock piece for your machining equipment, cnc machining can provide the best part to get the job done.

CNC Turned Products vs. Screw Machine Products

CNC Turning Verses Screw Machine

When the screw machine product was created 100 years ago, it’s original purpose was to make screws for a variety of different products. However, while the name has remained the same, the technology behind a screw machine product has evolved throughout the years to meet the needs of modern turned components. CNC (or computer numerical control) turned products is the automation of machine tools that operate via computer-programmed commands, as opposed to mechanically automated machines such as a screw machine. So, what are the benefits of each?

Screw Machine Products

A screw machine product is a class of automatic lathes for small to medium sized parts. The name “screw machine” is considered to be a tad misleading, as they don’t actually create screws anymore or screw anything into place. Instead, they spin on a rotating lathe, which essentially shaves metal down to a desired size. A screw machine functions with a disc cam, which is a rotating piece used to transform rotary motion into linear motion or vice versa using either a single spindle or multiple. Because a screw machine operates with close spindle collets, deflected debris is reduced to minimal or none at all.

Screw Machine Manufacturing Capabilities

Screw machines are used for bar work majority of the time. The entire bar stock is passed through and turns with the spindle, and then is separated from the part and fed forward, making the screw machine ready for the next part. Screw machines are more time efficient than CNC turned products due to the tightness of the collets, work-piece and tooling.

CNC Turned Products

The first CNC machines were created in the 1940s and 1950s, modifying existing tools and implementing motors into the design. CNC products essentially function the same way as screw machine products, but instead of being operated by cams, they are mainly controlled by computers. Having transformed a great deal throughout the years, CNC turned products now are equipped to feature more sets of tooling than screw machine products, which allows the machine to perform multiple operations on the part in a shorter amount of time.

CNC Turning Manufacturing Capabilities

CNC turned products are known for being the most precise machine in it’s class. According to Thomasnet.com, a CNC machine can rotate a part at up to 10,000RPM at an accuracy level of 0.0002 to 0.0005 inches. Because of the machine’s extreme precision, it is used for a variety of operations that involve a complex series of movements, including laser cutting, welding, ultrasonic welding, and flame and plasma cutting.

Do you need a part created but aren’t sure what would be the best process – CNC turning or screw machines? Ask us! We’ll be happy to help you figure it out.

The Benefits of Outsourcing Your Precision CNC Machining Needs

M&M Automatic CNC Machining

For both small and large companies, keeping operating low and profit return high is essential to becoming a lean, thriving business. One of the ways that many companies have successfully cut costs is through outsourcing manufacturing parts for their business to other companies within the United States. But does it really make sense in the long run? Reduced operating costs, increased product support and manufacturing expertise are all benefits of outsourcing CNC parts manufacturing.

No Equipment or Additional Costs

The biggest advantage of outsourcing all your precision CNC machining needs is the mere “price” of owning, operating and housing the equipment. This particular machining equipment can be very expensive to own and operate, starting with the purchase and maintenance of a company-owned machine to paying a trained CNC machinist to operate it.

While some companies require a steady production of parts for their products and services, most don’t utilize the machine enough to justify the cost of owning a machine. Through outsourcing the part manufacturing, companies can eliminate the extra costs associated with owning, operating and maintaining CNC machining equipment.

Complete Part Support & Customer Service

What if the parts you’ve designed aren’t working within the system or equipment like you need them to? When you manufacture these parts in-house, it’s up to you and your team to figure out a solution. On the other hand, when you hire a CNC machining company, you are provided complete support and customer service for all of your parts and components by top engineering experts.

CNC Design & Manufacturing Expertise

Not everyone is capable of designing and fabricating the parts that make your systems and machines run correctly. It takes a team of experienced machinists and engineers to ensure that your parts fit and work as you’ve designed them. If you aren’t equipped with engineers that know the exact dimensions or core materials that you’ll be needing, a team of contract machinists that focus solely on designing and developing these products everyday is the best way to go.