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.