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How To Choose The Way Of Machining, 3D Printing Or CNC Machining?
Jan 17, 2018

How to choose the way of machining, 3D printing or CNC machining?

In recent years, more and more 3D printing advent, so compared with the traditional processing giant: CNC machining, what is the difference between CNC machining and 3D printing?

3D printing principle is through the use of special materials, layer by layer of "accumulation", commonly known as additive manufacturing.

In simple terms CNC machining principle is the entire piece of material, cut, processed into the specified shape of the product, also known as cut material manufacturing.

Different materials

Prototype material CNC can be machined.

1, plastic prototype are: ABS, acrylic, PP, PC, POM, nylon, Bakelite, etc.

2, Hardware prototype materials are: aluminum, aluminum-magnesium alloy, aluminum-zinc alloy, copper, steel, iron and so on;

The current 3D printing (SLA) machining materials, the most common photosensitive resin.

Material utilization is different

3D printing, due to its unique additive manufacturing, results in extremely high material utilization.

CNC machining, due to the need to cut the entire material, and then get the final product, so the utilization of CNC machining materials is not high.

Machining contrast


3D printing: comes with driver software to automatically calculate the print time and supplies.

CNC Machining: Requires professional programmer and crew.

Machining number:

3D printing: Multiple parts can be printed at a time, as long as the tray is sufficient, without manual labor.

CNC: Only one part can be machined at a time.

3D printed painted phone case

Machining time:

3D printing: Due to 3D printing once forming, so fast printing time.

CNC machining: programming, processing longer than 3D printing.

Process complexity (surface and heterostructure)

3D printing: machinable complex surface and the structure of the opposite sex parts, a molding

CNC machining: parts of complex surfaces and heterosexual structures, need to step-by-step programming, disassembly processing.

Different accuracy and success rate

3D printing: WYSIWYG, high-precision printing, high success rate.

CNC machining: there are man-made mistakes or poor processing led to processing failure.

3D printed surface complex body of different products

3D printing: Molded products are not strong, not wear and other shortcomings.

CNC machining: molding products have high strength, wear-resistant advantages.

Why CNC is still the preferred business?

In the above comparison, 3D printing seems to have more advantages than CNC machining, but in reality, why CNC machining is still the preferred technology of the enterprise? The reason is as follows:

1. Economic advantages. When machining large and heavy parts, CNC machining costs much more than 3D printing.

2. Processing standards. After a long period of development, CNC machining has long formed a complete set of standards in the industry, including spindles, tools and control systems. But 3D printing does not currently have such a molding standard.

3. Degree of understanding. Many companies for 3D printing, completely unfamiliar stage, because they are not familiar with, do not trust this process, resulting in the face often faced with choice, will choose their own familiar with the CNC machining.


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