The 3DCompare on-demand manufacturing platform provides an extensive list of production services alongside 3D printing – including CNC machining.
3DCompare understands that customer requirements for the on demand manufacturing of parts are sometimes not met by the parameters that 3D printing operates under. Therefore, we have taken the initiative to provide our customers with a CNC machining service as an alternative. The CNC machining service offered by 3DCompare is geared towards high volume production, accepting up to 7000 parts at once for on demand manufacturing. Starting at prices of $200, you can expect consistent and precise parts in large batches delivered to you within 1-3 weeks thanks to the reliable production capabilities offered by 3DCompare’s CNC machining service. Using our quote request form, you can get in contact with our team at 3DCompare and provide us with your 3D file, where we’ll then be able to compare prices from different manufacturers capable of producing your parts using CNC machining. 3DCompare will then get back in touch with you to provide a tailored quote, connecting you with a manufacturer offering the best prices and production capabilities to manufacture your parts. So if you want to find the best way to manufacture your parts using CNC machining, use the 3DCompare on demand manufacturing platform and we’ll guarantee to find you a manufacturer suited to your exact needs at a great price.
Whereas 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process, CNC machining operates via a subtractive manufacturing method. It offers advantages in repeatability, accuracy and a wide range of materials and surface finishes. Parts produced with CNC machining provide excellent mechanical properties, with tight tolerances generated alongside dimensional accuracies. At 3DCompare, you have the option to choose between both according to the demands of your application – you can rest assured our transparent on demand manufacturing platform will help you decide the right process for you.
Is CNC machining the best solution for you? A quick guide to how CNC machines works, its advantages and applications
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining operates by using cutting tools or drills to remove material from a workpiece (a solid block of the material) in order to manufacture parts. Its nature of taking away material, rather than creating or adding upon a design, makes it a subtractive manufacturing technology – the opposite of additive manufacturing, otherwise known as 3D printing.
CNC machining produces parts directly from a CAD (Computer Aided Design) file using digital instructions, known as G-code, provided by a piece of CAM (Computer Aided Machining or Manufacturing) software. CAM does not run a CNC machine, but rather generates the code for it to follow; a digital toolpath. This makes the process of manufacturing with a CNC machine automated, enabling competitive pricing for the medium-volume production of parts, as well as for one-time custom parts.
Essentially all engineering materials can be processed with CNC machining, however the most common types comprise of metals and plastics – from aluminum and steel alloys to ABS and Nylon, all available on the 3DCompare platform.
Step-by-step overview of CNC machining process:
- CAD model for part is designed by engineer.
- CAD model is then inputted into CAM software, which converts the CAD file into G-code for the CNC machine. CNC machine is set up to carry out manufacturing process with block of material.
- CNC machine carries out automated subtractive manufacturing process, removing material from the workpiece to create part.
It is worth mentioning that different CNC machining processes operate in varying ways, however the above step-by-step process provides an applicable outline covering all of them. Below, you’ll find the different methods explained in more detail.
Types of CNC machine setups
CNC milling: In this process, material is removed from a workpiece that is secured in a vice or on a machine bed. Subtractive manufacturing of the part occurs through the rotation of the cutting tool or drill at high speeds. The tool is able to move and form the part by removing material from different parts of the block. Movement is established via a spindle that holds the tool – the spindle can move via three linear axis.
CNC lathes: Also known as CNC turning, in this instance it is the workpiece that is attached to the spindle, rather than the drill. The block of material is then rotated at high speeds, where a cutting tool then creates the part by tracing its profile, removing the material as it goes along until the geometry of the part is established.
Most CNC machines move a cutting tool via 3 axis of movement: X, Y and Z. More advanced systems utilize a 5-axis system, allowing for different angles and greater flexibility. Different cutting tools are available to enable different geometries in the manufactured part, like the drill, flat head, bull head, face cutter, threading tip and more.
Advantages and Disadvantages of using CNC Machining
- Cost effective for low-to-medium production runs of metal parts.
- Materials used with CNC machining have excellent and full-isotropic physical properties.
- Parts manufactured with CNC machining are identical to the properties of the bulk material used to produce the product.
- With CNC machining, users can produce parts with excellent accuracy and repeatability that have tight tolerances.
- CNC machines have a large build area for producing huge parts
- Subtractive manufacturing means that the ability to produce complex geometries is limited, unlike 3D printing. This is due to a number of reasons, some of them being the geometry of the cutting tool and its restricted access.
- CNC machining is less suited for prototyping due to the start-up costs.
- CNC machines are complicated and therefore require expert knowledge and technicians as well as resulting in longer lead times.
Applications of CNC machining
Where high-performance parts are required in the automotive industry, CNC machining provides a suitable source for manufacturing the parts, due to the production of admirable physical properties.
CNC machining can produce lightweight parts with excellent physical properties and tight tolerances – making it applicable for manufacturing in aerospace, like aircraft parts.
For parts to be used in space, certain finished need to be applied to make them sustainable in the harsh, low-gravity environments. CNC machined parts can be equipped with a range of surface treatments, as well as producing parts with excellent accuracy and material properties to withstand the conditions of space.
What is CNC Machining?
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