The Ultimate Guide to CNC Machining for Prototype Manufacturing

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CNC precision machining

CNC machining is often considered to be an option primarily for manufacturing parts on a repeatable basis, particularly when the volume and timing require round-the-clock production.  However, CNC machining is now becoming a significant option among technologies used to make prototype parts. CNC precision machining of prototypes allows accurate evaluation of designs using materials and techniques which replicate the production process likely to be used when the prototype phase is complete.

To determine if CNC machining is the best option for your product development needs, review the pros and cons of this prototyping method.

Advantages of CNC Machining for Prototype Creation

  • Precision/Tolerance – CNC machining uses the design directly from the CAD file developed by the design engineering team. This file includes critical specifications regarding the size, shape, functionality, and dimensions of the prototype. Compared to other methods of prototype manufacturing, prototype CNC machining is more precise and has better tolerance level, so when precision is required, this is usually the best approach
  • Greater Automation – Today’s CNC machining for prototype is highly automated. That means it doesn’t require as much operator interaction or oversight once the build is initiated.  This frees up an operator to focus on other tasks without compromising on the quality of the prototype, and often allows for 24-7 operations even at suppliers that do not run three shifts.  For the prototype customer, this can mean faster results at lower costs than may be expected from this type of manufacturing
  • Repeatability – A huge benefit of CNC precision machining is that it is software-controlled. When a new design is first programmed, the operator may need to make some adjustments to cutting paths and other factors to optimize the production plan.  However, once the plan is finalized, the machine can produce multiple parts with the same characteristics and of the same quality.  As a prototype design is refined, small changes in the CAD can be programmed without starting from scratch. If your prototype project requires multiple copies of the same part, CNC machinings may be the best option
  • Material Versatility – Prototype CNC machinings are also quite versatile in the materials available. Metals such as aluminum, stainless steel, brass, and copper are routinely used. CNC machinings are also ideal for different grades of plastics such as POM, PTFE, ABS, and more.  This flexibility means the prototype part closely resembles the final production-intent design not only in measurements but also in appearance

Disadvantages of CNC Machining for Prototype Creation

While the list of advantages is quite long, there are a few disadvantages to prototype CNC machinings, particularly for prototype applications. One is that programming a one-of-a-kind part requires problem-solving skills and experience not usually required when running production parts.  This means that you need to find a supplier that doesn’t just have operators who know how to keep a machine running, but also has programmers who understand the considerations required to make a successful prototype part.

Another concern some people have with CNC machinings are that this process wastes quite a bit of material. Some of this waste can be minimized with careful selection of the starting size and shape of the material to be cut, as well as optimizing cutting paths and other factors.  A conscientious operator will segregate the waste materials for recycling at scrap facilities.

Finally, compared to 3D printing and other prototyping methods, CNC precision machining is typically more expensive. However, when the quality and accuracy of the prototype are of prime importance, this cost may be worth it.

Experts in Prototype CNC Machining

If you need to have a prototype made but don’t have the required equipment or a skilled engineer on staff, contact us at GlobalTech Ventures. You can trust us with your prototype CNC machinings needs.

Important Things to Know About CNC Precision Machining

Although many industries rely on CNC precision machining, it is particularly useful for the prototype phase of industrial design, because CNC machinings have several benefits over other prototype manufacturing techniques.  The precision of CNC machined parts cannot be matched. So when the accuracy of a design is of utmost importance, this is the technique to use.  The wide range of materials – metals and plastics. That can be machined also offers a benefit because the prototype can be made from the same material. It would be made in the production phase. Offering not only an evaluation of the details of the design but also appearance considerations.

CNC machinings for prototype creation can save a company time and money. CNC machining is automated, which keeps down operator costs and reduces errors.  This savings is reflected in the prices charged for prototype parts.  In addition, if multiple copies of a part are required. CNC machinings can produce highly repeatable parts. Ensuring your quality requirements are met.

For assistance with CNC precision machining, you can always count on us at GlobalTech Ventures.

Benefits of Prototype CNC Machining

For industrial manufacturers, prototype CNC machinings can make the difference between the success and failure of a new design. When accuracy and appearance are of prime importance or multiple copies of a given part are needed. CNC machinings is often the best way to have a prototype made. GlobalTech Ventures offers outstanding prototype CNC machining services. Contact a company representative today.

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