There is an eternal debate going on in the prototyping industry.
Which rapid prototyping approach is perfect for all product types? 3D printing or CNC machining?
3D printing has become much more affordable and accessible for everyone, thanks to the advancements in technology. Also, 3D printing machines are much easier to operate and provides quality scale models rather quickly.
However, final prototypes made from 3D printers have a rather rough surface finish and fragile in structure. Additionally, 3D printing is done with selective materials, hence we can’t predict the optimized amount of raw material used in actual product manufacturing.
On the other hand, prototypes made in CNC machine shops are manufactured by processing actual raw materials. The final prototype is functional and can be used as an early work model.
Although, the biggest drawback of the CNC machining prototype is the size of the machinery itself. Unless you’re willing to own and maintain CNC equipment by yourself or hire a CNC machining services provider, You can’t have CNC prototyping as your core manufacturing approach and miss all the benefits of it.
For a B2B product industry, CNC prototyping is more practical from cost-effectiveness and quality perspective.
With that being said, here are 5 reasons why CNC prototyping is ideal for the B2B industry.
But before getting started…
Is CNC Prototyping Ideal For Your Business?
As I’ve mentioned before, if you are a full-fledged product manufacturing company, CNC prototyping is the right approach for you. Especially for B2B products like custom machinery, aerospace products, and automobile parts, using CNC machining for prototyping will be a more cost-effective and practical approach.
It is important, however, to have an in house CNC equipment and expert personnel to operate it provide quality results. The better alternative is to hire a competent local CNC machine shop for your prototyping activities so that you can focus on your core business.
Now that we’ve covered everything, let’s get right into it.
1: Functional Prototypes
Unlike prototypes made from 3D printers, CNC prototypes are a near-perfect replica of the finalized product. Not only from a visual standpoint but also functionally.
CNC machine provides the ultimate customization for your product prototype. From product size, dimensions, right to its joints, fixtures, and movement. You can control every little aspect of your prototype to create the “Beta” design of your product idea.
A prototype designed from CNC machine shops can even be your finalized product with a few tweaks. If you want to shorten the time between product prototyping and manufacturing, CNC machine shops are your best bet.
2: Robust and Re-workable Prototype
Let’s say you’re designing a brand new product and want to work on the prototype at every stage of product development rather than going on step at a time. CNC prototyping allows you to do just that.
For a brand new invention, CNC machining services helps in making necessary changes in the product on the go to maintain maximum functionality and to reduce cost whenever possible.
As CNC provides rather sturdy prototypes which last much longer compared to the 3D printed prototypes, it can be used as a display model to a variety of exhibitions, expos, and client meetings. Not only that, you can show the progression of your product from a mere idea to a tangible product for commercialization.
3: Display Models.
Whether it’s a life-size replica or a scale model of machinery, CNC prototyping allows you to create the best display models for better visual communication.
Although 3D printing allows you to create scale models rather quickly, the finalized product is rather fragile and may deteriorate over time. Any structural damage during the initial manufacturing and transportation might break your prototype entirely. That’s why 3D printed prototypes are usually used in smaller products like jewelry and consumer goods.
A B2B product, a prototype should represent the final product as authentically as possible, both looks and functionality-wise. It should communicate the benefits of the product for the respective industry in the best possible way. And most importantly, it should convey the sincerity of your work ethics.
CNC machining allows you to do just that, and then some more with quality prototypes.
4: Precision and Quality Control in Prototype.
As we all know, CNC machining is known for its extreme precision during product manufacturing. Now imagine the same precision and customization in your prototyping.
CNC machines allow you to control every aspect of your product design to create a perfect prototype. From the overall shape, texture, to the slightest notch, you can customize the product design by adding respective commands in the equipment.
Not only that, CNC machining services providers follow the highest degree of quality control by maintaining the equipment, adding the right commands and making sure that the final product is of the finest quality. A CNC machining expert plays a key role in the success of a product prototype.
5: Level of Detailing in Final Prototype.
All the factors mentioned above points towards one thing, CNC machining provides the most polished and detailed prototypes compared to 3D printers.
CNC machines came into existence to automate the manufacturing process to reduce human errors, workplace hazards, and increase the scale of production. With the advancements in technology, CNC machines can do much more than just processing computerized data to process raw material.
Nowadays, CNC machines can be used for designing a product from scratch. With extensive knowledge of CAD and manufacturing technology, custom machining services can experiment with a variety of product designs to maximize efficiency, ergonomics, and visual appeal.
For a B2B product industry, CNC prototyping is the perfect option to minimize the cost, increase the functionality and overall appeal of your new product idea.
In conclusion, both 3D printing and CNC machining has their usefulness for a variety of industries. 3D printing is ideal for casual hobbyists, prototyping consumer products, toys, jewelry, and artifacts.
CNC machining, on the other hand, provides a high-precision functional prototype that can be processed further to create a finalized product. Having in-house CNC machines significantly saves your time and money in creating quality prototypes.
Do you know what’s even better? You can outsource the CNC prototyping activities to your local CNC machine shops that have thorough experience in industrial prototyping.
Speaking of which, we are among the leading CNC machine shops in Houston, Texas. We are more than happy to help you with the prototyping activities so that you can focus on your core business.
Send us your prototyping requirements and we’ll get back to you in no time.