CNC and 3D printing - what distinguishes the two manufacturing processes?

CNC and 3D printing are modern technologies that are superior to conventional manufacturing processes in many respects. That is why more and more companies are turning to these methods. Both CNC turning and 3D printing bring with them a number of advantages. But in order to fully exploit their potential, it is important to know what makes the two manufacturing methods different.

So let's take a closer look at both methods. Perhaps you will then be better able to decide which of the two is more suitable for you.

What CNC machining is all aboutCNC

is based on subtractive manufacturing. CNC machining uses a blank. Material is gradually cut from this blank.

Spinning tools and/or milling cutters are used. Material is removed until the desired end result is achieved. CNC is compatible with a wide range of materials. Whether plastics, metals or wood - basically anything can be used.

And it does so with tremendous dimensional accuracy. Precise work is no problem with CNC. Therefore, the process can also be used for workpieces that could not be produced manually.CNC machining offers many possibilities. The operator can choose between different tools, set their speeds, determine the cutting path and reposition the material.

There are also various finishing techniques to achieve the desired result. CNC is ideal for mass production. After all, in addition to the materials, only one software is required to produce as many models as desired. At the same time, production is also largely automated.

Not much personnel is required. Basically, an experienced operator is already quite sufficient to produce a large number of products with CNC. A major advantage of the process is the saving of resources. On the one hand, only a small number of personnel is required.

On the other hand, the material waste is also low. Furthermore, changes to the product often only require a slight modification of the respective software. This makes CNC an extremely economical production process.

What makes 3D printing differentUnlike

CNC, 3D printing is not based on a subtractive process. Instead, the entire manufacturing process is additive.

This means that materials are assembled layer by layer. This gradually creates the desired model. One advantage of this method is that there is virtually no waste. So after the product is made, there is almost no mess.

This not only makes cleanup easier, but also makes 3D printing an ethical production process. In addition, 3D printing is extremely cost-saving, especially for small quantities. Another significant advantage is the tremendous flexibility and precision. There is almost nothing that cannot be made with 3D printing.

Whether it's medical devices or food - there are virtually no limits. But unlike many conventional manufacturing processes, precision never comes up short. 3D printers are capable of working very precisely. All they need is a prefabricated model.

The desired product can then be produced automatically. This does not even require the supervision of an operator.