Why Choose CNC Machining for Rapid Prototyping?

Rapid prototyping is a crucial step in the product design and development cycle. Product prototypes are helping understand the design, identify manufacturing defects and analyze the scope of failure in the product design cycle itself. It is essential to prevent defects and failure during the production cycle, else they may lead to huge losses in terms of money and product recalls.

There are different types of prototypes manufactured in industries, such as dummy prototypes, functional prototypes, digital prototypes, etc. These prototypes can be produced using different techniques, however, their manufacturing times and costs largely vary. CNC machining is the most common technique used for rapid prototyping. What makes it a popular choice? This post discusses answers to this question and more.

CNC Machined Parts

Fundamental Parameters of Rapid Prototyping

The following parameters are important in rapid prototyping. The selected manufacturing process for prototyping should satisfy these parameters.

  • Design Flexibility: Design flexibility is an essential consideration for rapid prototyping techniques. The manufacturing process chosen should be compatible with various designs.
  • Machinability: Machinability of intricate features is essential. The chosen tool should be able to machine the specific part.
  • Material Compatibility: Material selection plays an important role in prototyping. Commonly, the material of the prototype and final product are the same so the machining process should be compatible with the chosen material.
  • Dimensional Accuracy and Precision: Dimensional accuracy and precision should be achieved during prototyping.
  • Repeatability: In case, multiple prototypes are required, repeatability must be checked. This helps in bulk production.

CNC machining meets all these fundamental parameters of rapid prototyping. It benefits manufacturers in several ways. The next section discusses it in detail.

Benefits of Choosing CNC Machining for Rapid Prototyping

CNC machining is a technique that makes use of computer and compatible software throughout the machining process. The machining paths and production processes are programmed before the actual manufacturing to ensure desirable results. The following features of this technique make it a suitable choice for rapid prototyping.

  • Quick Production: CNC is a quick machining process. It complements the concept of rapid prototype production. CNC machining is an automated process once the CNC program is set and CAD design is set into the machine. Multiple prototypes can be manufactured simultaneously and effortlessly.
  • Flexible Tooling: CNC machining offers flexible tooling. The tools can be changed during the production cycle without interrupting or stopping the production. Different tools like single-point cutting tools, drilling tools, tapping tools, milling tools, etc can be used in CNC machining.
  • Dimensional Accuracy: CNC machining is a precision machining process. It can achieve the smallest tolerance. Therefore, the expected dimensional accuracy can be easily achieved by using this process. Also, CNC manufactured components often require no surface treatments like polishing, therefore the dimensional accuracy remains unchanged.
  • Scope for Modification: The CNC production cycle can be modified based on design. One feature can be created using different techniques. For example, grooves can be formed by using grooving or depth cutting. CNC machining offers the flexibility of choosing the machining process during programming.
  • Compatibility with a Wide Range of Materials: CNC machining is employed to machine a wide range of materials including several types of plastic and metals. This makes it an ideal choice for rapid prototyping across industries.

Now that is quite clear that CNC machining is a highly suitable choice for rapid prototyping when performed correctly. That is why you should source CNC prototyping services from experts like Brogan-Patrick. For over 30 years, the company has been offering high-quality precision CNC machining services. CNC rapid prototyping is one of their CNC machining capabilities.