The Pros (& the odd Con) of Using CNC Machining for Prototype Production

The Pros (& the odd Con) of Using CNC Machining for Prototype Production

Manufacturing – and in particular, the manufacturing of prototypes – is in the midst of a revolution, courtesy of a new breed of technological marvels that go under the broad umbrella term of ‘advanced manufacturing’.

A brief overview of what this means is processes that take advantage of innovative tech to reach a production goal. This includes automation, computation, sensing, networking and more. In other words, it removes the physical need for humans to manually carry out many of the laborious steps, replacing them with quicker and more accurate intelligent, automated processes.

This is especially relevant for the creation of prototypes – and one of the most advantageous areas is that of CNC machining.

Far from only being a process that’s used for large-scale manufacturing, CNC machining offers huge benefits when it comes to designing and creating prototypes. These benefits are:

  • CNC machining offers high precision and tolerance: Once a CAD file has been produced, the information is translated into the physical object. CNC machining brings a far higher tolerance level to this process than other types of prototyping.
  • CNC machining reduces human error: Because humans are removed from the actual manufacturing process, it virtually negates any errors from occurring.
  • CNC machining is repeatable: Thanks to being controlled by software, once the program has been developed it’s simple to manufacture any number of similar products.
  • CNC machining works with multiple materials: The process supports a high number of materials, making it an ideal tool for the creation of prototypes.
  • CNC machining saves time: Once an accurate prototype has been designed and a physical object has been created, it’s simple to tweak any part of the design as necessary. This dramatically shortens timescales, helping to bring the project to fruition in the shortest possible timescale.

Of course, it’s always necessary to look at the flip side of a process when deciding what’s right for your manufacturing needs. In terms of the disadvantages of prototyping with CNC machining, it is more expensive than, say 3D printing.  However, if the tolerance and accuracy are vital, then the CNC option is far superior to anything else available.

Other downsides include a high level of wasted materials and the need for technical expertise to configure the software. The answer to all of these disadvantages is to partner with an expert CNC provider, such as Perth-based precision engineering company, Sixde.

SixDe works with many local, national, and international clients to rapidly create prototypes. Thanks to their expertise, advanced technology is now easily available for SMEs and larger organisations to take full advantage of this leading method of prototype production. Contact us to find out more.