- Aug 06, 2018-

CNC machining and additive manufacturing are both computer-controlled solutions to making products out of a given material. They’re both machines at the forefront of building technology safely and efficiently.

As machinists and engineers want to build a prototype, a part or a custom product, they can turn to one of these machines to do the job for them. As long as the machines have the design, you don’t have to worry about human error because the machines are automated. While this doesn’t mean issues don’t arise, there’s more consistency with production and less chance of injury.

There is some overlap with these two manufacturing methods.  which 3D printers also accept.

CNC machinery is older than 3D printing and still has a stronger foothold in manufacturing. The form started in the 1940s and had molded to fit into the industry up to the present. 3D printing came along in 1986. It’s still relatively new and evolving to be more accessible and versatile. 3D printing can help in some areas of prototyping, but it’s not a replacement tool for CNC machining.

They’re not so much alternatives to the other as they are both aspects of the manufacturing world. They meet different demands and handle different materials and markets. CNC machines and 3D printing both have unique capabilities and constraints that suit them for specific jobs. As they fit their niches in the market, you’ll want to compare it to whatever industry you’re in.