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Differences between 3D printing and CNC processing

October 26, 2022

For 3D printing and CNC processing, I believe most people do not know the difference. In order to let you better choose the corresponding method to make your prototype, let me show you the difference between the two.

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3D printing board:
3D printing is a kind of rapid prototyping technology. It is a technology based on digital model files, which uses powder metal or plastic and other adhesive materials to construct objects by layer printing. It uses the principle of layered stacking to print the prototype layer by layer. The materials for 3D printing are limited. The main material is plastic. The technology for printing metal is still immature.
As far as printing plastics are concerned, their processing scope is relatively limited, generally no more than 600mm. In addition, 3D printing costs are calculated in grams. Printing such a large prototype is quite expensive. In terms of material properties, the hardness and temperature resistance of 3D printed plastic products are worse than those of CNC hand boards! In terms of processing precision, the precision of 3D printing is not as fine as that of CNC machine tools!

CNC hand board:
The so-called CNC hand board is to carve on the raw materials according to a certain path through the processing tools of the numerical control machine tool under the command of the program. Therefore, CNC hand board processing will produce waste materials, while 3D printing is the accumulation of materials, which will not produce waste materials.

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CNC hand boards are made of a wide range of materials. As long as you can see the materials you want, you can process them. Moreover, CNC machine tools have a large stroke, at least more than 1m. For example, gantry machine tools can even process a whole piece within a range of two to three meters. As far as precision is concerned, the precision of the hand board processed by CNC is high, which can generally reach plus or minus ten wires. The precision of the metal hand board processed by high-speed drilling and tapping center can reach 0.05mm.

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3D printing is suitable for those with low surface requirements, relatively low accuracy, complex structure, small quantity, and most of them are internal structural parts.
CNC hand boards are suitable for hand boards of various sizes with high surface requirements, high precision requirements, and material properties requirements.