What is the difference between 3D printing and CNC?

What is the difference between 3D printing and CNC?

When quoting a hand board project, we need to choose the right processing method for the characteristics of the parts in order to complete the hand board project faster and better. At present, hand board processing mainly has CNC machining, 3D printing, lamination, rapid mold and so on. Today we will talk about the difference between CNC machining and 3D printing.
First of all, 3D printing is an additive technology, CNC machining is a subtractive technology, so they are very different in terms of materials.

  1. The difference in materials
    The main materials for 3D printing are liquid resin (SLA), nylon powder (SLS), metal powder (SLM), gypsum powder (full color printing), sandstone powder (full color printing), wire (DFM), sheet (LOM) and so on. Liquid resin, nylon powder and metal powder occupy the vast majority of the market for industrial 3D printing.
    The materials used for CNC machining are all one piece of sheet, that is, plate materials, by measuring out the length, width, height + depletion of the parts, and then going to cut the corresponding size of the plate for processing. CNC machining material selection than 3D printing, general hardware and plastic plates can be CNC machining, and molding parts density than 3D printing.
  2. Differences in parts due to molding principles

As we mentioned earlier, 3D printing is a kind of additive manufacturing. The principle of 3D printing is to cut the model into N layers / N points, and then stack them up in order, layer by layer / little by little, just like building blocks. Therefore 3D printing can effectively process and produce parts with complex structures, such as hollowed out parts, while CNC is difficult to achieve hollowed out parts.
CNC machining is subtractive manufacturing, through the high-speed operation of a variety of tools, according to the programmed tool path cutting out the required parts. Therefore, CNC machining can only be processed with a certain degree of curvature of the rounded corners, and can not be directly processed inside the right angle, to be achieved through the wire cutting / sparking process. External right angle CNC machine processing is no problem. Therefore parts with internal right angles can be considered for 3D printing processing production.

And then there is the surface, if the part surface area is more recommended to choose 3D printing, CNC machining processing surface is very time-consuming, and if the programming and operation master experience is not enough easily in the parts left obvious lines.

  1. the difference in the operation software

3D printing slicing software is mostly easy to operate, even for amateurs in a day or two under professional guidance can be proficient in the operation of the slicing software. Because the slicing software is currently optimized to be very simple, the support can be automatically generated, which is why 3D printing can be popular to individual users.
CNC programming software is much more complex, need professionals to operate, zero-based people generally need to learn about six months of time. In addition, a CNC machine operator is needed to operate the CNC machine.
Because the programming is very complex, a part can have a variety of CNC processing program, while 3D printing will only be placed because of the location of the processing time consumables have a small impact, relatively speaking, or more objective.

  1. post-processing differences

3D printing parts post-processing options are not much, generally are grinding, spraying, deburring, dyeing, etc..
While CNC machining parts post-processing options are varied, in addition to grinding, oil blasting, deburring, electroplating, screen printing, pad printing, metal oxidation, laser engraving, sandblasting and so on.
CNC machining and 3D printing have their own advantages and disadvantages. Choosing the right process can have a critical impact on your prototype project. Choose V1prototype and our engineers will analyze your project and make recommendations.