Rapid CNC Prototyping
CNC prototyping is one of the prototype making process by using CNC machines. Fast turnaround and high accuracy can be achieved with a wide variety of materials. Our prototyping process is most often used when form, fit, and function are a priority during the product development process. Whether you need a single custom machined part or many, we have the capacity to get prototypes in your hands fast. We also have the capacity to scale all your machining projects from prototyping to production quantities effortlessly.
Few things are more ingrained into our modern industrial system than the mass production of parts. The ability to churn out a high volume of high-quality parts is essential for keeping the engine of our economy humming along. To do that, we need to be able to make sure that the parts we are producing are standardized in terms of size, shape, dimension, and quality.
The first step in the mass-production of any metal part is going to be prototyping. For mass production to be effective, the parts being produced must be produced quickly and flawlessly every time. One of the more common methods of prototyping is CNC Prototyping.
What is CNC Machining?
CNC Prototype Aluminum Machining
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is a manufacturing process in which computer inputs are used to control machining tools such as drills and lathes. It is used across many industries for a variety of prototype and end-use parts.
The process starts with a digital 3D design, created using CAD software, which a computer can translate into a series of instructions to the machine’s cutting tools. These instructions are known as G-code. Once the G-code is sent to the machine, very little manual supervision is needed, since the machine knows when and where to cut and performs the machining autonomously. This results in significant time and cost savings when compared to traditional machining, in which a skilled machinist cuts the workpiece using manually operated cutting tools.
Machining is a subtractive process, which means the equipment removes existing material instead of introducing new material. Unlike additive manufacturing, in which a 3D printer deposits material in layers to form an object, CNC machining involves cutting sections away from a formless block known as the “workpiece.” Excess material is discarded or recycled, eventually leaving behind a completed part. More complex CNC machines, those with a greater number of axes, are capable of cutting the workpiece in more complex ways, producing parts with more intricate geometries.
CNC machining is a widely used manufacturing process thanks to its versatility, accuracy, consistency and wide range of compatible materials: although aluminum alloys are the most common material for machining, numerous other metals and plastics can also be used.
CNC Prototype Aluminum Machining
The most common method for doing this is via computer numerical control (CNC) prototyping.
One of the biggest innovations in the past couple of decades for those looking to create prototypes has been digital design. In the past, it could take a considerable amount of time to first design and then create a physical prototype based on those sketches.
With CNC prototyping, however, the whole process is streamlined as digitally created designs are then transferred to 3D modeling systems that can then create the part in question. They are able to do that via CNC computers that are able to execute preprogrammed commands.
This allows those designing new parts to design them digitally, feed that design and data into a CNC computer, and then allow the machine to take it from there. That data can tell a laser cutter, 3D printer, or other CNC milling machines the precise movements they need to make to create the part flawlessly every time, thereby helping to automate production. CNC prototyping can work with a wide range of materials including wood, acrylics, foam, metal, and thermoplastics.
Advantages of Rapid Prototyping:
- There are many advantages to CNC rapid prototyping including the production speed efficiency of the machinery. When you’re attempting to rapidly produce prototypes, using a CNC machine eliminates factors like human error and improves the efficiency of the cuts, helping you more quickly develop your prototypes.
- Furthermore, once the process of creating a prototype is complete, the parts made from that prototype can roll off the production line in a quick and cost-effective manner, thereby helping to cut costs.
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If you have multiple parts, you can also upload a bill of materials or documents listing the part details.