When Additive Manufacturing Just Won’t Work
With such a wide variety of new products being developed every day, it is impossible for all of them to be produced through conventional additive fabrication (AF) methods. Some factors that would not allow AF are: specific material need, end use requirements of the parts, or explicit tolerance demands. It is in these cases that other means of producing parts must be explored.
Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machining is the perfect solution for these requirements. CNC machining is end-to-end component manufacturing that is highly automated using CAD/CAM programs. CAD files are converted into the commands needed to operate a particular machining center. These commands then dictate what tools to use and when to use them in order to properly create the features of the desired part. Combining CNC machining with the use of 3D CAD, the manufacturing turnaround time for a part has dropped from 4-6 weeks to 1-2 weeks in some instances. Typical MAKE-PARTS.com lead time for CNC is 6-8 days. In addition to improved lead times, pricing and material availability provide you with unlimited manufacturing options. With these benefits, you may be asking yourself: How can CNC machining help me on my project?
Perfect project matches for CNC machining would include:
- When the part requires a specific plastic material such as Acetal, Polycarbonate, Ultem, or Teflon.
- When the part requires a specific metal material such as specific grades of Aluminum or Steel.
- When the part application requires a very high precision tolerance and needs to be repeatable.
- When the production part quantity requirements are low.