Posted on: 14 January 2019
CNC routers and 3D printers achieve similar results in different ways. A CNC (computer numerical control) router uses computer-controlled tools to cut material away from a raw block. In contrast, 3D printers add lots of layers of material together to create a whole. Both processes are often used as printing services for anything from signs to frames, and they each come with certain advantages and drawbacks.
Here are just four reasons why you might want to consider CNC machining over 3D printing.
1. Wider Range of Compatible Materials
You can use quite a wide selection of materials with both methods, and 3D printers have been getting more sophisticated in terms of the range of materials they can use. That said, 3D printing is still focused mostly on plastics and resins. In contrast, CNC routers work well with everything from metal alloys to modelling foams to wood. You can even use them with machining wax. If you want something made from any material that isn't resin or plastic, CNC machining is probably the way to go.
2. Faster Production
If you've ever seen a 3D printer at work, you'll know how slow they tend to be. This is because 3D printers need to painstakingly build items layer by layer, and they'll often need to slow down to a crawl to provide time for those layers to adhere. CNC machining is much faster, especially when you're ordering in high quantities. Once you give the CNC router its orders, it can get cutting very fast.
3. Superior Precision
People like to talk about the range of things that can be made using a 3D printer, and there really are a staggering number of options given how new the technology is. At the same time, 3D printers still find it hard to match the precision offered by CNC routers—it's much easier to cut away smaller slivers of material than it is to put them together in multiple layers. This won't be a factor for every order, but it's something to keep in mind if you need something more complex or intricate.
4. Stronger Results
Strength is another factor that won't always be of concern but is worth keeping in mind. Since CNC routers cut parts away from a solid block of material, what remains is still relatively robust. When multiple layers of material are printed together, the bond between each layer isn't as strong as the bonds that hold together a solid piece of material.Share