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When to Choose CNC Precision Machining?

Learn about precision CNC machining

Precision CNC machining is a widely used and reliable manufacturing process that can be used for various applications. Whether for rubber rapid prototyping or production, metal or plastic, precision CNC machining is an essential tool for engineers in manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical, consumer goods, and many other industries. However, this does not make CNC the automatic choice for all projects. Other techniques are also universal and reliable, making it difficult to determine whether CNC provides a more effective choice than 3D printing, molding, casting, forging, or other processes. However, sometimes projects seem equally applicable to multiple manufacturing processes, forcing engineers to make more subtle decisions. So, when should you choose precision CNC machining?

Why choose precision CNC machining?

Accuracy: When accuracy or strict tolerances are paramount. In the direct battle between precision AI CNC machining and 3D printing, the former manufacturing process provides excellent precision and the ability to meet strict tolerances. In fact, few manufacturing techniques can approach CNC in terms of precision. This means that even in the critical situation of choosing between CNC and another manufacturing process for some reason, when accuracy is essential, CNC can still have an advantage. Generally, this may be a key consideration factor in the final production process if it is not so important in the prototyping process. Precision CNC machining can achieve tolerances as low as 0.025mm - stricter than any additive manufacturing technology - and should be preferred if tolerances need to be less than about 0.2mm.

Mechanical performance: When performance is the most critical. Since custom precision parts are cut from solid extruded material blocks, they have excellent mechanical performance. They are also strong in all three dimensions - unlike 3D printed parts, which are inherently weaker in one axis due to their layered structure.

Even for the most demanding applications, machined parts are suitable for final use. This is not the case for all parts manufactured using 3D printing or molding parts with fragile connections. Therefore, when part performance is more critical than budget or turnaround time, CNC is usually a better choice than alternatives.

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