CNC prototyping: 5 things you need to know

  • The CNC process converts CAD data into numerical instructions enabling tooling machinery to create 3D prototypes of any CAD component.
  • Working on X, Y and Z axis ensures that any shape can be recreated using CNC controlled tooling equipment.
  • CNC controlled machinery is able to work at lightning fast pace while maintaining accuracy levels often unattainable through manual production.
CNC prototyping

CNC prototyping – example of machined parts produced by WayKen Rapid

Computer Aided Design (CAD) was seen by many as a turning point in the world of business but now we have Computerised Numerical Control (CNC). The ability to directly convert a 3D CAD file into an actual prototype component brings with it an array of significant benefits. There is no doubt that CNC is rebasing the cost of prototypes not to mention the quality.

There are many benefits to using CNC systems which include:-

Amazing flexibility

The ability to move machining tools on an X, Y and Z axis allows the creation of identical 3D prototypes which can be designed using CAD software. The CAD data is converted into numerical data to operate the machining tools to create an exact replica of the CAD design. Whether looking to replicate particular components time and time again, or create a one-off prototype used in, for example, injection moulding, the opportunity to reproduce a design in 3D is priceless.

Minimal wastage

The fact that CNC machining creates the perfect 3D component, using materials such as wood, plastic and aluminium, ensures there is minimal wastage which immediately flows through to the bottom line. This production system can also be used with any material with the CNC machine able to work faster than human hands with pinpoint accuracy. In many businesses, material wastage plays a significant role in profitability but with CNC systems there is effectively no real wastage.

Enhanced safety

Even the safest of working environments can offer significant dangers to employees when using tooling machinery to create components and prototypes. The CNC machinery is a fully automated process and the operator does not even need to be near the machining area. This creates a much safer and more efficient working environment allowing employees to work on more than one task at a time. In a world where workplace injuries can often lead to significant compensation payments, CNC machinery effectively pays for itself.

Creating multiple components

Once the CAD data has been converted for use with a CNC machine this file can be saved and used time and time again. Very quickly it is possible to build up a library of components which can be created using a CNC system therefore effectively creating a multi-skilled virtual employee. The ability to flip between different component production files in a split second ensures that a CNC machine is priceless in the world of business.

Endless applications

The fact that a CNC machine can convert CAD data to create any 3D component means that in theory there are endless applications. The CNC process is used in areas such as manufacturing jewellery, metal moulding, cutting and shaping of equipment and production of highly efficient blades. The speed at which a CNC machine works creates significant benefits over traditional prototype and component creation systems.

Conclusion

The use of CAD software revolutionised many areas of industry and the ability to convert CAD projects to work on CNC machinery completes the loop. Speed, accuracy and an ability to identically replicate components time and time again offers huge cost and time savings for business.


WayKen Rapid is a prototype manufacturing company in China, offering professional rapid prototyping and CNC machining services. With 10 years experiences, WayKen focus on visual design models, full-functional engineering prototypes and low volume production of custom parts, which can make sure your final product looks and performs exactly as intended.

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