View Full Version : 3D printers vs CNC machines what is each limitations and why not go for just 3D print

06-26-2013, 09:28 PM
It seems that the additive layer manufacturing technology extends not only to plastics, but laser-to-metal as well.

If this is the case, what is the purpose of having/learning so many different variations of CNC machines?

Isn't 1 rapid prototyping machine that can print metal (despite it's ridiculously high cost) is enough to create anything from any angles?

Or is there a limitation to these rapid prototyping machines and we require different CNC machines still?

Also, robotic arms with custom routers seem to be able to cover many angles. Although I realize it fails in precision work.

What then is the ultimate setup that can cover every angle of process and you can literally make anything?

1 rapid protyping machine
1 robotic arm
1 engraving machine


I've just begun learning CNC, and was pondering what the ultimate thing would be to reduce time in manufacturing while having all the possibilities.

06-26-2013, 11:50 PM
There isn't a rapid prototyping machine made yet that can produce a part with material properties approaching what you get from a machined part. The machined part from a billet or a forging or a casting will be of more uniform and better material properties. For some parts it doesn't matter, for others it matters a lot.

There just isn't a one size fits all. At least not yet.