View Full Version : 3D printing vs. CNC-processing

07-15-2013, 03:55 PM
Dear all,

Let us start with the first round of "users in dialogue" on CNCZone.com:

Which waste!

Still things are milled from a whole piece instead of being made with 3D printers. Already fear overcomes some CNC cutters …

Do we have to blame the success story of 3D printing, the fascination to make things by ourselves for it? Suddenly things take shape, whereas these ones previously could be simulated only on the PC. All around the world people print quite everything from plastic, even if it is a spare part required urgently or a portrait which can be converted as a CAD model. 3D printers employ methods which build up a component from several thin layers of a certain material. Tools and forms can be produced fast and economically with 3D printers.

Milling or applying: Which one will be favored in the future? Indeed, it still will last for some years but the trend is very strong. According to the laws of mechanics, both methods are fundamentally different. Will the new technology replace the old one?

Let us know what and how you think about it: Will 3D printing be able to replace CNC processing?

We are curious looking forward to your postings and replys!

Greetinx from Duesseldorf / Germany,


You´ll find general information to the rules of this discussion right here:

Additionally, we draw some books from Chris Anderson among all participants: “Makers – The New Industrial Revolution” Of course, the decision of the jury is final. Further information may be found right here:
Win a digital maker - CNC-Arena GmbH (http://www.cnc-arena.com/en/newsroom/factory/blog/win-a-digital-maker--1516.html)


Sandra Stoll
Project Manager Exhibitions & eMagazine
CNC-Arena GmbH
Eichsfelder Str. 1
40595 Duesseldorf, Germany

07-16-2013, 05:07 AM
Very interesting discussion and very daring to start such a discussion in this place :eek:

I'm a member from early 2007, read a lot here and only took the courage to build simple constructions to maintain or service test-rigs etc. Mostly with linear or magnetic motors or ready to use x-y tables for repetitive replacement of parts. Never started or really replyed to a post. I've used the information herein mostly to understand cnc machines I had to draw 2D Acad drawings for and to get used to protocols etc. Always discussions with the CNC boys who had to build a 3D part for me from these drawings:-)
After Autocad I got Solidworks from my boss, what a relieve, such an huge amount of work in such little time-lapse, and after exporting the IGES files, never discussion about what was right or wrong. Made a mistake? Shame on you, produce a new IGES file with the corrections in it, ready! Because of the fact I didn't learn to work with SW, it took a lot of time after all to get acquainted with it, but that was all right to me and my boss.
Eight years ago the company bought a Dimension 3D machine for rapid prototyping. Very breakeable but good enough to get an idea how things work out or fit in to each other. I made several requests for parts to use for my purposes, I never got one. (or not in the desired tolerances etc)
And then suddenly there is de Reprap community, eager to build an open source 3D printer, including software etc, meant to be built by other 3D machines. I myself started to print these parts in a fablab in Holland on an Ultimaker, fell in love with its design and speed and decided to build this one instead of the Mendel. I made perfect drawings with an excellent free Autodesk program (: 123D design), sliced the STL file with an open source program (Cura) and printed within one week 28 parts for several test rigs in our laboratorium. Two of them I had to change a little, next day the prints were done.
From building the Ultimaker until the moment 6 projects came to an end (test rigs) took eight weeks!! That includes everything: 2,5 day for the printer, drawing all the parts, printing, fitting, testing etc. I bought a second set of electronics, Arduino, controller etc to build a uniform system for several little projects with X-Y movement. The next project I’ll use it for is a CNC router in which I can make use of a Milwaukee router I already have for years now.
On topic:
CNC routers won’t disappear I guess:
- The accuracy is the best there is.
- Plastics thermally formed will crimp, the more complex the more inaccurate in several directions.
- You’ll have to choose your design more carefully.
- Great advantage is the storage of a few/several spools of filament only, instead of a large quantity materials from different sizes.
- There is a so called Filabot, already to be able to recycle your materials, PET bottles, plastic grocery bags or packaging materials. Only to use for non-critical parts, because it will degrade formerly over the amount of recycling passes used.
I want a combination of a 3D Printer and a router to use it for the critical holes or sides. The same way one would use a combination of a lathe and a router. The Dimension costed $30000 The Ultimaker $2000. I expect within the same amount of years a 3D printer that’s affordable and accurate enough, prints several kinds of metals, biodegradable plastics, food, human tissue etc. You download a file instead of a part, less environmental pollution because of lack of transport. Don’t own a 3D printer? Your neighbor will. A lot of material will not only being not wasted while milling, but also because you only use what you need.
This community understands the way of thinking in 3D already and to be able to produce what’s in your mind. 3D printing will be a nice and affordable way to make these things which are impossible to mill and be the next handy tool in your workshop.

07-16-2013, 12:57 PM
Topic has been beaten to death already in other posts.