Conventional prototyping and CNC prototyping technologies are both available for most prototyping tasks. Some of these technologies include:
Drills: A tool or machine with a rotating cutting tip or reciprocating hammer or chisel, used for making holes.
Lathes: A machine that shapes the workpiece by holding and turning it against a fixed cutting tool.
Milling Machines: A machine tool in which a horizontal arbor or vertical spindle rotates milling cutters above a horizontal table, which is used to move the workpiece.
New CNC prototyping technologies include some less commonly seen types:
Electrical/Chemical: The material block is cut using a specific kind of machining style such as electron beam, electro-chemical, electrical discharge, photochemical and ultrasonic.
Others: Less commonly found technologies of CNC prototyping include such cutting tools as lasers, oxyfuel, plasma torches, and water jets.
The first step of CNC prototyping is to create a three-dimensional model of the desired product with the use of computer-aided design (CAD) software. The prototype image of that component is then transferred to specialized software, which operates through the computer to command the machining tools to cut and shape items identical to the model. When the computer has loaded in a new image for CNC prototyping, it can pull that model up in a repeated manner to produce more of what it is.
What Are the Advantages of CNC Prototyping?
The steady penetration of CNC prototyping into the manufacturing industry results from its irreplaceable and distinct advantages. Some of them are as follows.
More Precision: The digital template and autonomous machining for CNC prototyping practically remove human error and achieve accuracy within 1/1000th.
Reliable Endurance: Machines used for CNC prototyping can usually work around-the-clock daily, at the weekend, and during holidays. They only need to stop when maintenance or repair is required.
High Production and Scalability: After the design parameters and specification are transferred into specialized software, machines used for CNC prototyping can, according to the directives, consistently executes huge quantities and affords flexible scalability.
More Capability: When used in tandem with advanced design software, machines for CNC prototyping can create prototypes that cannot never be replicated by manual manipulation. Even the most skilled engineers are not able to do with conventional machines what advanced software can do with CNC prototyping. Theoretically speaking, CNC prototyping can produce any size, shape or texture needed.
Less Labor: CNC prototyping requires less personnel to execute the production tasks. One skilled operator can run several of the autonomous machines for CNC prototyping, and one programmer can get them loaded with the needed designs. A manual machine requires at least one skilled operator per machine plus usually a supervisor for the group. What can be saved on manpower can be passed along to customers, helping those who adopts CNC prototyping in their manufacturing to achieve a competitive advantage.
Consistent Product Quality: When you choose the advantages of CNC prototyping machines over conventional prototyping machines, the outputs of CNC prototyping match exactly. Even the most talented engineers on a conventional machine will produce components that vary slightly. With CNC prototyping machines, each part is a perfect match to the prototype’s exact specifications.
Lower Costs: The collective result of high speed, efficiency, specialization, precision and most of all, fewer labor hours, all add up to a better bottom line for your business. The lower costs, in turn, can be used to create a competitive advantage and business re-investment. Saving money or making more money is one of the popular benefits of CNC prototyping.
Fewer Headaches: Manual prototyping serves many good purposes, but it remains forever susceptible to the human intervention. You’re probably familiar with the financial and cultural headaches it can cause when there are periods when you’re short-staffed, have people out sick, or on vacation and operators who don’t perform to expectations. CNC prototyping nearly eliminates those concerning issues.
Better Safety: A safer environment comes along with an expedient production process and consistent pieces. CNC prototyping machines are usually completely enclosed, which reduces the risk of flying chips, debris from broken tools, or contact with a spinning tool. While there are operators involved in operating CNC prototyping machines, it’s at a distance from the sharp tools, whereas the operators of conventional manual lathes, drills, punches and other tools come into direct contact with the implement.
Design Retention: Once a design has been transferred into specialized CNC prototyping software and a perfect prototype has been created, the program can easily retrieve the design to run it and create the object again and again. The master file ensures that regardless of external factors such as machine operator changes, the CNC prototyping process produces a spot-on match every time. Moreover, there is no need to keep up with versions of the design that may exist on paper, a flash drive, a disk, other computer or elsewhere.
Low Maintenance: The software of some CNC prototyping machines will automatically update itself when needed, and CNC prototyping machines generally do not require much service other than to change the cutting implements at the proper interval and do some light cleaning. None of the regular maintenance requires professional service, which saves money.
Versatility: CNC prototyping itself creates virtually any component that can be imagined. Some of the models include special features and accessories that further expedite and simplify the prototyping process, for examples touch screens and automated tool changers.