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CNC machining vs. 3D Printing

kokou adzo



custom cnc machining

The manufacturing industry is changing, and it’s only going to get more complicated as we move forward. As a result, companies have started using new technologies to do everything from designing products to creating them. Two of these technologies are CNC machining and 3D printing: both are used in manufacturing processes, but they each have their own pros and cons. In this article we’ll look at how these technologies work so we can determine which one works best for your product needs!

Machining is faster

CNC machining is faster than 3D printing. This is because it can produce a part in one step, while 3D printing requires several steps to make a part. For example, if you want to make an enclosure for your electronics project, you can use CNC machining to cut out all of the parts at once and then assemble them together. With 3D printing technology, on the other hand, you must first create each individual piece of plastic that goes into making up your enclosure – this takes time because laser beams are used during this process.

3D printing is cheaper

3D printing is cheaper than CNC machining because it does not require materials to be cut. This means that 3D-printed parts can be produced with complex geometries, which would be too expensive or time-consuming to produce on a CNC milling machine.

3D printing can be used to create plastics with different properties.

3D printing can be used to create plastics with different properties. These include:

  • More flexibility
  • More rigidity
  • More durability

One important thing to note is that 3D printing allows you to create plastics that are more environmentally friendly, as well as those with higher heat tolerance and even flame retardant properties.

CNC machining often needs less labor to produce a product than 3D printing.

This is because it can be automated, while 3D printers require more hands-on attention from the operator.

3D printers are limited in size and materials, which means they can’t produce large or complex products like CNC machines can. A lot of small businesses don’t have the space or budget for a big machine that can make anything they want, so this may be an important consideration when deciding between CNC machining vs. 3D printing for your project needs

3D printing is limited in certain materials, sizes and designs it can produce.

3D printers are mainly used for creating small parts that require more detail than standard manufacturing processes can provide. This is because the layer-by-layer approach of 3D printing results in an object with a rough surface finish, which may not be suitable for all applications. Additionally, many types of plastics are flammable or combustible and cannot be used as an outer layer on something like a rocket engine casing or airplane fuselage component–you need something stronger like metal!

Also keep in mind that 3D printers only work with certain materials: plastic, rubber and metal alloys (including stainless steel). If your project requires any other type of material–like glass or carbon fiber–you’ll need another production method like CNC machining instead!

The process of CNC machining requires less human intervention and more automation than 3D printing.

In other words, it’s a lot simpler than 3D printing. CNC machining often needs less labor to produce a product than 3D printing does because the machine does all the work for you; you just need to input the right data and wait for it to finish. With 3D printing, on the other hand, there’s more manual labor involved in producing parts–you have to assemble them yourself or pay someone else who knows how to do it (i.e., an engineer).

Both processes have their place in the manufacturing industry

CNC machining is better suited for high volume production, while 3D printing is ideal for small batch production.

3D printing can be used to create prototypes or one-off parts that don’t require mass manufacturing capabilities.


The manufacturing industry is becoming more automated, and it’s only a matter of time before 3D printing becomes more mainstream. But for now, CNC machining still has its place in the production line. The two processes have different strengths and weaknesses that make them suitable for different types of products. Hopefully, this article helped you choose the right technology for your project!


Kokou Adzo is the editor and author of He is passionate about business and tech, and brings you the latest Startup news and information. He graduated from university of Siena (Italy) and Rennes (France) in Communications and Political Science with a Master's Degree. He manages the editorial operations at

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