3D printing and machining are increasingly complementary

Additive manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, has been compared to subtractive manufacturing such as milling and turning since its invention. One of the most discussed is whether additive manufacturing can replace subtractive manufacturing.

CNC machining

The current situation is that 3D printing technology is accepted by more and more companies, showing a growing trend; subtractive manufacturing has maintained a very stable state and is currently the most widely used manufacturing process in process manufacturing. From the perspective of development trends, the two processes are becoming more and more complementary, and the combined use is becoming the mainstream, rather than replacing the relationship. The following is represented by CNC machining to compare the relationship between the two.


1.What is CNC machining?

CNC machining is often referred to as CNC machining services. In simple terms, CNC machine tools automatically realize machining according to the set program. During machining, a 2D drawing of the tool infinitely replicated along the axis of rotation, resulting in a 3D geometry. There are also many materials that can be used, and a variety of wood, metal and plastic can be processed, and the parts processed by it are also widely used.


2.Comparison of advantages and disadvantages of subtractive manufacturing

 Advantages of subtractive manufacturing:

1.High-precision machining of parts

2.Compatible materials are more

Disadvantages of subtractive manufacturing:

1.There is a lot of material waste

2.Some complex parts need to be disassembled and processed multiple times

3.Some complex geometric shapes are difficult to process

3.How the two complement each other

At present, the most common is the joint processing mode, that is, the rough embryo of a workpiece is first 3D printed. Since 3D printing often requires heating materials and there is thermal barrier cooling, the precision tolerance of the workpiece is greater than that of subtractive manufacturing. In addition, 3D printing is to manufacture workpieces layer by layer, and layers will form on the surface. Therefore, a rough embryo can be 3D printed first, and then milled.

In addition, with the advancement of 3D printing technology, some 3D printing technologies can directly print new structures on the original parts, or repair damaged structures. Therefore, in the future, a part could be machined and then printed on top of it. Due to their respective characteristics, these two manufacturing methods complement each other and can rapidly produce precision machined parts that have never been before.

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