The term CNC prototyping usually implies any kind of new prototype manufactured by the equipment with a computer numerical control system. There is a wide range of machine tools that use CNC. However, the most widespread manufacturing method is CNC machining because it offers the best flexibility at no loss to quality.
CNC Prototyping Technologies
As it was mentioned earlier, the most widespread CNC manufacturing techniques for prototyping involve cutting. Well, there are a lot of cutting techniques as well. 80% of the CNC produced parts in the world is manufactured by using CNC turning and milling. The percentage of those methods in prototyping is even higher. Some parts are made on a single piece of equipment. However. prototypes often have some particular elements, that can’t be manufactured by milling or turning. For that, such technologies as boring, slotting, planing, gear machining, grinding and polishing are employed.
CNC Turned Parts
Conventional turning has always been a process for making shafts, tapers, spheres, threads, and bushings, basically any parts that have a symmetry axis. Now, with the introduction of CNC, the capabilities of turning have further increased. A milling head can be installed into the revolver head of the machine tool to virtually turn it into a milling center with a turning head. That way, compressor wheels, gears, crankshafts, and even turbine blades can be manufactured in a single setup.
CNC Milled Parts for Freeform Manufacturing
Milling has made a giant leap with the development of computer numerical control as well. The point is that the operator working manually can only make straight movements while milling. But the CNC breaks this limitation. The mechanically controlled motors can make the tiniest and the most precise movements that are unavailable to the best of operators. If we combine the movements of the motors along all the axes and add some tilting possibilities around those axes, we’ll get the ability to manufacture any kind of freeform surface without any special tooling. The only task is to make a suitable program.
CAM Systems for CNC Machining Services
Products have been increasingly getting more complex over the years. If things were made of simple surfaces before, now we can see that virtually any product has some kind of smooth freeform surface. Manufacturing it manually is simply impossible and even writing a program with surface coordinates is really hard and will take a lot of time. And time is really important when we talk about CNC prototype machining. So, Computer Aided Manufacturing systems have been developed. They use a CAD 3D-model of the part to generate tool paths for the desired surface. However, the program won’t help you with choosing the right cutting parameters or choose the perfect material.
CNC Prototyping Materials
The materials used for prototyping are many and different. The most widespread are: wood, steel alloys (from simple construction steel up to stain-free, modified marks), non-ferrous metals (copper, bronze, aluminum, tin and so on), ABS plastic, Polypropylene, Polyethylene, acrylic glass (PMMA), even some high-grade alloys ( Inconel and other nickel alloys that offer great strength and heat resistance) are used to manufacture some aerospace prototypes. CNC machining technologies have a wide girth here. The cutting tools and the machining equipment is developed so well that you can produce a part of virtually any material as long as it is not flexible.
High-speed machining is a new method used to mill different alloys. It is most commonly used for aluminum alloys but can be implemented for other metals as well. The gist of the process is that the feed is much higher but the cutting speed of the tool is extremely high so the chip width is low. This makes it possible to machine parts much faster with a lower degree of tool wear. That is extremely important for CNC prototyping service where the final part is manufactured from a larger block of metal so you will have to remove a lot of material before you get to the actual forming of the part. Statistically up to 80% of the blank mass may go into scrap.
High-Quality Custom Parts
Modern Industry has significantly changed from the previous generations. The mass production is contested by low volume customized parts that suit the personal needs of each client. This heralds a completely new level of consuming. People don’t just go for a high-quality product. They demand personalized experience. So, high-quality flexible manufacturing methods are as important as they ever were. CNC machining offers just such an opportunity. With the ability to modify the program in just a couple of hours, you can get a large number of each product modifications without considerable effort. The ability to change the NC program swiftly has been further increased by the CAM systems.
CNC Machining Prototype Service
Demand brings offers. With the era of intelligent manufacturing’s coming, rapid prototyping China has surprised the globe manufacturing industry. So, a whole new type of manufacturing plants has become very attractive for the product developers. These factories offer CNC machining prototyping service jobs. Meaning, you can come to your model, concept, drafts and sometimes just an idea to those centers and they will help you bring your design into reality. The advantage of such centers compared to conventional CNC prototype machining factories is obvious. They are specifically created to make prototypes and low volume batches. Their cornerstone is CNC machining because it yields the best quality of metal parts. However, there are other popular rapid manufacturing methods such as vacuum casting or 3d-printing.
CNC prototyping of new products or modified custom parts plays a large role in modern industry. In addition to the demand for customized high-quality products, the progress is moving at tremendous speed. Every year, new phone, car, PC models are being issued. Each one better, more efficient, faster and more complex.
Despite modern rapid prototyping techniques, we still use machining, however, it has changed to become the ultimate manufacturing technique, useful both for small batch and mass manufacturing. The outstanding development and understanding of the machining techniques make it possible to predict the final quality and the manufacturing time of the part.
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