Will 3D Printing Replace CNC Machining?
June 17, 2019
CNC machining is a manufacturing process where computer software controls the movement of tools and machinery. For decades, it has been a stable manufacturing process and has become one of the main manufacturing methods for precision manufacturing. But in recent years, CNC machining has been challenged by rapidly developing technology: 3D printing, which is an additive manufacturing process that builds the desired part up layer by layer.
But for CNC machinists who are concerned about losing their jobs, here is an opinion that might cheer you up: 3D printing is unlikely to replace CNC Machining, at least in the near future.
In terms of accuracy, CNC machining is superior to all 3D printing processes. Though some 3D printers promise high precision, they easily fail to deliver it from time to time. Due to the technical process of 3D printing, internal stress can be produced during the object solidification and causes the deformation. 3D printers lack the precision which is needed for mission-critical cases. Even with Selective Laser Melting (SLM) technology, the accuracy of CNC machines is hard, if not impossible, to be replicated by 3D printing.