Free hot chat no rego or sign up

Rated 4.82/5 based on 700 customer reviews

Some of the most basic CNC mills resemble a drill press on steroids.

A growing number of them is designed specifically for home and office uses, and have more sophisticated looks - but still, in comparison with technologies such as 3D printing, which produces 3D shapes by additive deposition, CNC machining seems pretty savage.

Speed: A typical cutting process takes between 5 minutes and 3 hours on a medium size CNC mill.

When it's done, it's done: you don't need to remove intricate supports, wash, sandblast, polish, seal, or post-cure the part.

Others can be challenging to machine quickly, especially if you're just making your baby steps with the technology: for example, machining carbon fiber composites or soft rubbers is a real pain. Switch to a rubber that is a bit more squishy or a bit more firm?

The casting process gives you the option of avoiding the hassle whenever you want: master the workflow for one easily machinable, high-fidelity tooling board (or print your parts in flimsy plastic, or sculpt them in clay); and then make the final part out of rubber, glass-filled composite, low-melt metal, or reinforced concrete laced with rocks. Just mix the resin and pour it into an existing mold.

Several years ago, I took a huge leap of faith, decided to buy a small CNC mill (Roland MDX-15), set up a resin casting workshop, and invested months of intermittent trial, error, and triumph to understand and befriend both technologies - and document them so that others don't have to go through all the pain.

It was well worth it, to be sure: I can now routinely crank out remarkably cool and precise designs in no time, and with only minimal cost: The approach also works for others; this hybrid legged robot by Marc Hamende (video) is one of my recent favorites.

If this sounds interesting, and if you are willing to spend around ,000 to set up a CNC workshop, simply read on.

Alas, for now, entry-level additive FDM technologies remain fairly useless for low cost, high quality hobbyist work; this may change in the next few years with the advent of affordable SLA printers, but that revolution is yet to come.

Today, CNC has a clear upper hand on at least four fronts: Precision: when I started working on the guide, this would be a good result from a Makerbot FDM printer; and this would be a more common example.

Leave a Reply