During the period of manufacturing prototype for production development, 3D printing and CNC(computer numerical control) are frequently used. When It comes to specific application, especially the product design and specification have not be finalized, it is considerable for choosing these two processes. In the following paper, we will introduce you the features of these two processes.


Advantages of 3D printing:

1,There is no need to use a mold to make complex geometries, without an impact on time or cost. It allows users to deliver small batch parts quickly and adapt flexibly and agility to design changes.

2, Supporting parallel processing, save time. A user can produce multiple parts in a single project, produce multiple versions of a single part, or produce multiple parts of a different project.

3, There is no need to use a variety of settings to make parts, without supervision or intervention by operators. After the operation started, the equipment will run until the parts are finished.


Case of time and cost:

If we adopt a labor cost rate of $37 per hour. For time cost of  machine per hour, it will cost $1 for both 3D printing and CNC. For material cost based on expanded volume calculation, 3D printing costs $1 / inch, while CNC costs $0.50 / inch.(Take portable pallets and industrial robot adapters as an example)

Left Pallet (aluminum) made by CNC, right pallet(plastic) made by 3D printing

Features of quality:

  1. Materials. 3D printing process can handle a wide range of material categories as a whole, but each technology can only handle a class of materials, covering a small amount of material in the corresponding category. In contrast, CNC can process a variety of materials, each of which contains a lot of choices, and the limiting factor is only whether the material is Machinable.
  2. Material nature. After CNC processing, the mechanical nature of the prototype are almost the same as the raw materials. After 3D printing, the performance of the prototype is similar to the performance of the raw material. But it is also should be considered of the layered nature of the process, the 3D printing parts usually have anisotropy.

If only considering the issue of tolerance and smoothness ,CNC is undoubtedly the best choice because of its precise tolerance range and terrific surface smoothness. However, considering the comprehensive factors such as cost, labor and delivery time, 3D printing technology has obvious advantages. Currently when 3D printing technology is being used, considerations of design include:

  1. Size of parts and quantity of PO. Volume production of small parts is more economical

2, Size of parts and complexity design. The ideal of part has small and medium size with middle and high complexity design.

  1. Surface area of the parts and the capacity of the border. The larger surface area in per cubic inch, the more features are expressed.

The driving factors include:

1, Fast and efficient delivery of products.

  1. Ensure that multiple design iterations can be done.
  2. Modifiable design.


In JasonMould, we provide first class CNC services and 3D printing. Materials could be plastics and metals, such as ABS, PMMA, PC, aluminum, stainless steel, magnesium alloy and brass etc. Our price for CNC & 3D printing would be comparatively lower for some small parts. Typically our pricing would be only about 40-60% of the West and with quick delivery time. Usually the delivery time for several parts by CNC would be 7 to 10 days, including 3 or 4 days by air shipping. That is why many of our customers would like to come to us for rapid prototyping. Lower price but the same quality as the West. We also provide low-volume production up to hundreds or thousands of units. Learn more about prototyping below or if you have such kind of projects, please send your 3D CAD file to our professional team of experts to get a free quote.

About JasonMould Industrial Company Limited:

JasonMould Industrial Company Limited is a professional china plastic injection molding company for 3D Printing Rapid Prototyping Service, precision CNC milling service and custom CNC machining services, custom plastic injection molding or moulding company with mould and dies development and manufacturing.


Person: James Yuan
Company: JasonMould Industrial Company Limited
Add:  LongGang Village,LongXi Town,BoLuo County,HuiZhou City,GuangDong Province, China
Tel: 86-752-6682869
Email: [email protected]


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