CNC Machining vs. 3D Printing

CNC Machining
By jbc-admin

Whether your needs involve prototyping or manufacturing, most businesses have the option to choose either CNC machining or 3D printing. The right technology to use will depend on various factors. At JBC Machine, we provide an array of CNC machining services to meet a range of industrial requirements.

Materials Used

3D printing technology uses molten solid – often plastics – to produce 3D objects. These printers do not work with most metals, which have high melting points. On the other hand, CNC machining is utilized with a range of materials, including metal, plastic, and wood.


The order quantity is a key variable to consider when comparing the cost between CNC machining and 3D printing. For smaller quantities, 3D printing is generally a less expensive option. It is ideal for fast prototyping since it is the faster option. However, CNC machining is more cost-effective for larger orders and mass production since it uses an assembly line approach with the various components being produced by different machinery.

Quality and Precision

Both CNC machining and 3D printing can produce high-quality products. However, 3D printing has some limitations that are not present with CNC machining. Greater precision and accuracy can be attained with CNC machining than with 3D printing. Most of the time, 3D printing uses plastic or other materials with low melting points that may not produce the level of quality desired for certain products. Also, the largest 3D printers will have limitations on size in terms of material thickness and volume produced. However, the advantage of 3D printing over CNC machining is that it can replicate uncommon geometric designs such as square internal corners.

Material Waste

Between the two methods, 3D printing produces the least material waste. 3D printing uses an additive manufacturing process in which layers of raw material are added to produce the desired object. On the other hand, CNC machining utilizes subtractive manufacturing in which a solid block of material is cut out and shaped to create the desired finished product.

For information about the CNC machining services we offer at JBC machine to help you meet your project requirements, call us today at 920.779.1047, leave us a message through our contact form, or request a free quote.

Leave a Reply