Is CNC Machining a Dying Trade in the Sector?

CNC machining developments were done in partnership with the Chief Engineering and President Engineer, Frank Stulen. He was hired by Parsons when serving as the head of Propeller Laboratories. As a team, they used various computational methods to find solutions to machining problems. To be more specific, they curated the interpolation of curves to describe helicopter rotor blades. From that moment onward, CNC machining has been instrumental to the development of various businesses. Go here to learn more about the accessibility of a CNC machine.

Why CNC Machining?

CNC machining is a rapid manufacturing process where programmed computer software controls the movement of machinery. Therefore, the process can easily be used to control complicated machinery. Some of the machinery include lathes and mills. With CNC machining, a single complicated task can be complicated via a prompt.

Is it Outdated?

Regardless of the growing advances of 3D printing, prototyping CNC machining is still one of the most reliable and cost-effective manufacturing methods in the world. This is mainly for metallic parts. Here is why.

CNC machining is an accurate production method that helps to produce accurate parts with exceptional physical properties. That is, from CAD files. The method has been around for more than ten years. Recent technological advancements in the supply chain have significantly reduced the total costs of CNC machining. They have also made it readily available for professionals.

How Accessible is CNC Machining?

3D printing or additive manufacturing is another digital manufacturing technology that can produce parts on-demand. Note, 3D printing uses no expensive tools, thus, the cost of setting a start-up is always low, making it perfectly advantageous for low volume production or one-off production of custom parts. The mainstream media coverage has contributed to the inflated expectations from the technology in the production of metallic parts.


CNC machining is readily accessible for any manufacturer interested in rapid prototyping processes. The overhead machine costs directly correspond to two-thirds of the costs not just in machining but 3D printing. Ultimately, the machine rates, which cost every hour, are often calculated by taking the total hours of machine expected to remain functional and dividing it by the total purchasing cost involved. This is pretty affordable for customers who need to invest in

Material costs

Using the table below, you can analyze the cost of materials used for every CNC Machining project coupled with their prices:

Metals                                       Plastic

Stainless Steel 90USD              ABS 17USD 

Aluminum 80 USD                    Nylon 30USD


As you can see, the same volume of material is directly corresponding to 30 USD worth of Nylon powder for 3D printing. Obviously, CNC machining, as a significant subtractive manufacturing method, is seen to have wasted material removed from the block.

Besides, the 3D printing needs to be topologically optimized. That is, to reduce weight such that they can use trim materials. What is overlooked in CNC machining can be wasteful. That is, depending on the processes used.

Final Thoughts

Of late, there has been a growing interest in metal 3D and printing. Although the benefits of the technology for these applications are exciting, its costs outweigh the end-user result. For that reason, CNC machining is an accessible solution to many professionals.

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