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CNC Machine

CNC Machining vs 3D Printing

Choosing between CNC machining and 3D printing is a common question for anyone looking to create metal products. Both machines produce a wide range of metal parts and offer unique perks. However, not every business will benefit from using both, and the wrong choice could cost you in terms of quality and money. How do you know which manufacturing process your company should invest in? 

This guide will take a look at everything you need to know when comparing CNC vs 3D printing. It will help you make an informed decision and choose a process that’s better suited for your needs. In the end, if you decide you need a reliable expert for your metal parts production, call Glenn Metalcraft to have your parts shipped directly to you.

CNC Machining Basics

A CNC milling machine. CNC Machining VS 3D printing

CNC stands for Computer Numerical Control. An engineer designs software to guide the CNC machine to build parts. Because the part is built by software and machines, the entire process is very precise. 

CNC machines are capable of producing parts through a process of subtractive manufacturing. With subtractive manufacturing, machines take a block of material and remove (subtract) pieces to form the final metal component. 

CNC machining has been around since the 1950s, which makes it a traditional manufacturing process. However, the original technology has been improving ever since. For example, companies like Glenn Metalcraft now operate on 6-axis machines, making the process quick, efficient, and highly accurate. 

With machines like the HAAS R2000IB 165R, Glenn Metalcraft can handle large payloads and functions such as: 

  •             Material handling
  •             Drilling
  •             Tooling
  •             Press tending
  •             Spot welding
  •             Assembly

3D Printing Basics

A 3d printing machine creating a product. CNC Machining VS 3D printing

One of the biggest differences in CNC vs 3D printing is simply how it works. As mentioned before, CNC machining is subtractive. However, a 3D printer functions as an additive machining process without support structures. 

With the additive machining of a 3D printer, metals are added layer by layer to build parts. First introduced in the 1980s, it has become more prominent and common in recent years. 

3D printing also uses software to build metal parts, but its capabilities in terms of size and handling are limited compared to those of CNC machines.

CNC Machining vs 3D Printing: How To Choose

Metal automotive parts created with CNC machining, not 3D printing.

As you learn how the two manufacturing processes work, you may already start to realize which is right for you. Here are some key differences between the two options to take into account when considering CNC vs 3D printing.

Speed

When it comes to large orders, nothing beats computer numerical control. These machines reduce the need for operators as they can handle much of the process from beginning to end. They can also handle large pieces on their own and work quickly from one part to the next. 

While a 3D printer can be fast, it can’t produce large bulk orders as quickly and only takes on what fits on the printer bed. So when you need a large order done accurately and speedily, CNC machining may be the better option for you. 

Price

You may not see any difference in price per unit between the two manufacturing processes for some smaller orders. However, for large orders, CNC machining’s speed makes it more cost-effective. Because large quantities are so well handled by the CNC process, you won’t see a significant increase for a large-scale project.

If you’re truly on the fence between 3D printing and CNC, get some quotes from various experts to better understand how your specific order may affect the prices. As a rule of thumb, medium to large-sized orders will get lower prices from CNC machining engineers. 

Size

You can get it all taken care of, from the smallest to the biggest metal parts, by CNC machines. This is because the equipment is made to handle any large block of material and turn it into the final product. These machines are even used to make metal parts for automobiles. 

If you want a large metal part fabricated, it will be far easier to find engineers with the right CNC machines. 

On the other hand, a 3D printed part is limited to the equipment’s size, which is currently significantly smaller than today’s standard CNC machines. While you might find large 3D printing equipment, you will have to shop around. And, it’s not by any means a guarantee that you’ll find what you need. 

Precision

When you send out to have parts created, you want the most professional final product. It won’t do to have jagged surfaces where filaments were laid imperfectly. So when considering whether to choose 3D printing vs CNC manufacturing, know that the 3D printer will work best for less precise components. 

Computer numerical control metal 3D spinning is the way to go for the smoothest surfaces and cleanest lines — it gives you the best results. Any parts needing a tightly toleranced surface, such as key components or tools, require a ready-to-use finish best provided by CNC manufacturing. 

Get CNC Machining Services for Your Products

A CNC machine creating a metal product

Both CNC machining and 3D printing have their own merits. However, one will be better for your project and company’s manufacturing needs than the other.

CNC machining offers a cost-effective, precise, and quick manufacturing process if you’re producing on a large scale. If you’re only looking for a small batch of parts that don’t require the highest quality finish, a 3D printer may give you exactly what you’re looking for at the lowest price. 

If you’re still unsure which is right for you, call Glenn Metalcraft. Our years of experience in providing the highest quality parts and service to our customers make our commitment to growing in the right direction clear. We are happy to answer all your questions about CNC vs 3D printing, so contact us today.

Categories
Metal Spinning

GMI Delivers Superior Metal Spinning

Founded in 1947, Glenn Metalcraft Inc. (GMI) provides high-quality expertise and services to countless businesses. GMI became one of the first U.S. companies to invest in innovative CNC spin technology to present clients with superior metal spinning services. It remains committed to a high standard of excellence and customer satisfaction.

By prioritizing the relationship between Glenn Metalcraft’s employees and customers, GMI delivers quality customer service and skilled craftsmanship to ensure it meets every customer’s needs. In addition to superior metal spinning services, GMI’s roster of metal industry experts allows the firm to recommend the best materials for new products, review engineering designs, and create cost-reduction solutions.

Your success is Glenn Metalcraft Inc.’s success. But don’t just take our word for it ‒ contact us today and learn more about what makes GMI a superior metal spinning company.

Superior Metal Spinning

Metal Industry lathe machine work

Metal spinning, also called spin forming, spinning, or metal turning is the process of rotating a tube or disc of metal at a high speed and applying localized pressure to shape the metal, which is similar to the method used in clay pottery. The process, which creates an axially symmetrical product, can be done by hand or performed by a machine.

Artisans and commercial companies use metal spinning to produce high-quality metal parts for various industries, including home goods, science and technology, and automobiles.

The metal spinning process is cost-effective and produces very little material waste. 

Any form of ductile metal can be used in metal spinning, such as aluminum, stainless steel, carbon steel, copper, brass, Hastelloy, Inconel, and titanium. The diameter for metal spun through this process can range between one inch to eight feet.

How Does It Work?

Examples of spinning tools litter history. The Ancient Egyptians used manual spinning techniques to create everyday tools or build architectural masterpieces. The process shifted in the Middle Ages to metalwork and would eventually become the machine-operated precision heavy gauge metal spinning it is today.

To begin the spinning process with a CNC machine, a pre-cut sheet of metal also called a blank, is clamped between the mandrel and tailstock of the spinning machine. A primary drive rotates the mandrel and tailstock as a spinning roller performs a series of passes over the block to change its shape.

A skilled hand spinner can also manually spin and shape a piece of metal by applying a roller by hand.

Advantages of Using GMI

A worker operating a metal spinning machine

By using Glenn Metalcraft Inc., you can expect to receive the highest-quality metal spun parts at great prices. GMI’s employees are focused on forging strong relationships with customers to provide the best service possible. Some advantages to working with Glenn Metalcraft Inc. include: 

  • its efficient work center equipped with a mechanical workhorse and a CNC lathe 
  • access to GMI’s metal spinning experts 
  • cost-effective solutions for the OEM industry
  • incredible customer service from the moment you create an order

GMI’s Work Center and CNC Lathe

GMI has increased capacity by adding the 48 ROBOT – R 2000IB 165F to its workspace, which can handle large, heavy parts throughout the shop. This mechanical workhorse speeds up production time by allowing GMI employees to focus on quickly and efficiently creating your product with the company’s CNC metal spinning machine.

GMI’s CNC metal spinning machine is programmed to inspect parts for quality control to ensure every component created meets the highest standard. The machine is capable of in-cell deburring, has flexible pack-out options, and is equipped with two vacuum circuits and two pressure circuits. 

This machine can perform different processes without needing additional tools so that clients can set up with GMI under one purchase order. The CNC machine creates parts with maximum accuracy, flexibility, and efficiency in a short amount of time, ensuring GMI’s customers receive the best product as quickly as possible.

GMI is always looking for new ways to increase efficiency and introduce innovative technology to continue to meet customer’s evolving needs.

Metal Spinning Experts

Superior metal spinning on a CNC machine

A machine is only as good as the person operating it. At Glenn Metalcraft Inc., our craftsmen work with our equipment within tight tolerances to meet each customer’s specifications and standards. Our craftsmen are also skilled in robotic welding, punching, automated machining, assembly, and waterjet cutting. 

GMI’s employees have mastered the latest innovations and technology in the metal spinning industry to provide customers with the best and most reliable parts. GMI is part of the Elemet Group of metalworking companies, which provides access to GMI’s sister companies, Minnesota Industrial Coatings, and Elemet Manufacturing, to offer additional finishing and fabricating services to interested clients.

Steel-Forged Customer Relationships

Close up of handshake in the office

As a local, family-owned business, GMI understands the importance of the relationship between company and customer. You can count on communicating with staff members who see your success as their personal triumph and who will work hard to ensure they meet every one of your needs.

Because Glenn Metalcraft Inc. wants to grow in the right direction, GMI ensures every type of work accepted fits into the company’s overarching beliefs and goals. GMI knows how critical it is to choose the business that will fit the needs of your company.

GMI has locations in Fort Worth, Texas, and Princeton, Minnesota, with customers located nationwide. GMI is a business-to-business (B2B) company and is excited to work with your company.

Get Started With GMI Today

Sheet metal forming on a CNC machine

Let GMI’s expert craftsmen help you succeed with superior metal spinning services, access to industry-leading metalwork expertise, and innovative technology. GMI prioritizes consistency, excellence, and accuracy for every job.

GMI made providing innovative solutions to customers’ metalwork needs its mission. The company is constantly adding capabilities, automation, and capacity. It is committed to giving customers an environment of respect where they are allowed to grow and develop. The firm strives for success which translates into a desire to see its customers succeed, ensuring beneficial and lasting relationships.

Glenn Metalcraft not only serves as a leader in its industry because of the innovative and cutting-edge technology and equipment used by highly trained professionals. But also because GMI wants to provide the best experience and products for its customers.

Get started with Glenn Metalcraft and get an estimate today.