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Houston CNC Machining Services vs. 3-D Printing

CNC MachiningWith the increasing popularity of 3-D printing in the consumer and commercial marketplaces, a debate has arisen regarding the merits of Houston CNC machining services compared with 3-D printing systems. Understanding the basics of each of these fabrication systems can provide you with insights into which one is right for your needs and your project.

How Are 3-D Printing and CNC Machining Processes Different? 

The methods by which 3-D printers and CNC machining equipment achieve their results are diametrically opposed:

  • 3-D printers add material in layers to create a three-dimensional object according to precise specifications that are entered into the computerized system controlling the process.
  • CNC machining equipment removes metal and other materials from a component using cutting, grinding and stamping machinery controlled by a program entered into a computer.

Because 3-D printing uses an additive process, components made using this method can sometimes lack the strength and durability that the subtractive process of Houston CNC machining can produce. This can limit the utility of 3-D printed parts for critical applications in the industrial and manufacturing field.

Which Process Is Better for Your Project?

In general, if you require heavy-duty parts and precision components for mission-critical activities, CNC machining wins out compared to 3-D printing as the most effective method of Houston metal fabrication. For pharmaceutical applications and medical use, however, 3-D printing allows the use of a wider range of materials and configurations to ensure the success of your project. In general, CNC machining offers faster results than comparable 3-D printing options. A 3-D printer, however, can switch more quickly and easily between tasks to allow greater flexibility in managing multiple projects at the same time.

Better Together

Depending on the type of project you are planning, you may benefit from combining both 3-D printing and CNC machining for your component or prototype. In some cases, the final finishing touches for a 3-D printed product can be achieved using Houston CNC machining techniques. Your Houston CNC machine shop can also provide you with scalable options for creating a prototype or part that can be enhanced by 3-D printed parts and components. This can allow improved functionality and absolute precision for your finished project.

The team at Custom Components & Assemblies, Inc. can provide comprehensive metal fabrication and customized vertical and horizontal precision CNC machining services for your Houston business or industrial facility. Our expert technicians can provide you with the most advanced and practical options in the metal fabrication industry. We adhere to ISO 9001 quality standards and can achieve tolerances of +/- .0002 to ensure that your component is perfectly suited for your needs. Call us today at 713-937-6225 to get a quote and to discuss your project with us. We look forward to working with you.