Comparison of different prototyping processes

Jack Lie CNC machining expert

Specialize in CNC Milling, CNC Turning, 3D Printing, Urethane Casting, and Sheet Metal Fabrication Services.

ProcessCNC Machining3D PrintingInjection MoldingDie CastingSheet Metal
Advantages•Tight tolerance
•High quality
•Complex geometry
•High resistance
•High repeatability
•Near-net final shapes
Mass production of thin, complexly shaped products•Make XL parts easily
•Wide range of forming processes
Disadvantages•Raw materials waste
•Slow for large-volume production
Limited surface qualityPart of toolings are relatively costly•Only support non-ferrous metals
•Not suit for small-volume production
Only suit for thin-walled metal prototypes
MaterialsMultiple materialsPlastic, metal, elastomersThermopolymers,
some thermosets
Alloys of aluminum, magnesium, zincMany metals
Applications•Full-functional automotive prototypes
• Prototype molds
• Plastic electronics housings
• Titanium aerospace components
• Prototypes of small consumer goods
• Silicone prototypes
•Parts of the sink faucet
•Connector housing
•Prototype brackets and chassis
•Enclosures and panels