Machining Options: Choosing Between Traditional & CNC Machining

There is usually an upside and a downside to everything, which ensures good competitive prices. But this can also be confusing when you need to make a choice. The same thing goes with machining, and the following guide will help you decide which type of machining best suits your needs. And to do that you should understand some of the differences between traditional machining and CNC machining.

Traditional Machining

The simplest way to understand the difference between traditional and CNC machining is that traditional (or conventional) machining relies on a human machinist rather than a computer to get the job done. 

The following are some of the advantages of using traditional machining:

  • Conventional machining--even though it uses specifically trained operators—can be more cost effective as opposed to CNC machining, which can be expensive.
  • The type of materials that can be fabricated has virtually no limit, whereas CNC machining does have a few limitations.
  • Last minute changes can be made on the spot should there be a need.
  • The machines used for conventional machining are not as expensive as CNC machining, which means repairs should be reasonable should that need arise.
  • You will also be promoting more jobs in a recessive economy as well as encouraging new students to undertake the courses needed for machining that include advanced mathematics and engineering.

CNC Machining

The following are a few advantages that CNC machining holds over traditional machining:

  • CNC machines do not need a break; they can work for 24 hours and 7 days a week, although they may need a little maintenance from time to time.
  • The end-product will be exact and can be perfectly replicated every single time.
  • You will only need a minimally trained CNC operator, which means less in labor costs.
  • CNC machines contain software that can virtually create a prototype of the end-product, which means you won't have to spend money or time physically manufacturing ideas. 
  • You can use CNC machines for all types materials consisting of plastic or metal. 

Now you have an idea of how different conventional machining and CNC machining can be; you may also want to know what type of machines can be used, which include the following:

  • Grinders
  • Routers
  • Mills
  • Lathes

Be sure to talk to your machining specialist (or go to websites that cover machining) about what option will work best for you. He or she will help you understand how your choice may help increase production for your business.