What is a Prototype?
A prototype is the first full-scale and usually functional form of a new design.It is generally used to evaluate a new design to enhance precision by system analysts and users.Prototyping serves to provide specifications for a real, working system rather than a theoretical one.
Application For Rapid Prototyping: CNC machines were the first major break-through in the field of rapid-prototyping. Before numerical control (in the case of punched tape technology) and computer numerical control (with analog and digital computing), parts had to be machined by hand. This invariably led to larger margins of error in end prototype products and even more so if/when machines were manually used for larger scale manufacturing.
With CNC, you can build almost anything and you’re chomping at the bit to get started on your pet projects.But with the development of technology, 3D printing technology is becoming more and more extensive.
Which is better? CNC or 3D Printing?
The honest truth is that it depends - on the material, the complexity of the part, and the economic factors at play. 3D printing technology like FDM machines build parts from the bottom-up. They can create complex shapes and internal components somewhat more easily than a CNC machine. By contrast, conventional CNC machines are somewhat limited by the tools available and the axes of rotation the machine is capable of utilizing. On the flip side, FDM prototyping is much more limited by materials than is a machined block of material. For example, if you need a prototype of a living hinge you would want to use CNC and polypropylene. Want to learn more? Read here. Just about anything can be machined while by contrast only certain materials have been adapted into filaments suitable for 3D printing.