IDC Models Highlights the Power of CNC Machining for Rapid Prototyping

After more than 40 years at the forefront of the prototyping business, IDC Models is keen to highlight the benefits of CNC machining as a powerful rapid prototyping technology, which is often lost in the hype surrounding 3D printing.

“Recently we have noticed a growing number of companies who come to us unaware of the benefits of CNC. There is so much awareness of 3D printing that this is usually the first thing that companies are interested in. They are often surprised when there is a better solution to be found by CNC - which helps determine critical fit and material suitability early on in the design process,” comments Mark Yoxall, Prototyping Engineer at IDC Models.

With a Viper SLA, IDC Models has one of the best 3D printers in the industry and is only too aware how invaluable this is for geometric checking of fits and producing quick visual models. However, a product’s functionality is determined by material selection as well as geometry and this is where CNC machining can be particularly beneficial. Unlike 3D printed models, CNC parts can be produced in the materials that are actually planned for production, to form a visually and functionally realistic prototype. CNC allows a great choice of materials, with metals such as steel, stainless steel, aluminium, brass and all manner of exotic alloys, as well as engineering plastics such as AS-ABS, Nylon, Acetal, Acrylic, RC, PS and many more.

Mark also reminds us of the precision of CNC, “We always program directly from the design CAD, and with ISO 9001 and 13485 in place, we have robust quality procedures to maintain and ensure critical dimensions. Another major benefit of CNC machining is that parts can be repeatedly re-machined if the prototype needs to be refined, to achieve a production quality fit.”

With such high-precision capabilities, IDC Models also offers a service for the low-volume production of parts as well as the flexibility for one-off components. IDC Models’ CNC machining centre now includes a Hurco VM10 machine and a variety of machines for high-accuracy small and large format parts to deliver the highest quality possible.