If you read our previous article about the history of rapid CNC prototyping over the years, you got a pretty good idea of how it’s changed since it started as numerical control and then added computers to become the CNC rapid prototyping that we know today. But while that article touched on some of the ways in which CNC and EDM wiring keeps getting better, it certainly didn’t go into much depth about exactly how rapid prototyping services have improved. Here are some of the means by which rapid prototyping have gotten better and better.
This is probably the most obvious way in which CNC prototyping has improved. In the mid- to late-1950s, computers were introduced to the world of numerical control in order to more accurately replicate airplane parts. At first the computers were just used to create more accurate numerical tape that fed the machines, but at the end of the decade computers were in direct control of the CNC machinery. But think about the computers that were being used at that time. They filled entire rooms, used vacuum tubes, and had masses of cables that weren’t delivering any more information that it took you to use the calculator on your phone this morning.
The computers used in rapid prototyping today are thousands of times more complex than what you’d find in a CNC shop from decades ago. And it’s not just the processing power of the machines, but also the software that makes it easier to interact with the prototyping machines. While it still takes considerable training to do rapid prototyping, it no longer takes a huge team of scientists to get the computers to talk to the equipment.
Here’s something that most people don’t think about: metals keep getting better. Modern metallurgical methods have improved the molecular structure of many metals, often adding or reducing carbon in order to get the desired effect. This has led to more reliable metals that are easier to cut with less chance of failure.
Of course, when it comes to CNC machining, the bits we use are also getting better. These bits are harder than ever, staying sharp and able to work in more directions in the CNC equipment. They’re also quite expensive!
If you saw a CNC machine from the 1960s, you’d probably recognize it. But the problem is that a) you probably couldn’t program it, and b) it probably wouldn’t be up to your specifications.
As the industries we support — namely the automotive and medical industries — have gotten more complex, the need for higher tolerances has become absolutely essential to our clients. A car prototype that would have worked decades ago wouldn’t stand up to the scrutiny that they’re put under today. Simply put, the prototypes we make today are more complex and made to more exacting standards than anything done in the past.
What has made these machines better? In addition to the advanced computer control and the better bits that we mentioned above, one must consider the complexity and component so the machines themselves. Gears and belts have become more accurate, allowing more control over the movements of the bit as it works on the prototype. The
Ready To Take Advantage of Modern CNC?
If you want the best CNC prototyping around, we have just what you’re looking for. 3DM Tool has the latest and greatest machines so that we can get your prototype back to you in the shortest time possible. For the latest and greatest rapid prototyping available, contact us today!