Process of CNC Rapid Prototyping

Author: Date Published: Nov 09,2023

CNC Rapid Prototyping, also known as CNC-RP, is a process that combines computer numerical control (CNC) machining

with rapid prototyping techniques to quickly produce functional prototypes or models of a product.

It involves using CNC Machines, which are automated milling, cutting, and drilling machines, 

to precisely machine a physical prototype based on a digital design.

CNC Rapid Prototyping offers a fast and accurate method for creating prototypes,

allowing for accelerated product development cycles and facilitating innovation in product design.


Here is the step-by-step process of CNC Rapid Prototyping (CNC-RP):

1. Design Ideations: Product designers or engineers create multiple design concepts for the product,

considering factors like dimensions, features, manufacturing, and testing requirements.

2. Generation of 3D Files: The selected designs are converted into 3D files, typically using CAD software,

which define the specifications and dimensions of the final product.

3. Identification of Production Sequence: The machining process required to create each 

feature of the prototype is determined. The sequence of manufacturing steps, such as CNC routing,

turning, cutting, milling, drilling, is planned to ensure a seamless CNC machining cycle.

4. CNC Programming: The CNC program is created, which includes instructions in the form of G-codes and M-codes.

These codes specify the tool selection, travel time and distance, feed rate, cutting depth,

and other parameters necessary for the CNC machine to execute the machining process accurately.

Note: The programming process involves calculations for feed rates, cutting depths, travel distances, etc., 

which are incorporated into the G-codes or M-codes to create the CNC program.

5. Production (Prototyping): The CNC program is loaded into the CNC machine's control panel. 

The workpiece is securely mounted on the machine, and the machining process begins. 

Through multiple CNC machining operations, the prototype of the desired product is produced. 

The prototype can be a non-functional model or a fully functional prototype, depending on the requirements.

Note: For fully functional prototypes with mechanical linkages or interconnected components,

individual parts may be manufactured using CNC machining and then assembled.

6. Testing: Testing is a crucial step in CNC rapid prototyping. The CNC prototypes are thoroughly 

tested to evaluate their functionality, identify any defects or errors, assess durability, and overall performance. 

This step helps ensure that the desired product meets the intended design and functional requirements.

By following these steps, the CNC-RP process allows for efficient and accurate prototyping,

enabling product designers and engineers to validate their designs before moving forward with mass production.

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