3D Printing vs. CNC Machining Plastic Parts

3D Printing vs. CNC Machining Plastic Parts

3D Printing Plastic Parts

Currently, 3D printing has a limited selection of plastic material options. Right now, a customer typically utilizes ABS, PLA, Wood, and Nylon for 3D printing. While CNC Machining offers a much wider array of materials.

However, 3D printing is an excellent choice when you need to create a small number of parts. This works well during the testing and prototyping phases. Since CNC machining typically has at least a ten-part minimum, 3D printing is a great option for smaller orders.

CNC Machining Plastic Parts

Once you are finished with your testing and prototyping stages, we recommend you move to CNC machining for the manufacturing of your parts due to efficiency and cost.

CNC precision plastic machining has the ability to manufacture parts in materials such as Acetal, Acrylic, Delrin, Nylon, PCTFE, PEEK, Polycarbonate, PTFE, Semitron, Techtron, Torlon, and Ultem to name a few.

CNC Machining is also more accurate than 3D printing and allows for more precise and tight tolerances. It is more accurate by + or – .05 inches.

Overall we recommend using 3D printing during prototyping and switching over to CNC Machining when you are ready to produce your parts to increase accuracy, efficiencies, and reduce costs.

1,000 Part Numbers for One Customer!

precision plastic parts over 1000 for one custoemr

Achieving a 1,000 Precision Plastic Parts Milestone

Fifteen years ago, M&R Engineering started working with an aerospace and defense company creating precision plastic parts for them. The partnership began with 300 part numbers and has now expanded to over 1,000 individual part numbers.

Keys to Success

When there are over 1,000 individual precision plastic machining part numbers to work with, it is important to understand the operational and logistical side of the equation.

Because of this, we believe a key element to the success of this partnership has been a culture of continued education for both sides. At times we advised our customer on the opportunities to switch the precision plastic parts to metal. Believing they would be better served with a precision metal part.

Our client also collaborated with us to integrate M&R Engineering into their manufacturing process. Our technology can support being an integral part of the supply chain process, as well as assisting the streamlining efficiencies. Our goal is to be your precision plastic parts partner in every way.

Precision Plastic Parts

We now make chains, nozzles, contacts, bodies, bushings, connectors and more. To learn more about our plastic and metal capabilities click here.

Local Students from Orange County Build a Robot from Scratch

Clockwork Orange Robot 2019 M&R Engineering

Every year thousands of students from around Orange Country compete in the First Robotics Competition. The parameters of the competition are to build a robot that can compete in the “game” or obstacles course. FIRST announces the parameters of the course at the beginning of each year. There are over 3,000 teams competing, and each team has only 6 weeks to create the winning robot.

Clockwork Orange – Orange County Teams

In Orange County, we have a wonderful non-profit group called Clockwork Oranges that helps our local students participate. In November of 2018 a group of local high school students decided to take on the challenge.

Now, three months later they are in the final stages of development. The robot has a PID controller, two-stage elevator capabilities, left and right auto switch scoring, can climb, as well as a pneumatic power cube collector. These attributes were thought-out and designed to specifically compete in this year’s games. The students have been able to utilize their mathematics and STEM skills in a real-world application that is not typically available at high schools.

At M&R Engineering, we have realized that the mathematics and STEM skills that the students learn while building their robot directly transfer over to valuable skills sets in the manufacturing and engineering industries. As a CNC machine shop, it has been a pleasure to watch the students grow in these areas and help foster their knowledge in ways we know will assist them in their future careers and endeavors.

How Clockwork Orange Began

Clockwork Oranges was founded in 2011 by a small group of students and professional engineers. With no resources to utilize the group started by working out of a run-down auto shop. After sourcing money from local companies that were willing to donate to their cause, the group was able to convert the old auto-shop into the robotics lab the group uses today.

Now Clockwork Oranges helps teach local kids about science, technology, engineering, project management, development, design, fabrication, assembly, graphics, and math skills, as well as soft skills like professionalism, business skills, and teamwork.

How You Can Get Involved

They are currently funded by the local community through sponsorships like the one we have committed to. As a machine shop in Orange County, we love the opportunity to help our community grow! If you are interested in getting involved and supporting our local high school community click here.