What Is CNC Rapid Protoyping?

August 10, 2021 6:38 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

CNC prototyping is the process of creating a dummy product in order to test its functionality. This is a great opportunity to see what the problems with a product might be before final production begins. CNC rapid prototyping is completed using several different methods, from 3D printed prototypes to fabricated functional prototypes to digital CAD/CAM prototypes.

This process is very popular due to its consistent quality, precision and dimensional stability. Read on to find out about the specific methods used in CNC prototyping.

Design ideas

This is a crucial step in which designers or engineers create several possible product designs. These may include the positioning of figures, dimensioning, design for testing and design for manufacturing and assembly. Once you have all the possibilities, it’s time to select the most efficient one and move on to the next step.

3D file creation

CNC rapid prototyping utilizes 3D files like CAD designs. The selected design should be converted into a 3D file that shows all the final product’s features, dimensions and aesthetic specifications.

Production sequence

Once you have the 3D file in hand, the machining process for creating each feature will be defined. This includes the sequence of manufacturing steps necessary to create the product. Processes like CNC turning, CNC milling, CNC drilling and more may be involved in production.


Now that you’ve determined the sequence of processes along with tool operating instructions, you will send these to the CNC machine via a CNC program. This incudes a variety of codes that tell the CNC machine which tool it will use, as well as the travel time and distance for each tool.


The CNC program is ready, so the next step is to set the CNC machine’s numeric control panel. The workpiece should be mounted on the tool and the machine set to operating mode so the machining process can occur. Now you will have a prototype of the product, which can be a dummy or a fully functional piece that looks and works like the final product will.


This is an important and useful part of the CNC rapid prototyping process. The priority for prototyping is to see what the functionality of the product is and to discover whether there are any errors that need to be fixed before manufacturing begins in earnest. Put your product through rigorous tests to determine defects, durability, functionality and overall performance. Once the prototype has gone through these tests and been approved by product experts, then the final product can enter production.

Are you interested in CNC prototyping for your business? It’s time to find out about everything the experts at NW Metal Fabricators Inc. can do for you. We’re a family-owned business that’s been serving our loyal customer base since 1986. We specialize in the custom production of a wide range of metal products applicable to all kinds of industries and needs. Give us a call today to learn more by scheduling a consultation. We’d be glad to provide a free quote for your project!

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