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Advantages of CNC milling over 3D Printing

Advantages of Rapid Prototyping

  • Saving of time during the design process: an earlier product introduction will give you an important time advantage over the competition
  • Saving of money by automatically creating prototypes instead of by hand
  • Improving product quality by testing and improving the design in an early stage of the design process, long before production tooling
  • Improving communication within the design team and with third parties


rotation axis machining
DeskProto fully supports the use of a rotation axis: the model rotates during machining, so it can be machined from all sides. The picture shows the finishing toolpaths.

Advantages of NC milling versus 3D Printing

  • No problems with STL files that contain inconsistencies like cracks, self-intersecting surfaces and orphan surfaces
  • Large prototypes can be easily produced, using a large CNC milling machine or by combining separate parts or separate slices (see the pudding packaging example).
  • Lower price per prototype
  • Free choice of materials
  • Free choice of accuracy: a higher accuracy than stereolithography is easy because with NC milling the prototype does not deform after creation
  • Easy transfer to production tooling, which will also be done using NC milling


machining acrylate
result in acrylate
A CNC milling machine makes it possible to choose from many different materials. Here a bottle model is being machined in acrylate (perspex). One block of material, machined from two sides.

Advantages of DeskProto versus conventional CAM software:

  • Easier to be used: while conventional CAM software requires a trained CNC operator to correctly set all parameters, DeskProto can be operated by a designer without CNC training
  • Faster operation: while using conventional CAM software it takes hours of work to create and test the milling paths, DeskProto does the job fast, fully automatically and completely reliable
  • Price: DeskProto is much cheaper than any other 3D CAM software