Every industry has different manufacturing needs, and there are many options when it comes to selecting the right method to create your custom parts. We've worked with thousands of customers across industries, and consolidated key observations to help you choose the right process for your next project.
Engineers and product designers within the aerospace industry overwhelmingly utilize CNC machining for their custom parts due to the high precision and range of qualified materials and finish options. We've seen them do lots of machined work because they can design tight tolerances on metals like aluminum, steel, and titanium. For the jobs that aren't machined or fabricated using sheet metal, Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) are common choices because they allow for complexity and scalability at a lower cost.
The most popular process among engineers and product designers in the industry is Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS). Metal 3D Printing with DMLS offers strength, precision, and complex geometry for a fraction of the cost of traditional machining. For non-metal parts and prototypes, SLS 3D Printing is also a popular option. When high-precision and custom materials are the primary concern, CNC machining is still the required manufacturing method for some medical device jobs.
CNC machining is the go-to manufacturing choice for engineers in the automotive industry. When designing custom auto parts, it is important to have numerous materials to choose from, along with a variety of custom finish options. On the factory floor, automotive production engineers are taking advantage of the large build size of FDM to build purpose-built assembly jigs and fixtures up to three feet in length!
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