CNC milled prototypes are widely used in many industries for its tight tolerance, cheap and target materials, especially the functional prototypes manufacturing. Most of the exported prototypes made in China are CNC milled for the cheap labor cost and fast turnaround here. With 3D Printing technology advancing increasingly, its printing cost reduces gradually, some 3D printed plastic prototypes are more competitive than the CNC milled ones in price, then what have the CNC milled prototypes costed high?
As a custom manufacturing service, rapid prototyping is a highly labor-intensive industry that the labor takes majority of the price. For CNC milled prototype, its production cost contains three parts: Material, CNC Milling, Surface Finishing. In general, CNC Milling takes the main cost, Surface Finishing is second, Material takes a few.
Material Cost. Compared with 3D Printing material cost valued by gram, CNC prototype material not only has the target material property and also the very cheap material price valued by kilogram. CNC prototype material cost depends on the size that more bigger the prototype size, more higher its material cost. Generally, CNC prototype material costs approximate 10% of the price.
CNC Milling Cost. The CNC prototype's milling cost depends on the size, geometry and tolerance, more larger the size and complex the geometry and higher the tolerance demand, more CNC milling time and cost, particularly for milling metal parts. In general, CNC milling will take around 60% of the prototype cost.
Surface Finishing Cost. The size and finishing demand decide how the surface finishing costs, more bigger the size and complex the finishing, more higher the surface finishing cost. For the CNC milled prototypes of low finishing demand, its finishing costs generally less than 20% of the price. While for the ones of high finishing demand, its finishing will cost over than 30%, and even more than the milling cost sometimes.
For the vast majority of CNC milled prototypes, no matter the functional or visual ones, the milling and surface finishing take approximately 90% of the production cost. While for the 3D printed prototypes, the expensive material costs the majority of the price. With labor cost rising gradually here in China, the CNC milled prototypes will cost more gradually, and this is why CNC milled prototypes are increasingly expensive.