CNC Machining – the Alternative Rapid Prototyping Process

You may have noticed the recent media hype concerning ‘3D Printing’ and how it has transformed the product development process. Indeed, IDC Models’ Viper SLA machine is invaluable for geometric checking of fits and producing quick visual models in support of IDC’s own in-house design team.

However, it is often the case that material selection (as well as geometry) determines a product’s ‘functionality', which is where CNC Machining comes into play.

IDC Models' Production Director, Ben May, explains:

"CNC machining parts made from a solid allows prototypes to be produced in the exact materials that will be used in production, whether these be metals such as: Steel, Aluminium and Brass, or plastics like ABS, Nylon, Acetal or Acrylic.

We always program directly from the design CAD and we have robust checking procedures to maintain and ensure design intent. CNC machining therefore allows critical dimensions to be machined ‘material safe’ in the manner of production tooling development.

Unlike 3D printing, parts can be repeatedly re-machined to achieve production quality fits and performance. More so than 3D printing, CNC machining helps determine critical fits and material suitability early on in the design process.”

IDC Models has recently augmented its established CNC machining capability with a Hurco VM10 machining centre and a Harrison Alpha 1350S turning centre bringing a higher level of precision to IDC’s CNC offer.

“Our machines have the flexibility to produce 1 off prototype components or to undertake low volume production. Moreover our prototype engineers can help you to design your parts and can support your design process by designing and building test rigs, jigs and fixtures.”

All of this is underpinned by ISO 9001 and 13485 quality assurance.

To learn more about our CNC capabilities, visit

deltaDOT electrophoresis machine parts made by CNC
10 December 2013