• 3D Printer/CNC/Laser Cutter – The Ultimate Comparison Guide

3D Printer/CNC/Laser Cutter – The Ultimate Comparison Guide

If you are passionate about creating unique designs and growing as a creator, you must have stumbled upon at least one of the following machines: 3D Printer/CNC/Laser Cutter.All of these machines are made to create, but they are created in different ways.3D printers are the latest technology for “3D printing” newly designed 3D objects by extruding molten plastic through a narrow nozzle controlled by specialized software.CNC and laser cutters work by subtractive methods.
Now, here’s the subdivision; the 3D printer works by gradually adding multiple layers until the intended design is complete.While a CNC/laser cutter works like a chisel, removing excess material from an existing body to create a completely new object.
But that’s not all, there are key differences between CNC/laser cutters.CNC cutters use routers to cut and must have physical contact with the target material.A laser cutter does not require physical contact with the target material; instead, it fires a thin beam of laser light for engraving and cutting.Just like a CNC has a router for cutting, a laser cutter cuts with its laser head.Now that we can differentiate these three machines, let’s take a look at their different features and advantages one by one.
This machine is probably the most complex of the three, and the innovation behind it is relatively new.All that said, 3D printers work by simply calling them the ultimate additive manufacturing machine.It builds the product through a series of processes that involve 3D models in the computer and appropriate filaments from scratch.
The process of creating a part begins with a design you like in CAD software.Then, you feed the printer with a roll of filament of your liking.Filaments used can be ABS, PLA, Nylon, PETG and other plastics as well as metal and ceramic mixtures.After feeding the filament of your choice into the printer, it begins to heat up to a semi-molten form, now dispensed through the output nozzle, which builds the part into fine layers until done.
If you wish, you can do some post-processing stages on the finished prototype, such as filing or polishing, to smooth out the points where the layers overlap slightly for an appealing look.
This particular machine also creates great designs, but is nothing like a 3D printer.It’s used in subtractive manufacturing, and some even call it a “3D remover” because it’s the exact opposite of a 3D printer.This is an advanced computer-driven machine that makes repeated cuts to engrave your desired objects, based on your input cutting instructions and designs.The advent of CNC routers welcomed the possibility of cutting in the X, Y and Z directions simultaneously.
This machine also works on the principles of subtractive manufacturing, but its main difference from a CNC machine is its cutting medium.Instead of a router, a laser cutter cuts with a single powerful laser beam that burns and vaporizes the material to create the desired design.The important thing to note here is that heat is the main source of the CO2 laser cutter’s capability.The CO2 laser engraver can cut, engrave and mark on a variety of materials such as glass, wood, natural leather, acrylic, stone, and more.
3D printers/CNC/Laser cutters all have their own specialties and they operate differently.As the end user, you are best positioned to determine which of these three is right for your intended application.Try not to get carried away or discouraged by the price, but pay close attention to the features you want.Remember, our goal is to keep your machine functional and reliable, while producing amazing results at all times.So it’s entirely in your best interest to remain objective and pay close attention to listings throughout the search process.If you choose a CO2 laser cutter, start by taking a look at OMTech and its diverse line of laser engravers and fiber laser markers.
About Manufacturer3D Magazine: Manufacturer3D is an online magazine about 3D printing.It publishes the latest 3D printing news, insights and analysis from around the world.Visit our 3D Printing Education page to read more such informative articles.To keep up-to-date with the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, follow us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn.
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Post time: Feb-25-2022