CNC VS 3D Printer: Best Guide You Need to Know


The CNC vs 3d printer debate has been around for years. With the CNC machine costing over $100,000 and the 3d Printer being less than $2000,

It’s no wonder that there are so many people who have yet to make a decision about which one is right for their project.

There are some significant differences between these two machines, but they both have their benefits depending on what you need them for. Read this article to see if CNC or 3d printing might be the best option for your business.

Which one will it be, CNC Machine vs. 3d Printer? In today’s world of fast-paced innovation and new technology trends, this debate has been going on for a long time now.

But before we get into the pros and cons of each product, let us first explore what these two devices can offer you as their users/customers in terms of functionality: 


The CNC machine is a sophisticated piece of equipment that performs complex machining operations with the help of cutting tools and spinning ones.

It’s capable of precision on wood, metal, or plastic material as well as other types such as acrylics and polycarbonate plastics used in cars.

This material is used in cars to make them strong enough against dents without denting themselves back up again after hitting someone else’s vehicle hard enough so they can see stars through their rearview mirror – not incredible.

Aluminium is also has been used, it helps recycle valuable items while keeping us diverse makers happy because we all love exploring how our creativity shapes different materials at home or in the office.

The CNC machine is a sophisticated tool that requires skill to use.

First, there’s the matter of finding just what material will be best for your specific project and then choosing from among countless options available in terms of size or shape; this can take hours!

It would help if you also had some level-headedness as you go through each stage, such as deciding how much depth should exist between cuts before moving on to another section.

CNC vs 3D Printer
About CNC


  • Relatively inexpensive compared to other machines on the market, CNC routers are usually available for less than $2000 with a range of accessories included. It can cut or shape metal, plastic, and wood depending on your project needs.
  • The CNC milling machine has been around much longer than CNC routers which means CNC mills are more reliable, precise, and have a longer lifespan.
  • CNC routers are designed for smaller projects, which means you don’t need to spend hundreds or even thousands on a CNC router that can easily handle large-sized projects!
  • If your project requires cutting through metal efficiently and precisely, CNC milling machines would be necessary, but CNC routers are perfect for wood, plastic, and other non-metal materials. 
  • CNC mills are great if your project requires working with metal materials because CNC routers often have issues when it comes to cutting through thicker pieces of metals or even thick wood without chipping the edges since their bits are not big enough.
  • CNC machines come in handy, especially when working with thicker metals since CNC routers are not designed for this cutting precision.
  • CNC routers tend to have the most straightforward designs compared to CNC milling machines which mean they’re easier and faster to set up and start working on your CNC projects.
  • They also tend to work faster since CNC milling machines take a lot longer for the bit to reach its target depth, whereas CNC routers have much higher RPMs, meaning they can cut or shape materials faster within a shorter time frame general.


  • The CNC router can be a bit loud and messy, which might not work for everyone.
  • Another con is the CNC router usually needs an air filtration system to prevent particles from being inhaled while cutting metal or wood materials.
  • CNC mills are also loud, so if you want to work on some wood projects or don’t want your spouse thinking there is an aeroplane taking off in the garage, then CNC routers might be better options.
  • CNC machines can be loud depending on the model you buy, so keep this in mind if noise is an issue at your workplace or home.
  • If a CNC milling machine is more up your alley, CNC routers might not be for you.
  • CNC mills are usually much more significant, which means they take up more space on your workbench or garage floor – if that’s where you plan to use it, especially when compared to CNC routers.
  • They are also much more expensive as CNC mills can sometimes cost thousands of dollars, so CNC routers may be a better option financially for those on a budget.
  • CNC routers are not as precise and efficient when it comes to cutting or shaping materials compared to CNC milling machines which means CNC mills will be better options if precision is a priority.
  • CNC routers also can heat up faster than CNC milling machines because their bits move at such high speeds, so you want to make sure you keep an eye on CNC routers after use to avoid any accidents from occurring.

3D Printing

3-dimensional printing has come a long way since it was first introduced in the 1980s.

3D printers produce solid objects layer by layer using different materials like plastic filaments, resins, or metal powders that get melted together and then extruded onto the build plate, where they harden instantly into the completed product! 

Nowadays, there is an affordable ($ 3000) desktop version of this technology that can do the most common job onsite without having skilful craftsmen available worldwide while also producing them locally, providing more sustainability.

Hence, if you want your business involved with the green building movement, consider purchasing one today.

Also Read, The Best 3D Printer for Jewelry: Reviews and Tips

The 3D printing process is easy to use but more time-consuming. You will need to prepare the file once and choose an orientation of how you want it printed on your Printer’s build tray before setting up all support structures required for parts with high geometric complexity like those created by this technology.

Once everything has been set up correctly in terms of size guidelines and what type/amount of materials should be used during each stage, depending on where they’re being placed within certainoko models, wait until it’s done!

CNC vs 3D Printer
About 3D Printer


  • 3D printers are an innovative and accurate way to create three-dimensional objects using plastics, metal alloys, or food-grade bio-inks. 
  • 3D printers can be used for many different purposes, such as prototypes in manufacturing processes which helps save time before investing too much money on production tools.
  • Creating lightweight parts that don’t add unnecessary weight when printing bulky components like brackets, so they’re easier to handle during installation without numbers getting in your workspace’s way.
  • Rapidly fabricating designs by using computerized models instead of having actual tooling sitting around taking up valuable space while also speeding up turnaround times, significantly reducing costs associated with w/larger projects


  • The limited number and slow speed of existing machines make it difficult for companies to produce at a reasonable cost.
  • The accessibility problem is that accessibility can be limited because these machines may not exist in low poverty regions where the need is most urgent, which would mean there’s less opportunity than if they were present everywhere.

Similarities between CNC and 3D

CNC vs 3D Printers; The CNC Machine and the 3d Printer are both limited by their tools. The size of these tools can be changed on a whim.

Still, it is not always easy for them to adjust tool sizes due to some limitations such as Service Temperatures or Material Compatibility with different materials like plastic vs. metal.

The two machines also share some similarities: they’re compatible (to varying degrees) with many types/colours of polymer plastics; both have temperature ranges where the operation would neither damage nor improve printed parts quality.

Difference between CNC and 3D

CNC vs 3D Printers; While 3D printing is a form of additive manufacturing, it has more in common with subtractive methods such as CNC machining.

Unlike metal cutting, where blades cut through materials to make parts, the printer deposits layers upon one another using plastics filaments or powders, which can be easily replaced when needed for new designs- saving time and money on raw material costs alone.

Additionally, there’s no need to operate any tools outside your workspace since they’re computerized.

So you don’t have to worry about getting dirty from holding onto workpieces while using dangerous equipment near humans who may not know what might happen if something goes wrong due to only being able to remove themselves just enough away before things.

The 3D Printer in SLS and DMLS are weak when printing large parts due to their reduced build volume.

CNC machining, on the other hand, can handle components with extra smoothness, making it more efficient for specific applications like automotive manufacturing, where rapid production is needed, but detail work isn’t necessarily desired.

CNC machines use faster methods than SLA/DLP printers because they require less material, resulting in shorter wait times between jobs (and savings on energy costs).

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