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How to select the right rapid manufacturing process

by Joseph Mireles

When people think of producing in mass, the traditional manufacturing methods still pop up in their minds. However, with the way technology, science, and innovation is going, rapid manufacturing is slowly giving traditional methods the gap it deserves. It has become an important part of production and design that allows businesses to actualize their ideas without breaking the bank.

Rapid manufacturing focuses more on 3D printing (which is otherwise known as additive manufacturing), CNC machining, rapid tooling, and vacuum casting. People love this process because it quickly and easily creates a product or physical production from a 3D CAD model. Do you have more questions? Go here. 

In times past, people only used rapid manufacturing only for testing and prototyping because other technologies couldn’t affordably produce large volumes. But nowadays, there have been great improvements in tolerances, materials, price levels, speed, etc. So, that’s no longer the case.

If you’re still thinking of whether to use traditional methods or rapid manufacturing, here are some types of rapid manufacturing processes that are sure to capture your attention, with their advantages

Ready? Let’s delve in.

Types and Advantages of Rapid Manufacturing Processes

1. Additive manufacturing

This is the most popular and widely used rapid manufacturing process. It functions by building up the model layer-by-layer. Additive manufacturing embodies several processes which include SLM, SLA, and FDM technologies.

What are the advantages?

  • It takes the shortest time: People don’t call it the rapid manufacturing process for nothing. This 3D printing technology has a fast turnaround time. If you want your job to be done quickly, the additive manufacturing process is your best bet
  • There is concept proof: Before this manufacturing process came to be, lots of engineers and designers had to depend on simulation and digital analysis to check if a design is viable and authentic. But with the additive manufacturing process, it’s super easy.

2. CNC Machining

This rapid manufacturing process uses a milling head to carve out and create a specific design from a solid material brick. CNC machining is regarded as subtractive manufacturing when compared to additive manufacturing. They have different advantages which include:

  • Replicate products severally: This is one of the major advantages of CNC machining. It can produce high volumes of the same part. This manufacturing process is best for people who want to replicate their parts severally.
  • There is great production flexibility: there is more flexibility using this method and the process is done with great consistency and high precisions
  • You can completely skip the prototyping phase

3. Rapid tooling and vacuum casting

Rapid tooling and vacuum casting embody several manufacturing services. They are both good when it comes to creating iterate molds. Vacuum casting is done when a two-piece mold placed in a vacuum chamber and draws molten metal to itself. It then solidifies in an oven. Rapid tooling creates a building core and cavity to produce a functional result.


  • Fast turnaround time: Although it’s not as fast as additive manufacturing, it ensures that the turnaround time doesn’t go beyond two weeks. This helps you to plan and get your product to the market within the shortest possible time
  • High repeatability
  • Affordable tooling and molds.

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