Custom manufacturing is a method of creating prototypes and custom products. It does not involve the use of a single manufacturing method. Instead, various custom manufacturing techniques can be applied. Some of these techniques will be discussed below.
Custom manufacturing techniques
The most popular custom manufacturing techniques are:
1. Rapid prototyping
This is a manufacturing technique used for making physical parts and models using 3D Computer Aided Designs. The process is usually achieved through additive manufacturing. Various techniques, like 3D printing, can be used in rapid prototyping. The primary role of rapid prototyping is that it helps designers and engineers to create test products or prototypes for investors, test clients, and manufacturers.
2. CNC machining
This is a manufacturing process that also uses Computer Numerical Controlled machines like mills and lathes. CNC machining tools use instructions from computers to manufacture various products. This technique is applied in various industries like automotive, aerospace, agriculture, and the construction industry. The primary advantage of CNC machining is that it can be used to create components and parts that would be impossible to manufacture manually.
3. Vacuum casting
Vacuum casting is the process of making a silicone mold based on the sample of an original product in a vacuum state. The method is used when air entrapment is a challenge with the mold. Vacuum casting is an ideal custom manufacturing or prototype manufacturing method for plastic parts. The process can be applied when intricate part details and undercuts need to be achieved on a mold. It is a very versatile yet overlooked manufacturing process.
4. Plastic injection molding
This is a manufacturing technique used to produce parts through the injection of molten material into a mold, which can later be used to create various parts. The process can manufacture a wide range of products like metals, glasses, thermoplastics, confections, and elastomers. Granular or pelleted plastic resin can be applied in the process. Injection molding is a speedy manufacturing method. It allows for the production of high quantities of products in a short amount of time.
5. 3D printing
Another popular custom manufacturing technique is 3D printing. It is an additive manufacturing process used to make three-dimensional parts from a digital file known as CAD. The object is created by creating layers of the raw material until an entire product is achieved. The products are created from various types of 3D printing materials known as filament. The process is advantageous because it promotes less wastage of materials. However, its main downside is that it can take a long time to create a part as compared to the other methods mentioned above.
The methods mentioned above are applied in a wide range of industries. This includes medical, automobile, aerospace, toy manufacturing, and several other industries. Note that the custom manufacturing technique you choose will be determined by the type of product and design you want to achieve. The product size will also influence your choice. For instance, CNC machining is great for large parts, while 3D printing would be suitable for small parts.