RE: CNC versus Rapid Tooling from RP

From: Tim Plunkett (
Date: Thu Feb 18 1999 - 20:19:07 EET


        References no, practical experience yes!

        CNC is improving but like the early days of SL, the machine speed was
irrelevant until Solid Concepts came up with Bridgeworks. In the CNC arena
the real development continues to be in the programming side, sure we used
42,000 rpm, feed rates up to 20m/min and cutters down to sub 0.5mm and we
could machine a lot, quickly, in ally, P20 or H13. The bottleneck was in the
programming even with superb tools like Powermill. As soon as multiple set
ups are required the time goes up again. Throughout this the programmer or
machine is only working on one component.

        The RP technologies have the capability to work on multiple components
simultaneously and with little (relatively speaking) prep time. Therefore in
theory RP derived tooling should be less expensive to produce. (I accept the
machines are more expensive than CNC, even HSM, but their utilisation is
potentially greater and throughput higher.)

        Hence while I would query the use of RP derived tooling in fully fledged
production applications it most certainly has a role in product development
now and well into the future. If you define this as a niche........! My
belief is that this type of tooling currently represents a threat to where
we apply RTV moulding.

        The keys have to be cost and capacity, (clearly linked) and as usual
experienced people.

        Beyond current commercially available technology the situation will change
again but lets make sure we do not seek one panacea for all problems, it
will be an illusion!!

Tim Plunkett

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of
Sent: 18 February 1999 09:32
Subject: CNC versus Rapid Tooling from RP

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