3D Print or Rapid Prototype

3D Print

3D print is also known as 3D printing or rapid prototype. It covers a variety of processes in which material is joined or solidified under computer control. It proceeds with the material being added together, (typically layer by layer) to create a three-dimensional prototype. 

The earliest 3D print can be traced back to photosculpture technique found by François Willème in 1980. After SLA technique founded by Charles W.Hull, 3D print started to be advocated and become more and more popular because of its low cost and fast production time.

Rapid prototype brings many conveniences but the finished goods tolerance depends on machine sorts. Worse one causes finished goods to lose precision or deforming.

RP Illustration

Currently, the precision and repeatability of the 3D printing technology have gradually made progress and been considered viable as an industrial production technology. Individuals or Enterprises often use 3D printing to produce complex shapes or geometries instead of CNC machine processing.

There is a misunderstanding that 3D print technology can totally replace CNC processing. Actually, it is better to think both as complementary production tools because of their different processing principles.


The most commonly used 3D Printing processes are FDM (a material extrusion technique), LOM(Laminated Object Manufacturing), DLP(Digital Light Processing), SLA(Stereolithography), etc.

SLA uses photochemical processes by which light causes chemical monomers to link together to form polymers.

JIERCHEN Prototype commonly offers the SLA processing of 3D Printing to solve our clients'(especially for students and RDs) urgent problems if needed due to its economical price and shorter formed time compared to CNC processing.

We suggest choosing CNC processing to make a 
CNC prototype if you put emphasis on situations below:
1. Product precision and rigorous tolerance demand.
2. Special surface finishing service demand.
3. Aspherical structure and non-hollowing products.
4. More simple or large sized products.

There is the superiority in the situations mentioned above by CNC machining and it is probably more economical than the rapid prototype technique.

If your product is complex structured, global or hollow, 3D printing is preferred.


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