Computer Numerically Controlled Machining is a methodology that has been around for more than 40 years. Today, CNC is also referred to as "Subtractive Rapid Prototyping." Once reserved for high end, high-precision aerospace industries, the technology has been brought into Anza's product development shop to be an option for model making or short run production processes.
The benefit of CNC is its ability to cut models/prototypes quickly from "real" engineered plastics, metals or other model oriented materials. For material specific needs, CNC is just about the only option. For example, if a mechanical part is specified to be 6061 aluminum then this actual material can be used to create the part. The same is true for an engineered resin such as UHMW. However, engineered metals and plastics are not the only area this process excels. In design development, it is common to need a quick “form study”. In these cases, “rigid model plank” can be cut very quickly. Depending on the need, materials from 10lb density to over 40lbs are used to create shapes for design evaluation. A typical case would be a personal care product such as a shampoo bottle. There may be as many as 50 design concepts; they all hold shampoo but they all look very different. CNC is a good choice to economically create these forms for design evaluation. Another industry that uses CNC quite often is the metal casting and roto-molding industries. In both cases, robust patterns are needed to make molds from. More rigid materials, like 42lb model plank, are a good choice for this application.
Anza's CNC capabilities include cutting materials dry up to 4’ x 8’. Or in fully enclosed machining centers allowing for appropriate fluid assist for chip removal and cooling of the cutter bits. Cutting wet, the maximum size is 20” x 40”.