2. CNC prototyping

In a fast-paced world of exciting new inventions and developments, scientists, engineers, and designers often require a model of a system or tool. Whether it is toys or nuclear weapons, engineers create a prototype part first. It is rarely an exact duplicate of the finished object or product. Components that can be prototyped include castings and molds. With modern CNC prototype companies, machines feature 5-axis capability. The machines are also easily programmed using 3D drawings and (depending on the complexity of the required part) can generate prototype components at a lower price. So, which are the best CNC prototyping companies?

CNC Turned Parts and Freeform Manufacturing

Turning has conventionally been used in designing and making shafts, spheres, bushings, threads, and tapers. These are all components that feature a symmetry axis. With the incorporation of CNC, the ability to produce custom parts has dramatically increased. Milling heads can be inserted into revolver heads of machining tools to turn them into milling centers with turning heads. This allows components such as gears, turbine blades, crankshafts, and compressor wheels to be manufactured in a single instance setup. Since finished goods are becoming increasingly complex, prototyping companies can’t make them out of smooth freeform surfaces anymore. Time is money for these companies, so Computer-Aided Manufacturing is applied to produce tool paths for the desired surface. It is up to the prototyping companies to choose the right cut parameters and select the appropriate material.

The best prototyping companies in the market

  • 3ERP – A Chinese rapid prototyping company, 3E Rapid Prototyping (3ERP), is ISO9001-2015 certified company. Their philosophy is grounded in the 3E’s, which are Efficient, Excellent, and Economic. The prototyping company does high-quality rapid prototyping. Services offered include vacuum casting, 3D printing, sheet metal prototyping, plastic, and aluminum extrusion, pressure dies casting, and tooling & injection molding. As a client, 3ERP can take your 3D visualization to the final object or even help you do a product presentation about a conceptual product.
  • Schmit Prototypes – founded in a garage in 1980, Schmit has gone on to become a world leader in rapid prototyping. They’re renowned for high-quality prototype parts and efficient customer service. Schmit promises close collaboration with the client team to ensure deliverables are met in a cost-effective and time-conscious manner. Located in Wisconsin, the company offers 3D file development and full-scale production. They do not have a minimum quantity order.
  • PRG Prototyping – Specializes in the design and development of new products. They cater to everyone: inventors who can only afford a startup budget, budding entrepreneurs, and experienced businesses. Patent attorneys buy their custom prototypes, and the team keeps clients updated weekly by emailing 3D CAD drawings to you. All team members hold degrees in plastics, mechanical, manufacturing, and electronic engineering. Included as a standard in proposals are material selection and manufacturing prices. The team strives to keep all client concepts and ideas confidential.


Before any new specification part or machine component is developed, a prototype needs to be created first. This is where prototyping companies shine. Some of the best prototyping companies in the market include Schmit Prototyping, 3ERP, and PRG Prototyping.

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Lucas Lawless is an engineering customer and has been involved in industrial manufacturing for 8 years. He is a graduate of Columbia University with a deep knowledge base and innovative research. He is well versed in CNC rapid prototyping tools and engineering equipment.