CNC Prototyping vs. DIY Injection Molding - Which One is Better to Create Prototypes for Your Project?

April 26, 2023
Natalie Thorburn


Prototyping is one of the most important aspects of any manufacturing or production process. How to get a prototype made ? You can create prototypes for your products in various ways. Some of the common methods to create prototypes are CNC prototyping and DIY injection molding.

In this guide, you will learn about the CNC prototyping and DIY injection molding methods and figure out which one is better to create prototypes for your project.,1126198988&fm=253&fmt=auto&app=138&f=JPEG?w=960&h=400

Knowing More about CNC Prototyping

CNC prototyping is a prototyping process that involves the use of CNC machining equipment to get the prototypes done. There are various CNC machining techniques you can use to create your prototypes based on your needs, such as CNC turning, milling, EDM, drilling, and grinding.

CNC prototyping offers you a wide range of applications, allowing you to create various prototypes for a wide range of industries, such as automotive, consumer electronics, medical, aerospace, and construction industries. This is the prototyping method that uses the subtractive manufacturing process, and with this method, you can produce prototypes with superior accuracy and precision.

Knowing More about DIY Injection Molding

DIY injection molding is the type of injection molding process that you can do by yourself at the comfort of your home. It is similar to plastic molding, with the only difference being that you are doing the entire process yourself. With this process, you will use 3D printing equipment to create the molds or prototypes you would like to produce. You will supply your design to the 3D printing equipment and get your prototypes done in just a few minutes.

In DIY injection molding, you can use various plastic material types that are compatible with your 3D printing equipment. This prototyping process is cheaper and faster to perform, meaning that you can keep your production process within your budget and deadline. You can also get your prototypes printed one by one and get them ready as soon as possible.

CNC Prototyping Advantages

With the programmable and computerized process, CNC machining can provide you with plenty of advantages when you produce your prototypes. What are the most common advantages of CNC prototyping? Here’s the list of the most common CNC prototyping advantages:

  • Minimal chance of defects. With CNC prototyping, you will have zero to minimal chance of defects in your prototypes, meaning that your prototypes will always follow your design to the letter. CNC machining is programmable, and it is a computerized process that will give minimal chance of failures in its calculations.
  • Best accuracy for every cut. CNC prototyping will allow you to create accurate cuts for your prototypes. So, no matter the materials you use and the size of your prototype, cutting accuracy is always possible with CNC prototyping.
  • Cost-effective and efficient production process. CNC prototyping offers a fast and efficient production process, allowing you to create quick prototypes for any industry within a tight deadline. Also, the process is cost effective, so you can budget your project and keep the prototyping process done within your budget.
  • Low energy and greener for the environment. CNC prototyping equipment uses low energy to operate, meaning you don’t need to pay too much for the energy bills for each process. Also, because there will be minimal waste materials, you don’t need to worry about damaging the environment while doing this process.
  • Material varieties. In CNC prototyping, you can choose from among various material types, such as metals, ceramics, woods, plastics, and many others. So, you can produce prototypes in a wide range of applications for any industry.
  • Varieties of CNC machining methods. To create the shapes you want for your prototypes, you can use various CNC machining techniques, such as milling, turning, cutting, grinding, and others. These techniques will give you a lot of flexibility to create various shapes with complex geometric designs.

DIY Injection Molding Advantages

DIY injection molding allows you to create prototypes of hardware parts and components at home, so you can do it at your own pace based on your requirements and needs. Here are some advantages of the DIY injection molding method:

  • In-house molding. With DIY injection molding, you don’t need to own a manufacturing facility just to perform the injection molding process. You can create your own molds using a 3D printer and design your own hardware parts and components in the comfort of your home.
  • Limitless mold variations. The only limit is your own imagination. You can create molds for various purposes, whether it is for a hobby or a business. Want to create a mold to replace your broken electronic components or toys? You can do it by using the DIY injection molding process.
  • Quick setup. DIY injection molding is an in-house production process that you can do by yourself, and you can set this up fast. You just need to prepare your CAD software to design the molds and a standard 3D printer to print it.
  • Low-cost injection molding setup. To perform the DIY injection molding process, you will need to use ready-made plastic materials that are compatible with your 3D printer. After that, you can mix and match different plastic materials to produce various hardware prototypes based on your design requirements.
  • Do It Yourself. DIY injection molding is the injection molding process you can do by yourself, so you don’t need to have a large manufacturing facility to do this. So, in terms of simplicity and cost-effectiveness, DIY injection molding can help you produce the prototypes you want by yourself, with a fast, affordable, and efficient process.
  • Great for plastic materials. There are plenty of plastic material options you can use to create prototypes using the DIY injection molding method. It’s also very simple to use, as you just need to insert the plastic materials into the 3D printing equipment.

Which is the Best One to Create Prototypes for Your Project?

For those who are in need to produce prototypes for commercial or business uses, CNC prototyping will be the most ideal method to use. CNC prototyping allows you to create accurate and precise prototypes for any size, meaning that you can rely on its accurate measurements in the final products. Also, with CNC prototyping, there will be minimal or no defects for the prototypes, allowing you to combine them with other components or parts, so you can test them out for their features.

Meanwhile, for hobbyists that are trying to get the cheapest and most functional prototypes made for their projects, they can go for the DIY injection molding method. This method is also an excellent choice if you only need to produce a small number of prototypes. You can get your prototypes ready just by using 3D printing equipment and CAD software. You will also have plenty of flexibility to get creative with your prototypes.


Between CNC prototyping and DIY injection molding, you can choose the best prototyping method based on your needs. Each method offers their own benefits, such as the case with CNC prototyping that offers accuracy and precision and DIY injection molding that offers fast and cost-effective production.

You can pick between the two options according to your design requirements and the purpose of the prototyping process. DIY injection molding is best for small-scale prototyping projects, while CNC prototyping is best for wider-scale prototyping projects.


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