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Which One Is Better compare Machining acrylic with 3D printing?

Precision Molding

Acrylic is available in sheets and round stock and is highly amenable to CNC machining. However, it can also be processed using other fabrication technologies like 3D printing and injection molding.

When dealing with clear acrylic parts, CNC machining has one major advantage: it is the only way to achieve perfect transparency. It can also produce very fine details. Generally, machining acrylic is preferable for high-quality parts in low to medium volumes.

3D printing offers a few unique advantages over other processes, namely speed and geometrical flexibility. But the only process suitable for PMMA is FDM, and FDM 3D printers are typically worse than SLA printers (compatible with various resins) for making transparent or translucent parts.

Injection molding is the best acrylic manufacturing process for large quantities of parts, but offers less geometrical freedom than 3D printing and cannot produce parts as detailed or as clear as CNC machining. It provides good flexibility in terms of coloration.

Machining Acrylic vs other clear plastics
Machined acrylic is desirable for its transparency, but Polycarbonate and ABS are potential alternatives to the material with their own unique advantages.


Very high level of clarity
Easy to polish
Brittle compared to PC


High impact resistance
High temp resistance
Less clear than PMMA
More expensive than PMMA

High impact resistance
Low cost
Resistant to stress cracks
Harder to color than PC

Acrylic machining with XTJ
Over the many years we have been involved in CNC machining, we have served many clients. And that diverse client base means that we have handled several complex procedures involving acrylic CNC machining.

Our staff has the skills that are needed to convert an acrylic panel into any desired shape and size. However, to ensure that our clients receive products that live up to their expectations, our professional engineers are happy to provide consultations. With this approach, we can be better placed to determine the needs of our clients and deliver CNC machined acrylic products with a guarantee of precision.

In addition to our skilled workforce, we have the right machines, cutting tools, and equipment to ensure that all of our work is of the highest quality.

Finally, all of the acrylic materials used at XTJ  have passed our selection tests, guaranteeing optimal performance. Our engineers and technicians thoroughly investigate the structural quality of any material that we take for consideration, and this approach has enabled us to produce machined acrylic products that can withstand the strain of their end use, no matter their ultimate purpose.

Machining acrylic optical components with XTJ
Machined optical components such as lens assemblies and reflectors require a great deal of attention and precision. After years of research and dedication, XTJ  has been able to drastically improve the surface of CNC milled parts, the result being a surface as transparent as the hand-polished alternative while maintaining cohesion with other parts.

When it comes to multi-components optical parts, the closer the finished components are to the design, the better the components will fit together. However, acrylic components typically require extensive manual polishing, which increases smoothness and optical clarity but reduces the accuracy of fine features and can result in ill-fitting components.

Our breakthroughs in this area are the culmination of hard work and extensive testing with many different machines.

Our engineers worked with various cutters and cooling systems, trialling several sets of parameters, to come up with the best solution. Our precisely calculated acrylic machining techniques mean it is no longer necessary hand-polish optical components and risk altering the parts in small but deeply significant ways.


XTJ is a leading OEM Manufacturer  that is dedicated to providing one-stop manufacturing solutions of Machining 6061 Aluminum  from prototype to production. We are proud to be an ISO 9001 certified system quality management company and we are determined to create value in every customer relationship. We do that through collaboration, innovation, process improvements, and exceptional workmanship.lication: Automotive industry, Bicycle and motorcycle, Door and windows and furniture, Household appliance, Gas meter, Power tool,LED lighting, Medical instrument parts, ect.



Make the best product possible with the help of our international team of experts. When you’re ready for a project review, contact us for a free quote.

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