Comparison Chart – Sheet Metal vs CNC Manufacturing Pro’s and Con’s


Aspect  Sheet Metal Fabrication CNC Machining
Process Cutting, bending, and forming sheet metal Material removal using computer-controlled tools

Suitable Materials

Metals (e.g., steel, aluminum, copper) Metals, plastics, wood, composites
Complexity Limited complexity, best for simple shapes High complexity, suitable for intricate designs
Tolerances Moderate tolerances, +/- 0.1 mm to +/- 0.5 mm High tolerances, +/- 0.025 mm to +/- 0.05 mm
Setup Time Short setup time, especially for repeat orders Longer setup time due to tooling and fixturing
Lead time

Quick turnaround for simple parts

Longer lead times due to setup and machining


Cost-effective for high-volume production

Higher cost per unit for low-volume production

Material Waste

Minimal material waste

Moderate material waste due to cutting operations

Surface Finish

Limited surface finishes without additional steps

Wide range of surface finishes achievable

Strength & Durability

Suitable for moderate strength and durability

Provides excellent strength and durability


Limited aesthetic options without additional steps

Offers greater aesthetic flexibility and detail

This comparison chart highlights the key differences between sheet metal fabrication and CNC machining, including the process, suitable materials, complexity, tolerances, setup time, lead time, cost, material waste, surface finish, strength and durability, and aesthetics. Depending on your specific project requirements, one method may be more suitable than the other.

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