Hybrid CNC Manufacturing

Hybrid CNC Manufacturing

Flexible manufacturing system in support of Transcended manufacturing and ultra-personalised product fabrication.

Transcended manufacturing is a new emerging manufacturing paradigm responding to the rising need for mass personalisation and ultra-personalised products. But the one-off a kind nature of ultra-personalised make them hard to manufacture with traditional fabrication methods. Hybrid fabrication is a digital manufacturing technique that combines multiple processes to provide new process capabilities, potentially adding versatility and flexibility to the manufacturing process. In collaboration with Festo, Freek Berden researched and explored hybrid CNC manufacturing and its potential for ultra-personalised product manufacturing. 

Freek developed a hybrid fabrication workstation during his research, showcasing and kickstarting hybrid fabrication for personalised product development. The workstation addresses reconfigurability and flexibility in manufacturing and could enable smart- factories to deal with the uniqueness of ultra-personalised products.

Hybrid fabrication

Hybrid fabrication combines multiple digital fabrication methods in a single system to achieve new fabrication possibilities. In the industry, hybrid manufacturing combines additive and subtractive manufacturing processes; however, there are more opportunities for hybrid fabrication. 
Depending on the characteristics of digital fabrication techniques, combining processes could be beneficial. When complementary processes are used hybrid fabrication can enhance traditional digital fabrication processes, create new process capabilities, and provide flexibility and versatility.


Hybrid fabrication systems can be useful in multiple stages of the transcended manufacturing process. The flexibility and reconfigurability of hybrid systems allow these systems to perform similar operations as the factory. Hybrid stations can accelerate product development, providing rapid prototyping capabilities to product designers.

The new possibilities of hybrid fabrication can be deployed during manufacturing to deal with the shape complexity and uniqueness of personalised products. Hybrid machines can be used to create new processes like integrating electronics into complex products. 

In the future, the versatility of hybrid fabrication stations could also increase the factoryā€™s flexibility and versatility by adding stations to fabrication cells or using a matrix of versatile machines to make the factory more efficient and provide rapid response to consumer demand.

Exemplary product

To explore personalised product fabrication a concept for an ultra-personalised computer mouse is created, the mouse is personalisable on all of the three personalisation areas; shape, fit & performance. The production scenario uses hybrid manufacturing and the integration of electronics to fabricate personalised parts.  Hybrid fabrication enables the creation of components that are personalised in all the personalisation areas. 

Hybrid workstation

A hybrid workstation is developed that provides a framework for hybrid CNC manufacturing. The workstation uses expandable hardware and a reconfigurable toolset to create a flexible and versatile machine. The embodied workstation is aimed at the early adoption of hybrid fabrication, providing an R&D platform for hybrid and ultra-personalised product fabrication.  For validation, a prototype with an integrated electronics toolset was created to test the workstation design.

Freek (2021)