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How To Choose The Right Material For CNC Machining

How To Choose The Right Material For CNC Machining

There are several CNC machining materials that can help bring your concepts to life in the most innovative ways. These materials allow you to create several parts with varying designs from the suitable material.

This fast-paced and high-precision CNC machining process is compatible with many materials such as metals, plastics, wood, and composites. However, choosing a suitable material for your CNC application can be complicated. To make the best choice, you need to understand the properties of each material and how best to use them.

Factors to Consider When Choosing CNC Machining Metals:

Determine and Prioritize Your Products Requirements

Product requirements are the primary aspects of CNC machining, serving as the generic model for the perfect material for your products. These requirements include the part’s industrial applications and operating environments. For example, you need to consider where the parts will be used and the presumed product characteristics like wear resistance, tensile strength, project budget, etc.

Identify Potential Materials

Once you determine the ideal requirements for your products, you can easily streamline suitable materials. You will notice that many CNC materials may fulfill some parts requirements, but very few will satisfy all. You can list these materials according to their features and compare them with your design.

Pick the Most Suitable Material

Choose the right material for your parts after checking their compatibility status. Your choice will depend on various factors, which we will discuss in the coming sections. However, there are situations when you might have to make compromises sometimes. For instance, you can place your budget above mechanical performance if it is not crucial.

Common Metal Materials For CNC Machining

  • Aluminum

Available in a range of different alloys, Aluminum is one of the most cost-effective metals for CNC machining. It has a high machinability factor which varies slightly depending on the alloy. Furthermore, there is a low raw material cost associated with this metal. There is no wonder why Aluminum is one of the most popular CNC machining metals.

Aluminum has a high strength-to-weight ratio and good corrosion and temperature resistance. Thus, many industries find a use for this incredible metal for machining. The industries include aerospace, automotive, healthcare, consumer goods, and more. At CNC Shop China, we offer a range of Aluminum alloys for CNC machining. They include the popular Aluminum 6061-T6, as well as Aluminum 7075-T6 and Aluminum 6082.

  • Brass

Brass is a copper and zinc alloy. It is a very delicate metal that can also be machined without lubrication. It is often easily workable at room temperature, so it also seeks uses that do not need high power. There are several kinds of brass, mostly based on zinc content. As this proportion increases, the resistance to corrosion decreases. Brass is sporting a high polish that looks a lot like gold. This is why it is also used in cosmetic applications. Brass is electrically conductive but not magnetic and can be easily recycled. Brass may be welded but is most commonly combined with low-temperature methods such as brazing or soldering. Another advantage of the brass is that it doesn’t flame when it’s hit with another metal. It is also found to be used for equipment in potentially explosive conditions. Interestingly, brass has inherent antibacterial and antimicrobial properties and its application in this respect is still under research. Brass is common in plumbing fittings, home decoration, accessories, zippers, military hardware, and musical instruments.

  • Magnesium

Magnesium AZ31 is an aluminum and zinc alloy. It’s up to 35% lighter than aluminum with an equal density, but it’s still a little more pricey. Magnesium is easy to machine, but it is very flammable, particularly in powder form. It has to be machined with a liquid lubricant. Magnesium can be anodized to enhance its resistance to corrosion. It is also extremely durable as a structural material and is an excellent alternative for pressure die casting. , Magnesium AZ31 is also used for aircraft parts that are more suitable for lightweight and high strength, and can also be found in power tools, housings, laptop covers, and camera bodies.

  • Stainless Steel

There are several types of stainless steel, thanks to the inclusion of chromium, which serves to prevent corrosion from oxidation. Since all stainless steels appear the same, considerable caution must be taken to evaluate incoming raw materials with current metrology devices, such as OES detectors, to check the characteristics of the steel you are using. Sulfur is also introduced in the case of 303. This sulfur helps to make 303 the most conveniently machined stainless steel, but it still appears to reduce its corrosion resistance. 303 is not a reasonable option for cold bending or heat treatment. The existence of sulfur also implies that it is not a suitable candidate for welding and that it has outstanding machining properties, however, caution must be taken with speed feeds and sharpness of cutting tools. 303 is also used with stainless steel nuts and bolts, fittings, shafts, and gears. However, it can not be used for maritime-grade fittings.

  • Carbon Steel

It’s a typical grade of mild steel. It’s normally cheaper than stainless steel, but it’s considerably heavier and thicker. It’s easy to process and solder, and it can be hardened and heat-handled for different hardnesses. 1045 Steel of the European standard C45 is used in numerous industrial products for nuts, bolts, gears, shafts, connecting rods, and other mechanical components, demanding a higher degree of strength and stainless. It is often used in construction, although when exposed to the atmosphere, it would typically be surface handled to avoid rust.

  • Titanium

Titanium is well known for its strong strength, lightweight, hardness, and corrosion resistance. It can be welded, passivated, and anodized for enhanced safety and better appearance. Titanium is not polishing particularly well. It’s a bad conductor of electricity, but a decent conductor of heat. It’s a rough substance for a system where only special cutters can be used. Titanium is usually bio-compatible and has a very high melting point, but it is more costly than other metals in industrial form. It’s really common on the surface of the planet, but it’s more challenging to refine. Titanium fits well for powder bed 3D metal printing, finding its uses in the most rigorous aerospace, military, biomedical and industrial sectors, where it is extremely immune to heat and corrosive acids.

Whether you’re designing custom putters, appliances for the kitchen, or industrial equipment for aerospace use, there is likely a material that can be CNC-machined to achieve your design.

CNC Machining Service


DFM Rapid is a CNC manufacturing and sheet metal fabrication company, including CNC machining services, CNC milling services, CNC turning services, laser cutting services, and stamping services.

DFM Rapid offers professional CNC machining and rapid prototyping service for making a wide array of product parts. Our excellent quality control systems ensure that all our deliveries are speedy and standard for every manufacturing size in both low-volume and high-volume productions. Feel free to reach out for a free quote on your project

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