5 Best Ways to Select the Right CNC Material for CNC Machining

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is a sophisticated, precise, and highly agile method for manufacturing tools and machining parts. CNC machines have made it a simple task to manufacture any product and prototype samples with the help of a few computer commands. Unlike additive manufacturing, CNC machining employs a subtractive process to manufacture the products and tools.

CNC machining is a comprehensive process, so it uses many types of materials such as elastomers, metals, plastics, and semiconductors. It is a rapid, precise, and cost-effective method to bring ideas into the solid world. So far, the material selection for CNC machining is one of the essential parts of the manufacturing process.

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A wrong, low-quality CNC material can decrease the quality of the end product and may add more cost to your overall budget. So, to complete any manufacturing process in due time without exceeding cost and compromising quality, selecting the suitable CNC machining material is of utmost importance.

In this article, we’ll discover the best method to choose the appropriate CNC materials for CNC machining. So, without any ado, let’s jump into the CNC machining materials selection process.

CNC Machining Material Selection Process 

The CNC material selection process can often become a pain in the neck without proper guidelines. So, here are three simple steps to follow for CNC Machining Material Selection Process:

Step 1: CNC Machining Material Properties

For any CNC machining project, the material properties are hugely important. Every CNC machining project is different because of the product being manufactured and the purpose for which the final product will be used. So, it’s always the best bet to consider the materials’ strength, hardness, functionality, and electrical properties.

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In some CNC machining projects, the purpose is to get the hardest, strongest, and highly durable product; in some, you may want a prototype product. So, it all depends on the operating environment and the process employed to manufacture the parts.

Step 2: Selection of CNC machining Material

CNC machining is an extensive, sophisticated, and highly precise manufacturing process. You can use various materials such as metal, plastic, semiconductors, and elastomers. So, while selecting the suitable CNC machining material, don’t forget to consider the design and specifications of the product.

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Step 3: Finalize the CNC Machining Material Selection Process

Whichever CNC machining material you choose, make sure that it is of the highest quality possible. A low-quality material can impact the final product’s durability, functionality, and life. So, to ensure the highest level of product manufacturing experience, select the material that meets the largest number of requirements.

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5 Common CNC Machining Materials

There is a sea of CNC machining materials, but you can use only a few of them, which are robust, durable, and cost-effective. Most of the materials used in CNC machining are metals and plastics. But, then, there’re many different types of each material. So, let’s look at the 5 most common CNC machining materials used in the CNC machining process.

1. Aluminum

You can’t choose a random CNC machining material. In a cluster of CNC machining materials, the Aluminum alloy is easily available in bulk. It has a high strength-to-weight ratio and outstanding thermal and electrical conductivity. Using Aluminum in the CNC manufacturing process is a sane option as Aluminum alloys have incredibly natural protection against corrosion. You can use them in bulk; they are perfect for manufacturing prototypes and other parts.

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One flaw in Aluminum alloys may prevent you from using them in your CNC machining project. Aluminum has lower hardness and strength than steel does. However, you can anodize the Aluminum alloys to create a hard, resilient, and highly durable protective layer on the surface.

There are many different types of Aluminum alloys, such as:

Aluminum 6061 is durable, widespread, and has an incredible strength-to-weight ratio. In addition, you can use it easily because of its excellent machinability.

Aluminum 7075 is perfect for aerospace applications where weight reduction is the main concern. Moreover, you can increase its strength and hardness by properly heating it. Finally, due to its surprising fatigue properties, it is comparable to steel.

Aluminum 5083 is perfect for marine applications. If you have to use your product in seawater where seawater can corrode the material, then choosing Aluminum 5083 is the best bet.

Due to these incredible properties of Aluminum, it is widely used in CNC machining.

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2. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel alloys have high tensile strength and corrosion resistance and are temperature resistant and environmentally friendly. They are perfect for CNC machining projects as steel requires very low maintenance, and their fabrication and formability are easy. Steel alloys can be magnetic or non-magnetic, and you can select whichever suits you the best.

You can use many different types of stainless-steel alloys in CNC machining. Some of them are given below:

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Stainless steel 304 is a perfect CNC machining material if you want your product to show excellent resistance to corrosion and environmental damage. This alloy has fantastic mechanical properties. Moreover, stainless steel 304 has perfect CNC machinability.

Stainless steel 2205 Duplex is perfect for a harsh and tough environment, especially for extreme weather where the danger of corrosion always mingles over the head. This steel alloy has extensive applications in the Oil and Gas industry, where the plants need durability against all the uncertainties.

Stainless steel 303 is perfect for aerospace applications. This stainless-steel alloy has high toughness and low resistance against corrosion. So, using them in manufacturing nuts and bolts can help CNC machine operators to bring more innovation into the aerospace industry.

So, if you’re looking for a robust, durable, and highly tough material for CNC machining, then stainless steel might be the best choice.

However, product designers and material specialists should confirm the qualities of the raw steel before using it in CNC machining.

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3. Brass

Brass is an incredible alloy made from a mixture of copper and zinc. It has strong machinability and is perfect for CNC machining. If you want to manufacture your product for firearm cartridge casing, pipes and tubing, radiators, screws, and decorative items, then Brass is the best choice.

Brass also has higher malleability and acoustic properties. In addition, its resistance against corrosion is stunning, and it is a good conductor of heat. So, depending on your CNC machining project, you can use Brass alloy as a reliable CNC machining material.

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4. Titanium

Titanium is known for its high strength, flexibility, machinability, and corrosive resistance. It has a high strength-to-weight ratio. If you want to machine metals for the aerospace, medical and automotive, then Titanium is the best choice.

You can use it as a CNC machining material for airframe parts, rotors, compressors, and aircraft engines. Titanium possesses remarkable properties of welding and surface finishing. If you want high formability and mechanical performance, Titanium can help you. However, Titanium is expensive and 10x the price compared to aluminum alloys.

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Moreover, Titanium is a poor conductor of electricity, requiring special cutting tools for reliable machining. Finally, Titanium is tougher than steel and wreaks heavy wear on the CNC machining tools. So, whenever you’d select Titanium as your CNC machining material, keep these things in mind.

5. Carbon steel

Carbon steel is a tough metal and highly susceptible to corrosion. Still, it has widespread use in different industries such as architectural and other machine manufacturing processes. They are perfect for manufacturing gears, nuts, bolts, shafts, rods, and small and large mechanical parts.

Carbon steel is less expensive and has high strength and toughness compared to stainless steel. There are different types of carbon steel, such as low-carbon steel, mild carbon steel, and high-carbon steel.

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For CNC machining, using carbon steel as a CNC machining material is the best option as they have many extensive applications. Some of the applications are given below:

Low-carbon Steels are commonly used in structural shapes (I-beams and angle iron), bridge components, automobile body components, and much more. Low-carbon steel is very tough. However, after some healing treatment, it is good for use in areas mentioned earlier.

Medium-carbon steel Unlike other types of carbon steel, medium carbon steel has high strength, is corrosive resistant, and is highly tough. If you want to manufacture some machining parts for train wheels, crankshafts, railway tracks, and gears, then medium carbon steel is a perfect choice.

High-carbon steel is perfect for the machine if you want to manufacture machining parts for cutting tools. They have outstanding hardness and high wear resistance making them the ideal CNC machining material for cutting tools.

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Conclusion         

CNC machining materials can become hectic because sometimes the subtle difference between low-quality and high-quality materials can astound you. So, follow the expert guidelines of Yijin Hardware which has extensive, proven, and highly successful experience in manufacturing different industrial and commercial machining tools. In addition, there are thousands of metals, plastics, and semiconductors that you can use for your CNC machining project.

But how can you know which is most cost-effective, agile, durable, and highly suitable for use? You can’t invest your biggest sums on hunches. So, Yijin Hardware can help you identify the best CNC machining material specifically for your project. Years of experience and dealing with thousands of clients has given Yijin Hardware the quality to surpass the client’s expectations. So, next time you wander here and there in search of CNC machining material, don’t forget that Yijin Hardware has everything to help you.

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