A wide range of materials are used in CNC machining, making it one of the most versatile methods in modern precision manufacturing. Most metals are compatible with CNC machining, alongside several plastics and polymers, and even certain foams. Your choice of material hinges on the purpose of the component, the environment in which it will be used, it’s stress load, and your production budget.
In this article, we run down the most used materials in CNC machining, providing applications for each, and introducing some of the advantages and disadvantages.
Aluminium is a soft, ductile, and easily machined metal that is suitable for a wide range of components. Its natural resistance to weathering and corrosion, and its innate antibacterial qualities, make it a popular choice for hygienic components in medical machinery, electronics, and aerospace engines. The relatively low cost of aluminium also makes it a cost-effective choice for large production runs.
Copper has one of the best levels of electrical conductivity of all the metals used in manufacturing and is a common candidate for CNC machining. The metal is easy to machine and conducts heat well, making it a popular choice for components used in heat exchangers, valves, cooling systems, and vehicle engines.
Titanium is among the hardest and strongest of metals but is also brittle – making it difficult to machine in certain circumstances. CNC machining, however, has proven capable of shaping titanium into a wide range of strong, corrosion-resistant components used in aircraft design, medical implants, and motorsport engines.
5) Carbon Steel
Most grades of carbon steel work well with CNC engineering projects, with excellent machinability and thermal conductivity. Steel alloys are perfect for components designed for use in high-stress environments, including car engines and industrial machinery.
6) Stainless Steel
Many precision engineers consider stainless steel to be the CNC machining material par excellence, due to its unparalleled versatility and ease of fabrication. Stainless steel is used in dozens of industry sectors, from handrails to hydraulic cylinders, and has an almost endless range of applications.
Nylon is one of the three non-metallic materials most commonly used in CNC machining and is relatively easy to machine. CNC-machined nylon components include rollers, insulators, and bearings, alongside various consumer products.
8) Polyester Ether Ketone (PEEK)
Polyester ether ketone (PEEK) is a ceramic thermoplastic used in several engineering applications, including connectors, sockets, piston parts, pumps, valves, and cable insulation.
Precision CNC Machining From Hone-All Precision
At Hone-All, we offer a bespoke CNC machining service, using a wide selection of materials and processes, to deliver custom products designed to your specifications. To discuss a project with one of our team, please get in touch today by phone or email.