Choosing the Correct Manufacturing Materials is Critical


Choosing the correct manufacturing materials is critical for a successful CNC machining project. CNC machining is basically a subtractive process, meaning that a technician begins with a block of manufacturing material and reduces it gradually in a controlled method to produce the desired product. Because a wide variety of manufacturing materials are available for high-speed CNC machining, matching the material to the job is essential. 

Selecting the correct manufacturing materials is more than choosing something sufficient for the project – a skilled engineer or technician will weigh several factors and choose the material that is best suited for the overall desired and planned result. 


Basic Criteria for Choosing Manufacturing Materials 

Balancing the essential factors that determine the best-suited manufacturing materials for any job requires knowledge, skill, and an understanding of the parameters surrounding the entire project. Common questions to ask will focus on factors like:

    1. Function – What do we need this product to do?
    2. Durability – How long should this finished product last?
    3. Aesthetics – What is the product’s desired appearance? 
    4. Consistency/Performance – What will this product be exposed to? How should it hold up over time? 
    5. Cost – What is the client’s budget for this product? 
    6. Material strength – What are the tension, pressure, and static loads this product will face?
    7. Corrosion resistance – What elements will the product be exposed to that can impact its lifespan and/or performance?
    8. Weight – Is there a specified weight for this product? 
    9. Finish options – Are there specific finishes that enhance the product’s appearance or usability?
    10. Malleability – Does this product need to be flexible or easily joined to other products? 

Balancing these and other specific factors are everyday real-world challenges faced by
modern-day machine shops. 

Common Manufacturing Materials Used in Modern CNC Machining

Some of the more common manufacturing materials seen in modern CNC machining include: 


Aluminum boasts a good strength-to-weight ratio, resistance to corrosion, and high thermal and electrical conductivity, but can be cost-prohibitive. It also doesn’t resist saltwater and some chemicals well. 

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel alloys are strong and resist wear, corrosion or distortion, but cannot be heat treated, welded, or cold-formed. 


Titanium alloys are tough, strong, lightweight, and corrosion-resistant. Titanium is twice as strong as aluminum, but only a little over half as dense. It can also be cost-prohibitive. 

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is less expensive than most manufacturing materials, but is strong and tough, weldable, easily machined, and can be heat treated or otherwise treated to increase hardness. It is very susceptible to rust and corrosion. 


Copper and copper alloys are commonly used in electrical applications because they are superior electrical and thermal conductors. Copper also boasts a high impact strength but is not so good for resisting corrosion. 


Plastic is a general classification that includes various types and grades of synthetic/semi-synthetic materials. They are mainly made from polymers and can be chemical resistant, electrically insulating, moisture resistant, friction resistant, heat resistant, and lightweight. 

Precision Repairs and Maintenance for CNC Machining 

Whatever manufacturing materials your machine shop routinely uses, you need to keep your complex CNC machinery operating at optimal condition. Accurate Machine Tool Services offers reliable electrical and mechanical repairs and preventive maintenance packages that can be tailored to your specific shop’s machines, budget, schedule, and needs. 

Contact us today for more information about our fast and reliable repair services, or schedule routine preventive maintenance to keep your machine shop running smoothly.