How to Select the Right Materials for Your CNC Machining
High-quality computer numerical control CNC machining is only one aspect of creating the correct parts for a particular application. The materials chosen for machining are of paramount importance. Experienced machinists know the properties, benefits, and deficiencies of a wide variety of materials, and can select the best one for a particular part or task. Here’s a quick guide on how to select the right materials for your CNC machining project.
Consider How the Part Will Be Used
How the part or item will be used is the first consideration when selecting the right material for CNC machining. Professional machine shops create parts and components for medical devices, automotive applications, aerospace applications, mechanical operations, and more. When choosing the best material for any application, an experienced machinist will consider these and other factors:
- Weight considerations
- High-heat considerations
- High-strength considerations
- Stress load
- Tolerance for tight dimensions
- Overall functionality
Certain materials lend themselves to particular applications and uses because of their properties. Experienced machinists match projected usage to these material properties when selecting the best material for CNC machining.
Consider the CNC Machining Project Budget
The client budget is also a large factor in choosing the right material for a project. For example, high-grade aluminum or another similar alloy may be the superior choice, but the client’s budget may not allow for the higher cost. The machinist must then select a more affordable material with similar properties that will produce acceptable results.
Consider the Properties of Available Materials
Companies involved in CNC machining will not have all materials used in the industry at their disposal. Many shops specialize in certain industries or applications, and stock those materials most used for their needs. However, skilled CNC machining requires a knowledge of the basic materials used and their properties, to select the best possible material for use in a particular application.
Common CNC machining materials include:
- Stainless steel
- Mild steel
- Alloy steel
- Tool steel
Each of these materials possesses particular properties of hardness, heat resistance, strength, and others that make them better suited for numerous applications, but not the best choice for others.
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