Material Selection Guide for CNC Machining

CNC machining has been popular in various manufacturing industries owing to the distinct advantages that they offer. Turning, milling, drilling, prototyping, etc are the types of machining that can be performed by using CNC machines. All these techniques can be performed in a short duration with the utmost ease. These machines assure precision but also require correct inputs in terms of dimensions, materials, and other features. It is very important to select the right materials for achieving the expected quality of CNC production. CNC machines offer compatibility with a vast range of materials including metals, semiconductors, plastics, etc. Yet the material selection is one of the important criteria. Therefore, this post presents material selection guidelines for effective CNC machining.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Material for CNC Machining Project

As discussed earlier, CNC machines are designed to support various types of soft and hard materials but that doesn’t ensure your project success. Consideration of the following factors will help you with the right selection.

  • Purpose of the Machined Component:

    The first material selection consideration must be addressing the purpose of the component being machined. CNC machines are used for manufacturing a wide range of products across industries like mechanical, aeronautical, automobile, electronic, etc. The utilization of a machined component will help you make the right decision. Along with this, it is also important to address if the component will have multiple uses or not. For example, the Aerospace industry demands lightweight yet strong material for production. Therefore, whole metals may not be material for aerospace but composite materials can be.

  • Operational Environment:

    The material must be selected according to the operational environment. Sometimes the machined components may be exposed to chemicals, moisture, high-temperature air, etc. Therefore, these conditions must be considered while selecting the material. For instance, if the CNC machined component is being used in equipment used near water bodies or in environments laden with moisture, then the material must be corrosion and chemical resistant. In these cases, different grades of steel or plastic may be a suitable option.

  • Operational Stress and Strain:

    A CNC machined component may be exposed to high or fluctuating operational stress and strain. In such cases, it is important to choose a material that can sustain such stress and strain. In stress and strain oriented conditions metal alloys with good bend and stress resistance can be a suitable choice.

    In other scenarios, if CNC machined components are expected to work under high stress, then load stress relation must be taken into consideration. Heavy material generally withstands higher stress. However, if the application is a weight-sensitive, then lighter material with excellent bend and cracks resistance must be chosen

  • Dimensional Stability and Tolerance:

    Often industries like aerospace demand precise dimensioning and stability in components. In such cases, a material with the least deformation factor must be selected. In order to achieve precise dimensions and dimensional stability, the material must have high machinability. Therefore, the material with high machinability and less deformation factor must be selected to work on the CNC machine.

As material selection guidelines are detailed, it is important to understand that product quality depends on the utilization of the right CNC machines as well. CNC is a precise and purpose-centered machining technique that must be performed by experts for desired results. BDE Inc is a CNC machine shop in Oregon that has been supporting clients across industries by providing customized CNC components. They have been offering CNC machine components made of stainless steel alloys, brass alloys, semiconductors, plastic, etc, for several years now.

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