Factors To Consider When Choosing Materials for CNC Machining

Factors To Consider When Choosing Materials for CNC Machining

Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machining is a swift, efficient, accurate, and versatile process. This manufacturing method is compatible with a wide range of hard and soft engineering materials, including metals, plastics, semiconductors, elastomers. It is both used in prototyping and for the production of fully functional end-use products. The success of a CNC machining project and the functionality of the produced part depend significantly on the material used. This is why material selection is an essential step in CNC manufacturing that has to be done carefully.

Several factors and requirements determine the suitable material for a CNC machining project. For example, do you need a material with excellent mechanical properties? On the other hand, is high production speed the priority? Quite often, a consideration of numerous factors determine the suitability of a material. The following factors are not exhaustive but will establish a firm foundation when selecting materials for CNC machining.

Materials selection process

To succeed in choosing the best possible material for CNC machining, you can follow these basic steps:

  • Step 1 – Determine material requirements. Consider the properties such as functionality, electrical properties, strength and hardness the material should possess to be the most suitable candidate for your project. Also, take into account the operating environment the part will be used in and the conditions it will be exposed to.
  • Step 2 – Identify potential material options. Sort out all the suitable materials according to your requirements, including the specifications of your design.
  • Step 3 – Select the most appropriate material. Choose the material which fulfils the largest number of your requirements. Sometimes a compromise needs to be made, for instance, a material with good machinability over a more low-cost one to ensure the quality of the part.
CNC machining material properties

CNC machining materials selection guidelines

Here are the most important factors to take into account when selecting the right material for CNC machining projects.

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