CNC Machining Materials: Choosing the Right Materials for CNC Machining Project

CNC Precision Machining Lathe Machining Metal Parts, Yong Lihao Machinery's Cnc Manufacturing Capabilities for Multiple Materials

CNC machining is a highly accurate, flexible, and efficient machining process. It is capable of producing complex parts with tight tolerances. Compared with traditional manual machining. CNC machining has a higher degree of automation. It allows the machining of many materials. These include metals like aluminum and stainless steel, as well as plastics and composites. In this article, Yonglihao Machinery explains the process, material compatibility, and applications in detail. Helping you make the most informed choices for your future parts processing.

Table of Contents

CNC Machining Processes

In modern manufacturing, CNC machining offers three main processes: CNC milling, turning, and 5-axis CNC machining. Each process uses a computerized CNC system to turn raw materials into products. But, they differ in machinery, application, and best product type. Here’s a breakdown of the specifics we’ve compiled:

CNC Milling: CNC milling is like drilling and cutting. But, it can move along different axes. This lets it make a variety of shapes, slots, holes, and details in a workpiece. Milling machines can machine many materials, from plastics to metals. They are very versatile for machining parts with complex shapes. The milling method chosen depends on the need for cutting accuracy. It also depends on the complexity of the part design.

CNC Turning: CNC turning involves rotating the workpiece. The cutting tool moves straight. This process is ideal for machining parts with cylinders. It is used for shafts and knobs. Turning (or lathe) machines are great at making parts quickly. They do this better than milling, especially for parts with simpler shapes.

5-Axis CNC Machining: 5-axis CNC machining offers high precision and flexibility. Unlike 3-axis machines, 5-axis machines can rotate in two more axes. This allows the cutting tool to approach the part from almost any direction. This feature reduces the need for multiple setups. It cuts errors and saves time. Five-axis machining is critical for complex aerospace and automotive parts. They need multi-dimensional features and tight tolerances.

CNC milling machine in action - Yonglihao Machinery's advanced cutting and forming processes

Material Selection for CNC Machining

Choosing the right material is critical in CNC machining. It greatly affects the function, durability, and cost of parts. The process involves evaluating the part requirements. It considers the environmental factors the product will face. It combines these factors with budget limits to pick the best material.

Metals: Metals like aluminum, stainless steel, and titanium are favored for their strength, durability, and heat resistance. This makes them ideal for aerospace, automotive, and medical uses. Aluminum is lightweight. It is also easy to machine. This reduces manufacturing time and costs.

Plastics: Plastics, like ABS, nylon, and PEEK, offer unique advantages. They are corrosion-resistant, light, and flexible. Plastics are cheaper than metals. They are used in consumer electronics, automotive parts, and prototypes. These parts need complex shapes.

Composites: Composites are engineered materials. They are made from two or more components with very different properties. In CNC machining, composites can offer specific properties. These include higher strength-to-weight ratios, corrosion resistance, and thermal stability. These are for specialized areas like aerospace and high-performance automotive engineering.

Close-up of a high-speed CNC milling machine spraying coolant

In-depth Analysis of CNC Machining Materials

Yonglihao Machinery recommends careful consideration when choosing materials for CNC machining. Consider their properties and applications. This is to ensure the final product meets all needed specs and quality standards. The next sections describe common metals and plastics used in CNC machining. They also cover unique materials like copper and brass. The emphasis is on their specific uses.


Aluminum: Aluminium is widely admired for its light weight, strength, and corrosion resistance. Aluminum is easy to work with. This makes it popular for aerospace, automotive, and consumer electronics. These are areas where low weight and durability are key.

Stainless Steel: Stainless steel, including grades like 304 and 316, is known for its strength. It also resists corrosion and high temperatures. It is commonly used in medical devices, food processing equipment, and marine applications.

Titanium: Titanium has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal. It also has excellent corrosion resistance and biocompatibility. This makes it ideal for aerospace. It’s also good for medical implants and high-performance car parts.

Metal parts machining services offered by Yonglihao Machinery


ABS: ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) is very tough and impact-resistant. This makes it great for protective housings, car parts, and toys.

Nylon:Nylon is strong, stretchy, and chemical resistant. It is often used for mechanical parts like gears and bearings. It is also used in the textile industry.

PEEK: PEEK (polyether ether ketone) has high thermal stability. It also has chemical resistance and strong mechanical properties at high temperatures. It is used in demanding applications such as aerospace, automotive, and medical implants.

Plastic parts machining services offered by Yonglihao Machinery

Unique material

People favor copper for its great thermal and electrical conductivity. This makes it ideal for electrical parts, heat sinks, and construction. Copper alloys, like Copper 101 and Copper 110, have different ductility and corrosion resistance. They are used for special applications.

Brass is a mix of copper and zinc. It has the workability of copper but with added strength and corrosion resistance. Brass is popular for decorative items. It’s valued for its looks and conductivity. It’s also used for electrical connectors and musical instruments.

Unique parts machining services such as brass offered by Yonglihao Machinery

Factors Influencing Material Choice

When choosing materials for CNC machining, several factors can greatly impact the decision. They ensure the final product meets specific requirements.

Heat resistance: Materials must withstand high temperatures without degrading. This ability is crucial for applications involving heat. Metals like stainless steel and titanium have excellent heat resistance. They are used in aerospace and automotive components.

Conductivity: For electrically conductive parts, materials with high conductivity, such as copper, are preferred. This property is critical for electrical connectors and heat sinks.

Hardness and surface finish: The hardness of a material affects its machinability and the wear of cutting tools. Hardness and the ability to achieve a smooth surface finish must be balanced. This is needed for both functional and aesthetic reasons. Aluminium and be easily machined smoothly. Harder materials may need special tools.


Understanding the machining processes, material properties, and their influencing factors is critical. This understanding is key when choosing CNC machining services and materials. CNC milling, turning, and 5-axis machining offer precision and flexibility. The metals and plastics are chosen based on heat resistance, electrical conductivity, hardness, and desired surface finish. Every choice affects the product’s quality and functionality.

Yonglihao Machinery is a top CNC machining service provider. We have the expertise to handle a wide range of materials. We can provide tailor-made solutions for the unique needs of each project.


Stainless steel and aluminum are great for outdoor use. They resist corrosion and last a long time.

Choose materials that are easier to machine, like aluminum. Also, design parts with minimal complexity. This will reduce machining time and tool wear.

Choose a material that can be easily finished. Use proper cutting tools and settings. Also, think about post-processing techniques. For example, consider polishing or anodizing to enhance the surface.

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