When it comes to the cost of CNC machining, many factors need to be considered. For example, in a previous blog post, we studied how part design affects CNC machining costs. Today, we will study how the choice of materials, especially the choice of metals, affects the processing price.
Metals suitable for CNC machining have different mechanical properties, such as strength, ductility, and corrosion resistance. These characteristics lead to a series of machinability factors, which means that certain materials (with good machinability) are easier to grind and machine than others.
Generally, the easier the material is to process, the cheaper it is to process. This is because highly machinable metals can be processed faster, thereby reducing CNC costs. However, the cost of raw materials must also be considered because it affects the total cost of machining.
At RapidDirect, we provide a comprehensive selection of metal materials for CNC machining, including many of the most popular CNC materials and more professional options. We have a wide range of available materials, you can conduct a comprehensive consultation here, covering a variety of applications. Below, we will introduce the most cost-effective metals on CNC machine tools.
Aluminum is available in many different alloys and is one of the most cost-effective metals in CNC machine tools. Due to its high machinability (which varies slightly depending on the alloy) and low raw material costs, there is no doubt that aluminum is one of the most popular metals in the field of CNC machining. Aluminum has a high weight-to-weight ratio, good corrosion resistance and temperature resistance, so it is widely used in aerospace, automotive, healthcare, consumer goods and other industries. At RapidDirect, we offer a series of aluminum alloys for CNC machining, including the popular Aluminium 6061-T6, Aluminium 7075-T6 and Aluminium 6082.
Stainless steel (also available in a variety of alloys) is a popular and versatile material for CNC machining applications. Although stainless steel is not as workable as aluminum, it does have a good ratio of workability and low raw material costs. Stainless steel has many characteristics-including high strength, chemical resistance and hardness-making it an ideal choice for the automotive, aerospace, food, marine, and healthcare industries. RapidDirect provides a variety of stainless steel alloys for CNC machining: 303 stainless steel, with good machinability, is an ideal choice for the production of accessories and fasteners; 304 stainless steel, usually used for cooking utensils and chemical processing equipment; 316 stainless steel, suitable for more Extreme applications, such as applications in the marine or chemical industry. Of the three, 303 stainless steel is the most cost-effective choice due to the presence of sulfur and phosphorus.
Brass Brass is a metal alloy composed of copper and zinc, which ranks second in the list of cost-effective CNC machining metals. Brass has high machinability (better than stainless steel), although its raw material cost is slightly higher. However, the recycling rate of brass waste is very high, which can reduce the cost of raw materials. RapidDirect offers two brass alloys: Brass C360 and Brass C260, which have a high zinc content. Brass C360 is the most cost-effective option for brass processing because of its softness, ease of processing and low impact on processing tools. Generally, brass is known for its moderate hardness and high tensile strength, making it suitable for use in electrical products, consumer products, construction, automobiles, and healthcare.
Copper is similar to brass. Copper has high machinability, which means that the metal itself is not expensive for CNC machine tools. However, it is the price of raw materials that drives up the cost of copper. Nevertheless, copper still needs a popular material with good electrical and thermal conductivity, and is sought after in the automotive, consumer electronics, and healthcare fields. Other material properties include good corrosion resistance. RapidDirect provides two copper alloys for CNC machining: 110 copper, which has excellent electrical conductivity and formability; 101 copper, which has the highest copper content of all Cu alloys, so it has the best electrical conductivity.
Titanium is the more expensive end of CNC machining metal. Titanium is extremely challenging in machining due to its low thermal conductivity and high strength. In addition, raw materials have relatively high prices, which results in high material and processing costs. Nevertheless, the unique properties of titanium alloys (including excellent strength-to-weight ratio) make it a popular material in professional industries such as aerospace and medical. Titanium also has excellent corrosion resistance, chemical resistance and high temperature resistance. RapidDirect customers who want to use titanium can choose from two machinable alloys: grade 2 titanium with high corrosion resistance and the strongest grade 5 titanium (Ti6Al4V).
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