A Complete CNC Machining Materials Guide

CNC machining matrials


Posted on Agust 13th, 2020| By WayKen Rapid Manufacturing

At WayKen, we can manufacture your prototypes and parts with the best CNC machining materials ( metals and plastics) are available on the open market.

CNC stands for “Computer Numerical Control”. CNC machines are controlled by a computer that converts the human idea into the physical product using some programming codes. The final design is created with a narrow range of tolerance. It is necessary to discuss the CNC machining materials because their tools and products are versatile.

These are high-quality products that are used in a wide range of industries. These products are consisting of plastic, metals, wood, foam, and fiberglass. It can provide the best CNC machining services in the lathe, milling machines, grinders, turning machines, and router planers as well. Selecting the right material can also perform the complex 3D cutting jobs by using a single set of prompts and commands.

Which Materials Are Suitable for CNC Machining?

There is a wide range of materials that can be machined by CNC machines. These machines can handle different operations such as CNC milling, CNC grinding, CNC turning, CNC welding, terminal positioning, drilling, and winding.

Characteristics of materials:

Following is the list of materials with their properties & characteristics;

  • Alloy and tool steel (4140)
    • Good toughness and strength
    • Harder material
  • Aluminum 6061, 6061-T6, 7075
    • Good corrosion resistance, formability, and welding.
    • Medium strength aluminum and contains magnesium and silicon.
    • 7075 has higher fatigue strength than 6061.
  • Brass C36000
    • Resistance to corrosion and chemicals.
    • It provides plate stock.
  • Copper C101
    • Good electrical resistance.
    • Oxygen-free electrical power.
    • Weak against most acids, halogen sulfides, and ammonia solutions.
    • Good Corrosion resistance.
  • Mild steel (1018)
    • Plain low carbon steel.
    • Good forming and welding ability.
    • Hard case.
  • Carbon steel
    • Easy to machine and weld.
    • Heat-treated for various hardness.
    • Stronger and tougher.
  • Stainless steel (such as 304, 316, 416)
    • 416 is heat-treated.
    • 416 is very free machining.
    • Less corrosion resistance
    • Low carbon steel.
    • Good forming and welding ability.
    • 316 is more corrosion and chemical resistance than 304.
    • Increased resistance to cracking and pitting.
  • Titanium
    • Lightweight.
    • High strength.
    • Good conductor of heat but poor electrical conductivity.
    • Well- known toughness and corrosion resistance.
  • Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS)
    • Good toughness.
    • Impact resistance.

What Are the Applications of CNC Machining Materials?

CNC Machining Materials


How to Select the Right Material?

Selecting the right material for the CNC machine is very necessary because it provides complex design products. There are features on the basis of which these materials are selected.

There is a comparison between some similar materials with their different grades as listed in the table.


Comment: The aluminum 6061 and 6082 are more appropriated having cheap prices and very high machinability.


Comment: The stainless steel 303 is more appropriate because it can provide reasonable machinability at affordable prices.

mild steel

Comment: The most suitable mild steel grade is A36, due to its high strength at the cheapest price.

alloy steel

Comment: Among the alloy steel 4140 and 4340, the preferable one is 4340 due to its hardness.

Comment: The grades of tool steel are the same in effect. Any grade can be chosen for working purposes.


Comment: Brass has one grade of industrial usage. It is an appropriate material because of the high machinability and cheapest cost.

Comment: Among the mentioned types, polycarbonate is the most suitable one. It is due to its low cost and high strength.

Which Material is Most Suitable in All the Conditions?

Depending upon the properties and cost analysis of CNC machining materials. The most suitable material in every situation is;

  • Aluminum has good strength and hardness with very high machinability at the cheapest cost.
  • Stainless steel is very useful because of its high strength and machinability. It is expensive but it has very wide applications.
  • Brass is the more appropriate material due to its very high machinability at a reasonable price.


Which Factors Are Involved in the Selection of Material?

The right material for CNC machines is the key to produce the optimum result. Before selection, the purpose of usage should note. When you narrow down the choice of material, the best material will fit into the place. It will be easy to select the material which is appropriate for your desire product and cost-efficiency. Following are the factors which affect the selection of right CNC machining material:

  • Stress load:

Stress should be applied to the material according to its stress-bearing capacity. Certain materials can even break if high stress is applied to them.

  • Dimension tolerance:

Dimension tolerance is very important in consideration. It has a great impact on material, parts, assemblies, cutting methods, tools, and machines.

  • Operating temperature:

High temperatures can melt the material under extreme heat. While low temperature can freeze the parts and material in the machine. It is good to maintain the working temperature of about 1760F. The stability will be lost over 2800C.

  • Material Cost:

The appropriate method to select the cost-efficient material is to go through your requirements. Compare the material in which one is more compatible with strength, hardness, temperature, functionality, and filament requirement. Eliminate the unsuitable materials, and you will get to know the most cost-efficient material according to your requirement.

If you are looking for a material that is not on the articlelist or have any specific questions, please feel free to contact us.

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