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Common metal alloy materials for CNC machining

September 21, 2022

1. Aluminum alloy
Aluminum alloy has excellent strength to weight ratio, high thermal conductivity and conductivity, and natural corrosion protection. They are easy to process and have low batch costs, so they are often the most economical option for manufacturing custom metal parts and prototypes.
Aluminum alloys usually have lower strength and hardness than steel, but they can be anodized to form a hard protective layer on their surface.
Aluminum 606 is the most common and universal aluminum alloy, with good strength to weight ratio and excellent machining performance.
Aluminum 608 has similar composition and material properties as 6061. It is more commonly used in Europe because it meets British standards.

Aluminum 7075 is the most commonly used alloy in aerospace applications. In aerospace applications, weight reduction is crucial because it has excellent fatigue properties and can be heat treated to the same high strength and hardness as steel.
Aluminum 5083 has higher strength and excellent seawater resistance than most other aluminum alloys, so it is usually used in construction and marine applications. It is also the best choice for welding.
Material properties:
L Typical density of aluminum alloy: 2.65-2.80 g/cm3
L Can be anodized
L Non magnetic

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2. Stainless steel
Stainless steel alloys have high strength, high ductility, excellent wear resistance and corrosion resistance, and are easy to weld, process and polish. Depending on their, they can be (basically) non-magnetic or magnetic.
Stainless steel 304 is the most common stainless steel alloy with excellent mechanical properties and good machinability. It is resistant to most environmental conditions and corrosive media.
Stainless steel 316 is another common stainless steel alloy with similar mechanical properties to 304. Although it has higher corrosion resistance and chemical resistance, especially for salt solutions (such as seawater), it is usually the first choice for applications in harsh environments.

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Stainless steel 2205 Duplex is the strongest stainless steel alloy (twice as strong as other ordinary stainless steel alloys), with excellent corrosion resistance. It is used in harsh environments and has many applications in the oil and gas industry.
Compared with 304, 303 stainless steel has excellent toughness, but low corrosion resistance. Because of its excellent machinability, it is usually used in large batch applications, such as the manufacture of nuts and bolts for aerospace applications.
The mechanical properties of stainless steel 17-4 (SAE Grade 630) are equivalent to 304. It can be precipitation hardened to a very high degree (equivalent to tool steel), and has excellent chemical resistance, making it suitable for applications with very high performance, such as the manufacturing of turbine blades.

Material properties:
L Typical density: 7.7-8.0 g/cm3
L Non magnetic stainless steel alloy: 304, 316, 303
L Magnetic stainless steel alloy: 2205 Duplex, 17-4

3. Mild steel
Low carbon steel has good mechanical properties, good machinability and good weldability. Because of their low cost, they can be used for general applications, including the manufacture of machine parts, jigs and fixtures. However, low carbon steel is vulnerable to chemical corrosion and erosion.
Low carbon steel 1018 is a universal alloy with good machinability, weldability, toughness, strength and hardness. It is the most commonly used low carbon steel alloy.
Low carbon steel 1045 is a medium carbon steel with good weldability, good machinability, high strength and impact resistance.
Low carbon steel A36 is a common structural steel with good weldability. It is suitable for various industrial and architectural applications.
Material properties:

L Typical density: 7.8-7.9 g/cm3
L Magnetic

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4. Alloy steel
Alloy steel contains other alloy elements besides carbon, which improves hardness, toughness, fatigue and wear resistance. Like low carbon steel, alloy steel is vulnerable to corrosion and chemical attack.
Alloy steel 4140 has good comprehensive mechanical properties, good strength and toughness. This alloy is suitable for many industrial applications, but is not recommended for welding.
Alloy steel 4340 can be heat treated with high strength and hardness, while maintaining its good toughness, wear resistance and fatigue strength. This alloy is weldable.
Material properties:
L Typical density: 7.8-7.9 g/cm3
L Magnetic

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5. Tool steel
Tool steel is a metal alloy with extremely high hardness, stiffness, wear resistance and heat resistance. They are used to make manufacturing tools (hence the name), such as molds, stamps, and molds. In order to obtain good mechanical properties, they must be heat treated.
Tool steel D2 is a wear-resistant alloy, which can maintain its hardness at 425 ℃. It is usually used to make tools and moulds.
Tool steel A2 is an air hardening universal tool steel with good toughness and excellent dimensional stability at high temperatures. It is commonly used for manufacturing injection molds.
Tool steel O1 is an oil hardening alloy with hardness up to 65 HRC. Commonly used for cutting tools and cutting tools.
Material properties:
L Typical density: 7.8 g/cm3
L Typical hardness: 45-65 HRC

6. Brass
Brass is a metal alloy with good machinability and excellent conductivity, which is very suitable for applications requiring low friction. It is also commonly used in architecture to create components with a golden appearance for aesthetic purposes.
Brass C36000 is a material with high tensile strength and natural corrosion resistance. It is one of the most easily processed materials and is therefore commonly used in large quantities.