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Selecting the Right CNC Material

Sep 24, 2022 | Design Guide

CNC machining is a prominent and accurate production process in the industry. Almost every engineering material (metal and plastic) can be machined using a CNC machine to create the desired shape. Choosing the right material for CNC machining may be a difficult procedure. However, the step-by-step method makes it simple to find the optimum material. ProleanHub provides a variety of materials to meet your needs.

Let’s go through the process of selecting the best material for CNC machining that meets all of the requirements for your product development step by step.


Step 1:  Identify your requirements

The first step is identifying the requirements that include all the physical, mechanical, and chemical properties needed for your project. So, list the criteria such as using environment, weight range, strength (Tensile strength, load-bearing capacity, toughness, & elasticity), durability, thermal & electrical behavior, machinability, and other material properties required to satisfy the end applications.


Step 2: Short-list the materials

Divide the material properties into high, medium, and low ranges. For example low tensile strength (< 100 MPa), medium (< 500 MPa), and high (>500 MPa).  Similarly, divide the other properties (Hardness, temperature resistance, chemical resistance) range-wise.

Simultaneously, define the desired property in a range for your project. For example, you might need low tensile strength, high hardness, and high-temperature resistance. Now shortlist the material by comparing all the required properties.


Step 3: Consider the various factors

  1. Cost
    After the properties, another factor you need to analyze is cost. There can be several materials that can fulfill the required mechanical, physical, and chemical properties. Still, each material has its own price. Compare the cost of each material with your budget.
  2. Weight
    Consider the weight concerning the product’s applications. For example, the material must be extremely light if the parts are for aircraft.
  3. Machinability
    The next factor is the machinability of the material. High machinability materials make CNC machining easier and help to maintain tight tolerances. So, compare the material’s machinability from the list. If you consider the extremely tough material that can destroy the machining tools.
  4. Thermal & Electrical property
    Examine materials’ thermal and electrical characteristics that fulfill operating conditions in final applications. Consider the electrical conductivity, melting point, and thermal expansion Coefficient. If you pick a material with a low melting point and your parts will be operating at high temperatures that might lead to failure. At the same time, consider the electrical conductivity according to the desired application.
  5. Surface finishing
    Identify which types of surface finishing products need according to the operating environment and required aesthetic beauty. If the parts are going to be used in outdoor conditions that require high-quality surface finishing such as anodizing, Zinc plating, or powder coating. So, the material needs to be qualified for the required surface finishing.ProleanHub offers CNC machining services for over 50 different materials. We can machine the parts to your specifications with strict tolerances. If you are still unsure about material selection, contact us, and our experienced engineers will help you select the best materials within your budget and desired features.

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