How Do You Select the Best CNC Machining Material?

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining is renowned for its speed, precision, and versatility when working with a range of materials, including metals, wood, fibreglass, plastics, and foam. Used both for prototyping and full-scale production of end-use components, CNC machining is most successful when the material is carefully selected based on several important factors. From the speed of production to the intended application of the component, there are many considerations which should be discussed with your chosen CNC machining service.

Choosing an inappropriate material for CNC machining can result in a less than perfect finished product, so it’s vital to make an informed decision at the outset. So, what steps should you take prior to commencing machining to ensure that the CNC materials you use are the best fit for the project?

1) Define The Material Requirements.

For every CNC machining project you undertake, the material requirements are a critical factor that can influence its success. It is worth remembering that the material requirements are likely to vary between projects: in fact, there may never be the same combination of properties if you are often tasked with manufacturing different components.

The material requirements include:

  • The strength and hardness of the material.
  • Thermal or electrical properties.
  • Desired surface finish.
  • Dimensional stability and tolerance.
  • Machinability.
  • Reactivity or interaction with other materials or components.
  • Cost implications.

Also, consider the environment in which the finished component will be used, particularly if it will be exposed to extreme conditions, such as heat.

2) Consider The Potential Material Options.

By identifying the material requirements for your CNC machining project, you will be in a prime position to choose a material that will deliver exactly what you need when the end-product is assembled.

Select the most suitable materials that match your requirements and the specification of your design.

3) Choose The Most Suitable Material.

The final step is to select the most suitable material, which is likely to be the one that meets most of your requirements. If you find it hard to reconcile different requirements, ordering them by priority is a logical strategy.

For example, a low-cost option may be suitable for a CNC prototype material, which will only need to be fabricated a handful of times, whereas a material chosen for a high-volume order must offer excellent machinability to reduce machining time and cut your overheads.

In Need of Expert Advice? Contact Redline CNC Today!

At Redline CNC, we can offer trustworthy expert advice about many types of CNC machining materials so, to find out more, simply get in touch on 01293 820090 and one of our experienced staff will be delighted to assist.


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