The Latest Trends in CNC Machined Materials

Posted by Mike Sterling

Aug 20, 2019 2:27:49 PM

CNC machining is a manufacturing process known for its versatility. Manufacturers use the process to create high quality, custom-designed parts and products for a wide range of industries from virtually any type of material. Typical machined materials include metal, plastic, wood, foam, and fiberglass.

Types of Machining Materials

Given the broad range of suitable materials, CNC machining offers customers greater flexibility when designing and engineering their parts and products. Although aluminum is most commonly used in CNC machining operations, almost any material with sufficient hardness can be CNC machined, including:

  • Alloy and tool steel (e.g., 4140, 4340, D2, A2, O1): wide range with varying properties
  • Aluminum 6061: aerospace-grade, affordable, and easy to machine
  • Brass C360: excellent machining properties and surface finishes
  • Duplex (e.g., 303, 17-4): high yield strength
  • Mild steel (e.g., 1018, 1045, A36): similar properties to SS 304, but more economical
  • Stainless steel (e.g., 304, 316, 2205): corrosion and chemical resistance
  • Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS): tough and impact resistance
  • High density polyethylene (HDPE): high strength-to-density ratio
  • Nylon 6: abrasion and chemical resistance
  • PEEK: high mechanical and chemical resistance
  • Polycarbonate (PC): tough and easy to tool
  • Delrin: designed for large mechanical loads
  • Teflon: hydrophobic and has a low coefficient of friction

To process these materials, the CNC machining process employs pre-programmed software that guides the movement of tools and machinery—including grinders, lathes, mills, and routers—to create complex designs and shapes. In contrast, manual machining processes require direct operator involvement to initiate and guide the operation. Additionally, CNC machines can handle several different operations, such as routing, milling, drilling, coil winding, terminal locating, and soldering.

CNC Parts for Diverse Applications

CNC machining is a staple of manufacturing processes across industry. From small machine shops to large manufacturing facilities, this process is used to create precise parts with no risk of human error. Industries that rely on CNC machining to produce their necessary parts include:

  • Aerospace: doors and body components
  • Agriculture: farming equipment
  • Automotive: precision holes for frame assembly
  • Construction: heavy-duty equipment components
  • Dental: dental equipment and tools
  • Electrical and Electronics: small, precision electronic components
  • Lettering and engraving: engraving tools and engravings
  • Firearms: precision firearm components
  • Hospitality: signage and decorations
  • Manufacturing: precise components like rollers
  • Metalwork: high contact tools
  • Military: precision parts and tools for transportation and assembly
  • Production: conveyor rollers and gears
  • Transportation: precise control assemblies

Discuss Your CNC Machining Needs With the Team at Ardel

As a full service precision CNC machine shop, the team at Ardel Engineering produces prototypes and small to large production runs ranging from one piece to up to and exceeding 30,000 pieces.

Equipped with the latest CAD design software, CNC turning centers and vertical mills, and inter-company cooperation efforts, we design and deliver high quality machined parts. Our standard CNC machining process includes the following stages:

  • Material selection
  • Optimizing performance and reducing cost
  • Drawing and printing
  • Machining
  • Using geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T)

Contact us today to ask about our CNC machining capabilities, or request a quote for your next machining project.

Topics: Machining