Email Us

Advantages of Aluminum for CNC

Aluminum is one of the most popular materials for CNC machined parts - here are six reasons why.

Fast to Machine

If you ask any CNC precision machine shop about machining aluminum, they will point out its simplicity. Aluminum is very dimensionally stable, so you can cut away a lot of it and still keep the residual stress within limits. Using carbide tools and modern coolants will give you an excellent finish. For a matte finish, you can bead blast the parts or anodizing them for a uniform aesthetic finish and added corrosion resistance.

Most importantly, this machinability helps keep the cost of your part down. However, you choose a material based on the properties you need for your part, so what else does aluminum have to offer?

Precision-CNC-Machined-Aluminum-6061-Crenellation-Parts.jpg

Excellent Strength to Weight Ratio

Aluminum is lighter than most metals. So if you're looking to save weight, it's a great choice. While pure aluminum has a tensile strength of less than 100 Mpa, it can be hardened as follows:

* Alloying, mixing with other elements, improves the grain structure.
 * Heat treatment, heating and then cooling within a certain time to produce crystals of ideal size.
 * Work hardening, where the metal is intentionally deformed to change its grain structure. This is usually done during heat treatment (e.g., rolling), but can also be done after the fact (during forging).

A "temper" designation indicates the exact condition or strength of the resulting material, H for "hardened" and T for "thermal."

It is worth noting that most aluminum alloys have a higher strength-to-weight ratio or specific strength than 316L stainless steel.

While titanium clearly emerges as the winner from the table below, when stiffness and weight savings are important, the high-strength aluminum alloys are a great cost-effective alternative when budget is a concern.

Since aluminum is a good base material to work with, there are a variety of alloys with different properties and uses to meet your needs.

These are divided into nine different series, with each series numbered as a thousand, so 6000 series for example, which is then further subdivided by a number. Generally, the closer the aluminum grade number is to another, the more similar they are, so 5082 and 5083 are almost identical.

Here are some of the most popular grades:

* 2024 - Aerospace grade with high fatigue strength. Alloying with copper trades off tensile strength (UTS) for more ductility/toughness.

* 5083 - Marine grade, with good corrosion resistance due to higher magnesium content.

* 6082 - Universal use and aerospace grade. A good mix of strength, ductility and corrosion resistance conditions high versatility and widespread use. This is achieved by alloying with a mixture of magnesium and silicon (also roughly equivalent to 6061 grade).

* 7075 - High strength aerospace grade, well balanced properties, especially under high static loads. It can be heat treated and contains more zinc, as well as magnesium and chromium.

Precision-CNC-Milled-Aluminum-6061-Parts.jpg

High Corrosion Resistance

Corrosion resistance varies by grade, but aluminum is an excellent choice if that's what you expect from your material. The metal and its alloys have an ideal affinity for oxygen - metals that are too reactive, such as magnesium, oxidize easily, while less reactive metals form a loose oxide film, such as rust on iron and steel.

In contrast, aluminum, when exposed, forms a passivating layer of aluminum oxide that seals the surface and prevents further oxidation and erosion. This layer is "self-healing" even when scratched, so the material does not need to be painted or surface treated. This means a cost savings in manufacturing and life cycle costs. You can enhance this natural corrosion resistance by anodizing - but more on that later.

High Conductivity

While copper is often the material of choice when it comes to conductivity, aluminum is often used for electrical components because it is much cheaper and lighter. In fact, it's often used for bus bars, battery cables and connectors, especially in the automotive industry and electric vehicles.

Its good thermal conductivity also means that it is often used for heat sinks and heat dissipation.

Precision-CNC-Milled-Aluminum-6061-Part-Single.jpg

Recyclable

With sustainability high on most people's agendas, it's good news that an estimated 75% of all aluminum produced remains in circulation. Recycling aluminum uses much less energy than producing it, and as long as we can keep contaminants under control, it can be used again and again.

Aesthetics

It's already been mentioned that you can get a great finish by machining this material, and that aluminum is naturally corrosion resistant. For even better aesthetics, you can even have it anodized in different colors.

This is a surface finishing process that not only increases the wear and corrosion resistance of a material, but also makes it easier to color. At Richconn, we offer both decorative anodizing (Type II) and Type III, in which an even thicker layer of 50µm provides additional protection.

The process increases the thickness of the passivating oxidized layer through the use of acids as well as an electrolytic process.

The choice of material for your part is critical and is based on what properties you want the part to have. Aluminum is often a good choice for the reasons mentioned above, but there are many other metal and plastic options. To help you make the right choice for custom cnc machining, we've created a pocket-sized CNC material selector to serve as a quick reference guide.

If you have any questions about our services at Richconn, please contact an applications engineer at sales@richconn.com.cn or +86-0755-28025755. Have a finished design for custom 3D printing? Upload it now to get a quote.

Related CNC Machining Services
Related News of CNC Machining
  • How to Switch Between 3D Printing and CNC Machining When Manufacturing Plastic Parts.How to Switch Between 3D Printing and CNC Machining When Manufacturing Plastic Parts.October 18, 2023Not so long ago, prototyping and low-volume parts manufacturing was a fairly costly and time-consuming process. You sent a paper drawing to the precision machine shop of your choice, briefly discussed the delivery date and price with the owner or shop manager, and waited. If it had to be done quickly, one paid overtime to get the parts sooner, but prototyping was still a test of patience. You got real parts, but at the cost of valuable production time and money.view
  • What Are Machining Operations?What Are Machining Operations?November 3, 2023Machining operations are at the core of modern manufacturing. These processes are the backbone of industries like aerospace, automotive, and electronics, allowing for precise shaping and finishing of materials.view
  • From Concept to Creation: A Comprehensive Guide to Jigs and Fixtures in Manufacturing ProcessesFrom Concept to Creation: A Comprehensive Guide to Jigs and Fixtures in Manufacturing ProcessesFebruary 27, 2024Here is a comprehensive guide to f jigs and fixtures in modern CNC manufacturing. Learn about their types, applications, and advantages.view
  • What Are the Methods of Testing the Properties of Metallic Materials?What Are the Methods of Testing the Properties of Metallic Materials?October 26, 2023Tensile testing is a common method of evaluating the strength and ductility of materials. It involves placing a specimen in a tensile testing machine, gradually applying a tensile force, measuring the stress-strain curve and determining the yield strength, tensile strength, and elongation of the material.view
  • ShenZhen 2023 Intelligent Manufacturing ExpoShenZhen 2023 Intelligent Manufacturing ExpoMarch 6, 2023Welcome to open the window of Guangdong ShenZhen Intelligent Manufacturing Expo, which will gather a number of smart manufacturing industry events in ShenZhen in 2023. The participating enterprises of...view
  • What is Metal Machining?What is Metal Machining?November 3, 2023When it comes to shaping the world around us, few processes play as pivotal a role as metal machining. Whether you're a curious enthusiast or an industry professional seeking deeper insights, this article is your ultimate guide to understanding the essence of metal machining.view
Tel
+86-0755-28025755
Address
1212, Zehua Building, Intersection of Longhua Meilong Road and Donghuanyi Road, Songhe Community, Longhua Street, Longhua District, Shenzhen, GuangDong, China
We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience, analyze site traffic and personalize content. By using this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Visit our cookie policy to learn more.
Reject Accept