Common Metals Used In Precision Machining

Precision machining is the process of creating individual components of machinery. It is done by eliminating excess parts from a large workpiece and shaping it to achieve predetermined specifications.

The end product should perfectly match its functions and, therefore, need to have a high tolerance and be highly accurate.

Different functions require different raw materials. The choice of raw material may vary depending on availability, cost, durability, resistance to distorting, external factors, etc.

There is a variety of metals used for precision machining. Read on to find out some of the most popular metals used in the process.

Aluminum

Aluminum is easy to machine because of its lightweight. It is also readily available and relatively inexpensive, besides being highly resistant to corrosion and non-magnetic.

Aluminum’s high impact resistance ability and dimensional stability enable it to maintain form and dimension under harsh conditions.

You can plate aluminum with other materials such as silicon, copper, zinc, or magnesium to enhance structural properties and conductivity.

Some popular aluminum grades include;

  • Aluminum 2024 – endures great shock and has a high thermal resistance.
  • Aluminum 5052 is highly resistant to corrosion and chemicals.
  • Aluminum 6061 is tough, easy to weld, high corrosion resistant, and very strong.
  • Aluminum 6063 is durable and easy to weld.
  • Aluminum 7075 is ideal for industrial machining due to its excellent fatigue resistance.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is one of the most popular metals for precision machining, primarily because of its resistance to corrosion and excellent strength. It can be vacuum-welded, giving it more versatility and ridding it of slag formation.

Different types of stainless steel require different types of treatment. Some treatments can alter the properties of the steel, subsequently changing the machining.

Stainless steel is graded based on the alloys, determining machining, availability, and price. The grades include;

  • SS303 – contains sulfur to avoid rust and improve machinability.
  • SS304 – includes chromium and nickel to reduce its magnetism and make it more rigid.
  • SS316 – includes molybdenum making it ideal for application in marine.

Titanium

Titanium has a high strength-to-weight ratio. It is highly resistant to oxidation and heat.

It is ideal for medical equipment and aviation application due to its lightweight and biocompatibility.

Despite the high value of titanium, it is hard to machine and very expensive. Titanium machining is not easy and therefore requires highly skilled machining providers.

Some popular titanium grades include;

  • Titanium 1-4 yields strength and provides gradually increasing tensile.
  • Titanium 5 is excellent temperature resistant.
  • Titanium 9 offers excellent durability.

Brass

Brass produces excellent machinability, and a smooth and clean finish; it threads well and holds to tolerances.

Brass is easy to work with, making it easy to achieve precision and high accuracy, hence ideal for sophisticated parts and features.

It is also non-sparking and a cheap alternative metal for machining. Avoid using brass in semiconductor products because of the tin and zinc components.

Some grades of brass include;

  • C35300, which is excellent wear and corrosion resistant.
  • C36300 has excellent machinability, suitable for high precision and dimension stability.

Steel

Steel is durable, strong, and easy to weld. You can dope steel with nickel-chromium or molybdenum, making it fit for different uses based on the grade. These grades include;

  • Mild steel has the best ductility.
  • Carbon steel is strong.
  • Plain carbon steel offers strength and low ductility.

However, without plating, steel can easily rust. Steel is ideal for industrial applications, such as oil and gas and auto manufacturing.

Copper

Copper is versatile, durable, and a good conductor of electricity. It is non-ferrous, hence the remarkable ability to resist corrosion.

While plated copper is a better electrical conductor compared to aluminum, the latter holds better tolerance than copper.

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