In modern manufacturing, CNC machining technology is widely used for its high precision, high efficiency and ability to machine complex shapes. Choosing the right materials for CNC machining is one of the key steps to ensure machining quality and productivity.

In this paper, we will make the most suitable choice according to the specific machining requirements and product demand. It will also analyse the main factors affecting material selection, including the characteristics of the machining object, the machinability of the material, the cost-effectiveness and the subsequent surface treatment needs.

By taking these factors into account, the most suitable material can be selected for different application scenarios, thus optimising the production process and improving product quality.

How to select the best material for CNC machining

Machining environment

When selecting a material, the first consideration is the processing environment. Different materials respond uniquely to different machining conditions such as cutting speeds, tool materials and coolant usage. For example, a high-temperature environment may require heat-resistant alloys, while a corrosive environment may require stainless steel or nickel-based alloys.

Part Weight

Weight affects production costs and performance. Heavier parts may require larger, more powerful CNC machines, increasing costs and production time. Therefore, choosing a less dense material, such as aluminium or magnesium, can reduce part weight and lower production costs.

Heat Resistance

Heat resistance directly affects the ability of a material to withstand high temperatures without significant deformation or damage. In the process of cutting, drilling or milling, heat-resistant materials can improve processing speed and accuracy.


The cutting performance, heat treatment performance, welding performance, etc. of the material to ensure that the material can obtain good machining performance in the machining process. For example, some materials are prone to thermal deformation or tool wear during cutting, which requires the selection of suitable cutting parameters and tool materials.


In the choice of materials, cost-effectiveness is a factor that can not be ignored. The cost of different materials varies greatly, including the cost of raw materials, processing costs, scrap rate and so on. Therefore, the cost-effectiveness of the material needs to be evaluated based on the selling price of the product and the market demand.


Factors such as availability of materials, production lead time, specifications, etc. ensure that the required materials can be obtained in a timely manner. This is essential to avoid production delays and maintain smooth operation of the production line.

Environmental Requirements

The environmental performance of the material, selecting materials that meet environmental standards and requirements. This not only helps to protect the environment, but may also be necessary to meet certain industry specifications.

Material Specific Properties

Select materials that meet specific requirements, such as high temperature resistance, electrical conductivity, insulation and other special properties.

cnc machining materials

Commonly used metal materials for CNC machining

Aluminium Alloy (6061 6063 7075)

Aluminium alloy is one of the most commonly used metal materials in CNC machining, it is lightweight, high strength, good thermal and electrical conductivity and easy to machine. Aluminium alloys are widely used in the aerospace, automotive, electronics and machinery manufacturing industries.

Stainless steel (303 304 316)

It has excellent corrosion resistance and high temperature performance and is another commonly used metal material in CNC machining. It is suitable for manufacturing food processing equipment, medical equipment, chemical equipment, etc.

Brass (H59 H62)

Brass has good ductility and processing properties, and is commonly used in the manufacture of valves, pipe fittings, decorative items, etc.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel has good hardness and strength and is relatively difficult to process. Carbon steel is mainly used to manufacture mechanical parts, building structures, etc.

Titanium Alloy

Titanium alloy has high strength, low density, good corrosion resistance and high temperature performance, and is one of the high-end materials in CNC machining. It is mainly used in aerospace, medical devices and other fields.

Plastic materials commonly used in CNC machining:

ABS plastic

ABS has high strength, toughness and hardness, is easy to process and mould, and has good surface finish. Widely used in the manufacture of automotive parts, electronic product shells, toys and so on.

Nylon (PA)

Nylon has high strength, wear resistance and self-lubrication. It is commonly used in the manufacture of gears, bearings, automotive parts and so on.

Polycarbonate (PC)

Polycarbonate has excellent transparency, impact strength and heat resistance, and is commonly used in the manufacture of glass replacement products, protective covers, etc.

PMMA (Acrylic)

PMMA has good transparency and gloss, easy to process moulding, commonly used in the manufacture of billboards, lampshades, display racks, etc..

PVC (polyvinyl chloride).

PVC has good chemical resistance and insulation properties, commonly used in the manufacture of wire and cable insulation, piping, building decoration materials.

These plastic materials have their own unique advantages in CNC machining, you can choose the right material for processing according to the actual needs and processing conditions.

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