Why is Aluminium good for machining? Custom Aluminum CNC Machining Parts from 3Q MACHINING

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Why is Aluminium good for machining? Custom Aluminum CNC Machining Parts from 3Q MACHINING

Can Titanium Be CNC Machined?
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Why Is Aluminium Good For Machining?

Aluminum is the most popular and widely used metal material that good for CNC Machining, due to aluminum cnc machining has advantages as:

  • Light Weight: Aluminum alloy has low density, so it is light weight
  • Good Strength: High strength,  aluminum alloy’s strength is close to or exceed high-quality steel
  • Good Corrosion Resistance: Aluminum alloy can be heat treated or surface treatment to obtain good corrosion resistance
  • Good Formability or Workability: After adding certain alloying elements, a cast aluminum alloy with good casting properties or a deformed aluminum alloy with good processing plasticity can be obtained. Due to its excellent physical properties, aluminum alloys have been widely used in various industries and the defense, medical, and aerospace industries.
  • Good Weldability: Argon tungsten arc welding; Resistance spot welding, seam welding; Pulse argon arc welding; Friction stir welding
  • Good Surface Treatment: Common aluminum alloy surface treatments include electroplating, spraying, wire drawing, anode, sandblasting, passivation, polishing, oxide film treatment, etc.
  • Good Thermal conductivity: The thermal conductivity of aluminum alloy is 121-151/W·(m·k), while the thermal conductivity of stainless steel is only 58.6-41.9/W·(m·k), so the heat transfer performance of aluminum alloy is better than that of stainless steel.
  • Good Conductivity: The conductivity of aluminum is second only to silver, copper and gold
  • Widely End Use Applications:Aluminum alloy profile is the most widely used metal material in industry, and it has been widely used in aviation, aerospace, automobile, machinery manufacturing, shipbuilding, construction, decoration and chemical industries.
  • Low Machining Cost: Due to its excellent physical properties, aluminum alloy is easy to be machined, and the aluminum machining can be cheap cost effectively.
  • Fast Machining Timing: Fast machining speed that bring fast machining timing to satisfy fast delivery requirement.

Aluminum is one of the most common use metal material, and it is easy to be machined due to its characters of chips easily and shape easily.

“Chipping easily” means aluminum is easy to be machined by any tools with fast speed, that can save machining timing and it is 3X to 4X faster than stainless steel on the machining speed, when you make large quantities of aluminum parts by CNC Machining, fast speed means you can save 1/3 or 1/2 cost compare to machine steel material; “Shape easily” means you can create any shape of your parts with aluminum material easily by different machinery, therefor you can combine different technique and machinery to machine a aluminum parts to have best cost and timing solution.

As one of the most widely use metal material, aluminum is easy to be machined and it is suitable for many different applications, We can use different grades of aluminum alloy to machine most of CNC Machining Part projects such as prototype samples, end-use products, custom tooling, fixtures, gears, knobs, camera parts, pipe stems and filters, radio parts, mobile phones, tripod fittings, machine parts and many more!

Reading this article to find right aluminum material which good for your CNC Machining project quickly and easily, maximize the benefits for your custom aluminum machining part projects.

choosing right aluminum grade

1xxx series aluminum alloy:

1100,1200 Aluminum 99% 1050 Aluminum 99.5%
Good formability, corrosion resistance, weldability, and low strength.
Household products, electrical appliances, conductive materials, etc. that do not require strength.

2xxx series aluminum alloy:

2017 Duralumin Cu4%, Mg0.5% High strength, poor corrosion resistance, corrosion protection must be done in the corrosive environment. Aviation materials, structural materials. 2024 Super Duralumin Cu4.5%, Mg1.5% The tensile strength reaches 50kg/mm2, and the corrosion resistance is poor. Corrosive environments must be treated with anti-corrosion.

3xxx series aluminum alloy:

3003 Mn1-1.5% Does not reduce the workability and corrosion resistance of pure aluminum to increase its strength. Daily necessities, building materials, containers, etc.
3004 Mn1-1.5%, Mg1% has higher strength than 3003. Aluminum cans, light bulb heads, colored aluminum plates, etc.

4xxx series aluminum alloy:

4032 Si12%, Cu, Ni, Mg each 1% Reduce thermal expansion rate and increase strength and heat resistance. Forged pistons of diesel engines.
4043 Si5% has a low melting point. Welding rod, flux.

5xxx series aluminum alloy:

5005 Mg0.8% Excellent corrosion resistance, processability, weldability, surface gloss and other properties. Vehicle interior materials, building materials, etc.
5052 Mg2.5% representative alloy of medium strength (annealed 20kg/mm2), good formability and corrosion resistance. Ships, vehicles, construction materials, beverage cans.
5083 Mg4.5% non-heat-treated alloy has the highest strength and good weldability. Materials for welding structures such as ships, vehicles, and chemical plants.

6xxx series aluminum alloy:

6061 Mg1%, Si0.6%, Cu0.3% heat-treated alloy, good corrosion resistance, excellent high temperature processability, yield strength about 25kg/mm2, equivalent to SS41 steel. Construction materials, ships, vehicles, land structures, such as iron towers, cranes, etc.
6063 Mg 0.6%, Si 0.4% has excellent extrudability. Aluminum doors and windows, building materials.

7xxx series aluminum alloy:

7075 super duralumin Zn5.5%, Mg2.5%, Cu1.6% belongs to the Al-Zn-Mg-Cu series alloy with the highest strength among aluminum alloys, with a tensile strength of 60kg/mm2. Aviation materials, sporting goods.
7N01 Zn4.5%, Mg1.5% belongs to Al-Zn-Mg series alloy for welding structure, with high strength and good hardenability. Welding structural materials, materials for railway vehicles.

Aluminum CNC Machining Parts From 3Q MACHINING

Aluminum CNC Machining Parts From 3Q MACHINING

3Q Machining provides a variety of Precision Aluminum CNC machining services including CNC milling, turning, EDM (electrical discharge machining) and wire EDM, and surface grinding. With our precision 3-, 4- and 5-axis CNC machining centers, combined with other advanced capabilities and our experienced team, we can handle all technical aspects of creating your prototypes and parts, so your team can focus on bringing your product to market. If you need a precision machining company for plastic and metal CNC machining parts,  we are the best place to go. Contact us today to get your manufacturing solution and details.

Advantages of Aluminum Machining from 3Q MACHINING:

  1. No MOQ

    We can work with MOQ as low as from 1 pcs aluminum prototype part or bulk quantities order, no matter what design you want to order, we can handle it well for you.

  2. Industry-best pricing

    Our engineer and technique team can work out the best solution with competitive prices for your custom aluminum machining parts. Cost and Price is always the priority.

  3. High-precision and tight tolerance

    We can machine the aerospace and medical parts that with tight tolerances and high-precision requirements for global customers, quality and precision is always priority and base for us to finish every project, 1 pcs or large quantities.

  4. Wide range of coatings & finishes

    We can offer a wide range of coatings and finishes for your aluminum machining parts depending on your project requirements.

  5. Fast delivery

    We can finish your parts as fast within 3 days and deliver to your hand within 5 days by DHL/FEDEX/UPS.

  6. Experienced Engineers

    Our engineer team has years of experience in a wide range of industries and can handle all complex design machining part projects.

Most CNC shops will only give quotations for CNC machining as a standalone process based on your part design drawing. But 3Q Machining engineer team will study and discuss with your designer to understand what’s your aluminum product design use, target cost, surface requirement, then have best price and proposal to complete your design drawing modification and product machining with right Aluminum material and machining solution for best results.

When making aluminum parts, 3Q Machining offers several ways to combine 3-axis, 4-axis, or 5-axis CNC machining with other manufacturing processes in order to machine a complex design part with high precision quality for 1 pcs prototype sample or large quantities production. In most of cases, we need to find the best solution to balance between cost & quality & timing, these requires our engineer technique team to work closely with customer product design team to discuss more details with meetings, sales is easy and simple only how much money it is to made, but a project is complex that is relying on teamwork.

What is aluminum cnc machining

What is CNC Machined Aluminum?

Aluminum alloy material has features of High machinability and ductility, good strength-to-weight ratio. 

As one of the most widely use metal material, Aluminum alloys is also the most popular metal material for CNC Machining, due to its low cost effective and fast machining speed, plus light weight and high strength, nowadays, more and more custom parts choose to use aluminum alloys to be machined by CNC, 

Especially the aluminum 6061 which is “Good Formability or Workability” & ” Good Weldability” & ” Good Machinability” & “Excellent Corrosion Resistance” & ” Good Strength” & ” excellent high temperature processability”, easy to shape and chip , equivalent to SS304 steel but only 1/2 or 1/3 cost that is mainly use for construction materials, ships, vehicles, land structures, such as iron towers, cranes, etc.

Aluminum alloy 2014 is fair on machinability and can be heat treating to get strengths comparable to steel, but only 1/3 weight of steel, it is prone to corrosion and hard to welding. Suitable for aerospace applications.

Aluminum alloy 3003 is easier to be machined, excellent on weldability and corrosion resistance, but only medium strength and can not be heat treating, Suitable for chemical and marine equipment applications.

Aluminum alloy 6061 is the most common  type of aluminum used for CNC Milling / CNC Machining, because it is easiest type of aluminum to be machined, excellent on weldability and corrosion resistance, easy to be welding, can be heat treating and easy be anodized and good strength.

Aluminum 6061 offers the best combination of mechanical and thermal properties which is most popular CNC Machining material and most widely use for different industrials.

Aluminum alloy 7075 is difficult to be machined, excellent to be heat treating and high strength, now is most popular metal cnc machined material for aerospace application. 

Yes, a CNC machine can cut through aluminum and it is a very precise way to make parts.

CNC machines are precise and accurate. The precision of the cuts will depend on the type of cutting tool that you use, but generally, aluminum cnc machining is not as precise as other materials such as steel.

Can a CNC machine cut through aluminum?

Metals are materials that are used for many different purposes. For example, some metals are used to make coins, some metals are used to make metal fences, and some metals are only found in jewelry. One type of metal that is often used is machined aluminum.

Is machined aluminum strong?

Machined aluminum is a metal that is strong but not as strong as steel. Steel is usually stronger than aluminum because of the way it’s made. The steel goes through a process called iron-casting which makes it stronger than aluminum. This means that the molecules in steel have more space between them which makes them more flexible and able to withstand heavy weights without breaking or bending too much compared to other materials like aluminum which has its molecules closer together so the material doesn’t bend as much but also makes it weaker when trying to withstand heavy weights

Compare with other metal like steel and titanium, Aluminum is a cheap metal material to machine,  because aluminum raw material is cheap and it is easier to be machined with any shapes, and the more you machine it, the lower cost it becomes. That is why Aluminum is the most popular CNC Machined metal.

Is aluminum expensive to machine?

Machined aluminum is more costly than cast aluminum because machining has a higher cost of labor and of equipment usage. Machining is typically done in batches which also adds to the cost per piece. Castings are typically made in batches too, but there’s no labor cost involved with making them and there’s no equipment rental fee like there is with machining which can make machining less expensive despite having a higher labor cost associated with it. As you machine more metal, the efficiency of the process will increase and lead to lower costs for each unit produced – but this will usually take some time before it happens.

There are many factors that influence the cost of aluminum machined parts. The most important factor is the material that is being CNC machined. The more complex the material, the more expensive it will be to machine. Other factors include complexity of geometry, surface finish, quantity and many others.

The cost of an aluminum machined part varies based on the complexity of the part and the type of material. The more complicated a part is, and if it needs to be made from materials other than aluminum, then it will cost more.

On average, prices for aluminum machined parts start at $75 per square inch for basic shapes and $110 per square inch for complex shapes such as turbine blades or gearboxes.

How much is Aluminum CNC Machining?

There are many factors that you should consider when choosing a coating for aluminum machined parts. These factors include the type of alloy, the shape and size of the part, and whether or not we want to add any additional features to it.

The coating you choose needs to be chemically stable enough to protect your aluminum machined part from corrosion and wear-and-tear in a variety of environments. It also needs to be tough enough so that someone can’t just scratch it off with their fingernail or a needle.

The most popular types of coatings used on machined aluminum parts are: anodized, hard anodized, electroless nickel plating (ENP), and electroless nickel plating with fluoropolymer (ENP+FP).

Anodizing is the best coating for aluminum cnc machined parts.

Anodizing coating on aluminum is strong and good resistant to corrosion, it can also provide increased oxidation resistance, improved wear resistance, and enhanced scratch resistance.

In addition, anodizing coating is less expensive than other coatings because it does not need to be applied as thickly as the others.

However, this coating will produce a yellow gold color on the aluminum if it is not anodized correctly with an acid-based electrolyte at the correct pH levels.

Author: Mose Li

Author: Mose Li

Director of Project Engineering at 3Q Machining

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