We’ll explain why aluminum is worth considering for your CNC machined parts, from cost to ease of machineability to keep your budget on track, to the material properties required for your part.
CNC (Computer Numerical Control) is a group of machining processes that include turning and milling machines. Because of the process’s versatility, it gets used for prototyping and mass production.
The use of aluminum in the CNC machining process has increased dramatically, as has the production of CNC automotive parts and other lightweight CNC parts.
|This article will help you to understand:
Aluminum as a material
Aluminum is one of the best raw materials due to its fundamental properties.
Here are some of the characteristics that make aluminum an excellent material for machining:
- It has a high strength-to-density ratio, making it easier for machine shop owners to produce parts for industries such as aerospace and automotive.
- Because aluminum is corrosion-resistant, it is ideal for making parts for the marine industry.
- Even at the lowest temperatures, aluminum retains its primary properties as flexibility, softness, and strength.
- It has the necessary machinability for CNC machining. Because of its soft nature, aluminum cuts easily and requires less power from the machine.
- Aluminum is a highly recyclable material.
Grades of aluminum machining
It is a high-strength alloy having excellent machining properties. Alloy 2011’s high-speed machining produces fine chips that get easily removed.
Applications: Screw machines, precision gears, tube fittings, pipe stems, and precision machine parts are all examples of precision machine parts.
This grade is present in the military and aerospace industries. It is because of its mechanical properties, which include high strength and resistance to wear.
Applications: Suitable for applications that require a high strength-to-weight ratio and fatigue-resistance aluminum alloys.
This grade is very weldable and has good mechanical properties. It is preferable in the extrusion process due to its toughness and medium to high strength. This grade gets frequently used for aluminum machining parts in five-axis CNC machining.
Applications: Frames for aircraft and trucks, electronic components, chemical equipment, heat exchangers, military and commercial bridges, and marine components are manufactured.
A medium-strength alloy contains alloying elements like manganese and silicon. It has good mechanical properties and can be machined easily.
Applications: Window frames, doors, roofs, railings, shop fittings, and sign frames are examples of architectural applications.
|| Also Read: Why Aluminum CNC Machined Parts Are In Demand?
Why use aluminum for CNC machining?
Easy to machine
If you ask any CNC machining manufacturer, they will tell you how simple it is to the machine. Because aluminum is dimensionally stable, you can remove a large portion of it while keeping residual stress under control. You will get a finish using carbide tooling and modern coolants, be bead blasted for a matt finish or anodized for a consistent aesthetic finish and additional corrosion resistance.
Excellent strength-to-weight ratio
Aluminum is lighter than most metals, making it an excellent choice for weight reduction. Although pure aluminum has a tensile strength of less than 100Mpa, it gets hardened in the following ways:
- The grain structure is improved by alloying, or mixing with other elements.
- To create sized crystals, heat treatment involves heating and cooling at a specific rate.
Work hardening is the deliberate deformation of metal to change its grain structure. It gets done during heat treatment (for example, rolling), but it can also be done afterward (forging).
Excellent corrosion resistance
While corrosion resistance varies by grade, aluminum is an excellent choice if this is a requirement for your material. The metal and its alloys have an affinity for oxygen; metals that are too reactive, such as magnesium, will oxidize, whereas less reactive metals, such as rust on iron and steel, form a loose oxide layer.
While copper gets used for conductivity, electrical components frequently use aluminum because it is much cheaper and lighter. Indeed, it gets used for busbars, battery cables, and connectors, particularly in automotive and electric vehicle applications. Because of its high thermal conductivity, it gets used for heat sinks and heat dissipation.
With environmental concerns at the forefront of most people’s minds, it’s encouraging to learn that an estimated 75% of all aluminum produced is still in use. Recycling aluminum uses far less energy than creating it, and as long as impurities are under control, they get reused indefinitely.
Is aluminum the best material for your project?
As you may have guessed, aluminum has several advantageous properties and is machinable with CNC machines. Is aluminum, however, the best material for your product design project?
Aluminum could be the right choice for your project if you need a readily available metal with a high strength-to-weight ratio and good machinability. Furthermore, if your part or component will get exposed to moist environments, you should choose aluminum because aluminum alloys are generally corrosion-resistant.
CNC aluminum machining at MDA
MDA is a world-class provider of CNC aluminum machining services. We have a team of highly qualified engineers, machinists, and quality control experts who can accurately and precisely create aluminum parts.
Need Experienced Aluminum Machinist To Create Aluminum Machined Parts?