Precision machining is a process used to create the exact parts needed as standalone pieces or components of machinery. These parts need to be machined according to a high level of accuracy to fit their specific function and match the machine or system they are to be mounted in. Many different raw materials can be used in precision machining to create the final pieces required. Below we detail 8 of the most common raw materials utilized in precision machining processes.
1. STAINLESS STEEL
Stainless steel is a popular raw material used for precision machining, favored for its strength and resistance to corrosion. One of the benefits of stainless steel is that is can be welded vacuum tight. However, there are many different types of stainless with a variety of treatment options; it can change the properties of the material and the way it machines. Stainless is a very versatile material and based on the alloys/grade will determine the price, availability, and machinability.
Aluminum has many advantages, being lightweight, easy to machine, non-magnetic, corrosion resistant and inexpensive. Aluminum is even becoming a preferred choice to steel, with advances in cleaning and machining to make aluminum a more useful material. However, for best results, aluminum welding always needs to be handled by an experienced machining shop. Along with the advantages listed, it can be machined to tight tolerances and can be plated with many different materials to make it harder or more conductive as a cheaper alternative to using Steel, stainless steel or copper.
Free machining brass is another economical alternative material. Advantages of brass machining are the ease of machining, smooth, clean finish, non-sparking, holds tolerances and threads well. Brass is better in intricate parts that require sophisticated features, and it should not be used in semiconductor products or a vacuum applications due to the zinc and tin in the material. One of the most common uses of Brass is in cast parts
Titanium is a highly prized and useful metal for machining. Titanium is very resistant to heat and corrosion and has the most significant strength to weight ratio of any metal. It is also lighter in weight, inert and biocompatible, making it suitable for a wide range of applications from aviation to medical tools. However, one of the drawbacks of titanium is that it can be quite difficult to machine and the price of the material. If you require titanium parts machined, it’s best to choose an experience precision machining provider.
Steel is one of the most popular metals for all types of manufacturers valued for its strength and durability. Steel much like stainless is based on the grade that has a specific purpose. Steel is easy to weld in comparison to the other common materials. Typically uses are an industrial application, auto manufacturing and in the oil and gas industry. Steel can be prone to corrosion without heat treatment of plating.
Copper is another metal highly prized for precision machining. Copper provides the benefits of versatility, durability, electrical conductivity, and natural corrosion resistance. Copper doesn’t hold tolerances as well as aluminum however it is a much better electrical conductor especially when plated.
7. BASIC PLASTICS
Plastics can be used as an inexpensive, non-metal, non-conductive raw material for machining. Because plastics are inert and can be modified to fit a range of different properties, plastic machined parts are used in a variety of industries including medical, electronics, industrial, and scientific uses. Known for its smooth of injection molding and extremely low cost
8. ENGINEERED PLASTICS
Engineered plastic has changed drastically over the last 10 years. In the semiconductor applications, it has taken the place of quartz and aluminum due to the enhanced properties that can be made. It is also more common in the medical instruments due to its ability to be cleaned or self-lubricated. Engineered plastics have been designed to compete with many of the strengths of its metal counterparts.
By utilizing a wide range of diverse raw materials, precision machining companies can provide a variety of parts to suit every application and system. To learn more about what precision machining can do for your company, talk to us today about the full range of raw materials we use and our precision machining capabilities to make the parts and components you need.