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Machining Materials – Essential Guide

machining materials

Machining Materials

At times it can be difficult to decide which type of machining materials you need to use for your product. Does it need to be malleable? Must it possess properties that are resistant to corrosion? These are the types of questions that should be asked in the beginning stages of production for your application or equipment. Our guide includes information on the most common machining materials, their properties, and what types of applications each material is generally used for.


Brass, known for its stability and low strength, is one of the easiest and most cost-efficient materials to machine. This type of machining is used across a wide variety of applications and industries. some of which include medical, consumer goods, and electrical. Due to the low friction coefficient and high corrosion-resistant properties of brass fittings, they can also be used for applications in engineering, or plumbing & steam work industries. Bearings, pipe fittings, compression fittings, musical instruments, and several other custom parts are also created by machined brass materials.

Copper Alloys

Recognized for being the best electrical conductor, copper is suitable for products like cooling systems and heat exchangers in the automotive industry. Copper has high corrosion-resistant properties that make it difficult for this type of material to rust. Its thermal conductivity properties allow for easier shaping during CNC machining. Machined copper parts are often used for engineering applications such as valves, hydraulic tubing, and radiators.


CNC machining for aluminum parts can be completed quicker than other metals, making them the most economical machined material. These particular parts form an extra protective layer when exposed to the atmosphere which provides for extra strength and corrosion resistance. Aluminum is best used when creating aluminum gears, spline shafts, worm gears, and other similar parts.


Most steel alloys (1018, 1215, 12L14, 1215 Bi) are case-hardened and are designed for excellent machinability. This material is typically used for parts that require better formability and stronger welds, such as commercial products. Steel alloy 1137 is directly hardened and is frequently used for higher-stress applications including gears, shafts, and studs.  View our supplies.

Alloy Steel

Many steel alloys are machined for high-stress applications, as well as bearing applications. This material is subject to both direct hardening and case hardening. Depending on the type of steel alloy, this material can also be heat-treatable.

Stainless Steel

There are several stainless steel alloys and many can be heat-treated and possess corrosion-resistant properties. While some stainless steel alloys are machined for surgical equipment and electronic hardware, others are useful for applications that require more formability and weldability. This material is also a top choice for components in the aerospace and automotive industries.


Titanium’s high melting point makes this material a perfect option for numerous industries and applications. This material is also resistant to corrosion and protects against ductile salt and water. While bio-compatible and lightweight, titanium is a strong and sturdy material frequently machined for aircraft and medical implants.


There are three forms of machined plastics: PVC, nylon, and Delrin. All three types can be machined for insulators. Bearings and short-run products for injection moldings are made from nylon. While very similar to nylon in color and properties, Delrin provides for better machinability.

If you’re still in need of further guidance or need a material machined for your product or application,  contact us today!

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