- Aluminum is lightweight.
- It’s flexible and easy to weld.
- Production costs are low by comparison.
- Aluminum corrosion resistance is excellent.
- It has superior anodizing surface finishing potential.
- Its electrical conductivity is perfect for countless projects.
- The aluminum strength to weight ratio is superb for CNC machining.
CNC Aluminum Machining Basics
Legitimate metal fabrication specialists should let you choose which aluminum grade you prefer. Yet, they should also offer expert advice based on their knowledge of sheet metals and other raw materials. The type of aluminum you use must align with industry production standards and relevant ISO regulations. Be sure to ask your team for more information during the design phase.
Aluminum parts are corrosion resistant, which means they’re less costly to fabricate. Although still a complex and dangerous process, operators don’t have to take as many precautions when machining aluminum. The reason is that lightweight yet durable alloys are less dense and more workable than many other materials.
TIP: If you’re looking for high-accuracy machining, check out CNC companies that offer aluminum casting services. You get a cleaner finish, which means fewer additional machining steps after the initial production.
The 5 Most Common CNC Aluminum Machining Processes
Whether they follow ISO standards for aluminum fabrication, CNC machine shops must still use proven techniques to create accurate parts. These are five of the most common aluminum machining methods:
This approach involves creating a cross-section on the surface of the workpiece using various high-precision processes such as milling and turning.
Pocket milling produces a hollow pouch in the aluminum without disturbing the surrounding surface.
#3. CNC Milling
#4. CNC Turning
#5. CNC Drilling
Skilled operators use a multi-point cutting tool to form a hole in the material for different applications.
Different CNC aluminum machining methods have unique drawbacks and benefits. You must understand cause and effect before choosing the best technique. So, don’t forget to discuss details with your engineering team.
Benefits of Machined Aluminum Parts
CNC aluminum machining is crucial to many industries. Look at the automotive, aerospace, medical, and technology sectors for countless examples. Advanced metal fabrication offers options that make products more versatile than ever before. You can even use aluminum for rapid prototyping (RP) if you choose the correct approach.
Your team will also find it easier to transform aluminum sheet metal into desired shapes and sizes. The material is extremely pliable but durable enough to withstand unusual pressure. Meanwhile, aluminum alloys don’t lose their innate characteristics during the machining process. Thus, they require less energy than steel and titanium to fabricate.
Aluminum comes in different types. Each type is called a grade, which describes its chemical composition. Most precision CNC machining requires aluminum grade 6063, however. It offers the best balance of machinable properties and is less expensive to manipulate.
Clients can customize aluminum grades based on their project or industry requirements. The best alloy type will help improve the product’s finish. Yet, some aluminum types are easier than others to plate with color. This is where excellent communication with your CNC aluminum machining team is critical.
DID YOU KNOW: You can recycle specific aluminum grades more efficiently than others.
More Information about Aluminum Grades
Aluminum anodizing can help boost corrosion resistance regardless of the grade. Anodization also makes adding color easier because it helps prepares the surface. CNC aluminum machining involves choosing the best grade materials for each phase. And that requires knowledge about how different grades interact or react to various machining processes.