CNC Milling Metals: What are they, and Which Should You Choose for Your Application.

milling machining

CNC milling is becoming popular day by day. It can be employed on various materials, including plastic, wood, and metals. Three-axes milling can cut material at high-speed CNC materials, and metals are those on which CNC milling is employed. The followings are the CNC metals materials and their applications.


Metals are commonly used materials for CNC milling, sheet metal and CNC machining. Many options are available for their selection as they have an extensive range. You can choose which material is easy to machine and suitable for your applications and CNC machining services. 


Aluminum is one of the common metals used in many industries and machining processes. Aluminum can be quickly machined compared to other metals, so it is highly corrosion-resistant because of the formation of a protective layer on exposure to the environment.

Aluminum also provides corrosion resistance and extra strength to the machine parts, which can be manufactured by using aluminum material. CNC milling material can be a good choice compared to other metals and materials both for aspect components and mechanical. Some commonly used aluminum alloys are 6061, 7075 and 6082.

Aluminum is the right material used for CNC machining and the aerospace industry, medical devices, automotive industry, aerospace for aircraft fittings, shafts, electronic housing, consumer electronics industry etc.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is a highly corrosive resided metal and a cost-effective option due to phosphorous and sulfur that can be easily heat treated. Stainless steel is commonly used in electronic hardware, surgical instruments, aerospace, and automotive. Stainless steel has less machinability than brass and other articles.

Stainless steel is versatile and one of the most common metals for CNC machining. However, stainless steel can not maintain good machinability to the low raw material cost ratio and is not easy to machine. Therefore it is not considered among the right materials for all applications. Some chemical properties of stainless steel are chemical resistance, hardness and high strength.


Brass is the most stable metal having an important factor of machinability. It is an inexpensive material that offers applications in consumer goods, contacts, musical instruments and electrical hardware. 

Brass is a soft metal and an alloy of zinc and copper. They can be machined easily and is highly workable at room temperature due to zinc and copper. Applications of brass depend on zinc percentage as with the increase of zinc percentage, and corrosion resistance can decrease.


Copper is a metal having high thermal conductivity and high corrosion-resistance properties but weak against some chemicals. It is used in engineering and industrial applications, including valves and cooling systems. It is highly cost-effective and considered good material for the CNC machining and milling process.


Steel is a metal whose different alloys can machine easily, so steel is best and suitable as CNC milling metal and CNC machining. Steel can be used in gears and shafts, commercial products, and parts that need strong welds.

Steel alloy is available for CNC machining processes, and the specific properties of a material can depend on the properties of the alloy. Steel is most used for commercial products, gear and shafts, and parts that require slightly higher stress and welding and machining applications.


Titanium material is one of the lightweight, corrosion-resistant materials. . Due to the higher strength of titanium material, titanium is widely used in jewelry, medical implants and aircraft components. It is well suited for many industries and CNC machining services and does not go through salt, water and ductility. Titanium material has a high melting point and temperature.


Bronze is a durable metal composed of copper and iron. It is highly corrosion resistant and has higher strength. It is widely used in agricultural and construction equipment due to its longevity.


Like metals, plastics can also be used for CNC milling. The followings are the CNC milling plastics with applications.


Delrin is high quality and durable material with high-strength plastic that is widely used in CNC machining and machines. It shows furniture, automotive, aerospace, medical, and electrical applications.


It is a flammable plastic that is non-corrosive and chemical resistant. It is cost-effective and used in various industries and machines to produce gas pipes, toys, etc.


Nylon is a plastic having great tensile strength, flame resistance, and high machinability. This type of plastic is used in mechanical parts, bearing and insulators, etc.


It is a stable engineering plastic with high strength and stability. It is an expensive metal that shows applications in connectors, test sockets, electronic components, switches, and sockets.


Because of its high stability and chemical characteristics, this type of plastic is considered the best solution for CNC milling. It is commonly used for furniture, art projects and rapid prototyping.

Carbon Fibers

Carbon fiber is a lightweight, thin, crystalline form of carbon and is highly malleable. It is used in automotive, marine and sporting goods, etc. 

What Factors Need to be Considered When Choosing a Metal for CNC Machining?

Before choosing the best quality metal material for CNC machining and sheet metal fabrication, you should consider certain factors for a better CNC machining process. The price of raw materials can affect the overall cost and price of a CNC machine and machining process. The followings are the certain factors that you should consider while selecting suitable metals, plastic, soft materials and mild steel. It will not only reduces machining cost but also helps in a better CNC milling process.

CNC Machining time

Machining time is among the important factors considered for CNC machining parts. Materials with high strength and cost-effective options may increase manufacturing time because they need easy-to-mill and high-grade milling material and machining parts.

Feed rates and cutting speed can increase its cost. Moreover, more time is required for the machining process for custom machined parts because they need high precision. More manufacturing time increases the cost of CNC machining. Thus, materials with less manufacturing time should choose. 

Strength requirements for the CNC Machined parts

The strength and weight of the material should consider for CNC machining. If a metal lacks enough tensile strength for the CNC machining process, it is a sign of less tolerance. Then it may not tolerate enough force, and thus the desired product is not formed. So, choosing a metal for machining with maximum strength and weight is necessary and can fully tolerate the applied force during the CNC machining process is necessary.

Environment Requirements for the CNC Machined parts

Environmental factors affect various metals used for CNC machining. So, it would be best if you chose a metal for machining that is easy to machine and can tolerate varying environmental factors such as pressure, moisture and temperature.

In other words, you can say that you should select a metal that is strong enough to not be affected by environmental factors. It should be flame and corrosion-resistant, Otherwise, it may increase the time and cost of the CNC machining process.

Surface finishes for CNC milling metal

Just like other materials, the surface finish for CNC metals is also crucial. Different metals have different machinability and chemicals properties. So you should add surface finish according to the conditions metals. Surface finish can improve corrosion resistance, enhance the appearance and prepare the metal for the final finish. Moreover, it also adds functionality to the CNC milling metal. So, a better surface finish should select for better CNC milling parts. 


From the above information,we introduced many metal materials used for CNC milling, and the factors you should consider for your project.Contact us for your cnc milling metal project for a try.


Worthy Hardware is a CNC manufacturing and sheet metal fabrication company,including CNC machining services,CNC milling services, CNC turning services, laser cutting services and stamping services.Call us +86-76989919645 or email us [email protected] for more discounts for your projects.