Aluminum is incredibly versatile, and very few materials can compare with it. Aluminum is an excellent material for CNC machining since it is both highly machinable and reasonably priced. It may be worked three or even four times as quickly by manufacturers as other commonly used machining materials like titanium and steel.
What types of aluminum are used in CNC machining?
There are three categories for the most popular alloys used in CNC machining:
- Cast aluminum alloys
Cast translates as formed when molten or liquid. Aluminum that has been heated to a liquid state and poured into a mold is used to create this sort of alloy. Alloys made of the cast are inexpensive, adaptable, light, strong, and capable of withstanding high temperatures.
- Aluminum Lithium alloys
Since lithium has the lowest density of all the elements, an alloy made of it is much lighter than an alloy made of pure or other materials. Because of this property, al-Li alloys are frequently used in the aerospace sector for fan blades, inner wing components, lower wing skins, and fuselages.
- Wrought aluminum alloys
The word “wrought” refers to a shape that is made of solid. This kind of alloy is made by rolling, forging, stamping, and extruding billets or substantial slabs of molten into desired shapes.
Aluminum CNC machining uses wrought alloys the most frequently. This is because they outperform cast alloys in mechanical characteristics and structural integrity. They are less harsh on the cutting tool’s edges and easier to manufacture. They also have better surface finishes.
What are the most common aluminum CNC machining processes?
- CNC milling machines
CNC milling is the most popular and adaptable method for processing aluminum parts. The device efficiently and precisely removes material from a stationary block of material using spinning cutters.
- CNC metal lathes
With a tool head holding a drill or cutting tool against it, CNC metal lathes or CNC metal turning centers firmly grasp and rotate a workpiece. Manufacturers employ these devices in a wide range of sectors because they enable the precise removal of material.
- CNC plasma cutters
The “plasma arc” formed by CNC plasma cutters may melt metal up to six inches thick by heating compressed air to an extremely high temperature. Computer-controlled torch head movement is managed while sheet material is held flat against a cutting table. The compressed air slices through the material as it blows the hot, molten metal away. Manufacturers employ plasma cutters in various industries because they are quick, precise, inexpensive, and reasonably straightforward.
- CNC laser machines
The material removed by CNC laser machines to produce a cut edge is either melted, burned, or vaporized. The sheet material is supported flat against a cutting table, much like a plasma cutter, while a computer directs the high-power laser beam’s course.
- CNC water cutters
Small nozzle forces high-pressure water jets through the material using CNC water cutters. Soft materials like wood or rubber can easily be sliced through with water. Operators typically mix an abrasive chemical with water to cut through tough materials like metal or stone.
CNC Machined Aluminum Components and Parts
Aluminum is CNC-machined into various parts and components that are helpful in a wide range of services. The engineering industry is currently seeing an increase in the use of precision CNC parts.
Here are a few examples of the parts that were CNC-machined:
- Front panels
- Dowels Pins
- Spline Shafts
- Medical Devices
- Lighting Fixtures
Benefits of aluminum CNC machining
Aluminum’s simplicity in machining makes it one of the primary materials engineers use for their machined components.
- Corrosion resistance
Different grades vary substantially in terms of how well they can survive corrosion and chemical degradation. Thankfully, some of the most widely used grades of CNC machining are also the most corrosion-resistant.
- Strength-to-weight ratio
Both mechanical sections are best suited for aluminum’s advantageous physical characteristics.
- Electrical conductivity
CNC-machined aluminum can be beneficial for electrical components since it conducts electricity well. Pure is around 37.7 million siemens per meter electrically conductive at ambient temperature, which is not as conductive as copper.
- Anodization potential
In the consumer electronics sector, machined components are particularly common due to crucial aesthetic considerations and the need for strength and weight.
Aluminum also has the advantage of being highly recyclable, which is why companies aiming to have a minimal impact on the environment choose to use it.
As you can see, there are several advantages to utilizing aluminum in your CNC machining project. Aluminum is a good choice for a wide variety of applications due to its high level of machinability and the availability of a wide range of alloys and treatments.
Karkhana.io professionals fully comprehend its capabilities and machining requirements.
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