In order to dissipate heat and provide superior electric conductivity in various electronic components, copper is a perfect metal to employ. Copper is a great conductor of both heat and electricity. However, working with copper may be very challenging. Copper is difficult for CNC machining because it is a soft metal and it is also very ductile in nature.
How does machining copper work?
The intended cuts are programmed into the software before a CNC system is turned on and are specified in accordance with the appropriate equipment and machines. These devices and instruments will subsequently perform the allocated tasks, much like a robot.
Features of copper processing and requirements for cutting tools
Copper blanks can be treated mechanically with success. To achieve high-quality copper components, contact machining (for instance, on a CNC milling machine) must adhere to several guidelines. High ductility is copper’s primary characteristic Due to this, the cutter has a tendency to “bog down” in the material while cutting.
To achieve high processing performance and high-quality goods, you should:
- Use a carbide-cutting tool;
- Keep the blade of the tool very sharp.
- Avoid “forcing” the processing speed by exceeding the recommended feed and spindle speed;
- Ensure the use of a coolant (cutting fluid)
- Make efforts to clear the cutting area of chips (and also prevent chips from clogging the spiral grooves of the cutter).
How to improve the quality of copper machining?
Cold plastic deformation can marginally increase the quality of Copper CNC machining, but alloying significantly improves it.
Cold working reduces cutting forces, resulting in a smaller contact area, a greater shear angle, and thinner chips. Cutting forces are lower when working with single-phase brass 70/30; however, when working with two-phase brass 60/40, where cutting forces are lower across the entire range of cutting speeds, the chips are thinner, and the contact area on the front surface is small, there is an apparent decrease in cutting forces. In alloys with a high zinc content, where the relative content of the b-phase is higher, the lowest cutting forces are seen.
The advantages of copper machining
Copper is one of the most popular structural materials, and it is employed extensively across numerous sectors. Copper has long been mined and processed because of the metal’s ductility, low melting point, and relative ore availability. In addition, copper has several desirable qualities, including malleability, high thermal and electrical conductivity, enough strength, and ductility.
Additionally, it has good thermal and electrical conductivity and excellent corrosion resistance, making it perfect for use in electronics, communications equipment, and other related devices. The copper alloys 10100 and 11000 have outstanding hot and cold workability and high electrical and thermal conductivity.
Industries and products that usually require copper CNC machining.
- Electrical and electronic industries: motors, generators, switchgear, transformers
- Plumbing and heating: pipes, valves, fittings
- Automotive and aerospace: heat exchangers, engine components, fuel systems
- Defense: weapons systems, ammunition components, communication equipment
- Medical: orthopedic implants, equipment components, diagnostic devices
- Renewable energy: wind turbines, solar panels, and components for power storage.
Pure copper can be difficult to use for CNC machining; as a result, it should only be utilized in specific circumstances. You may overcome the difficulties and complete the copper milling with a good surface finish by adhering to the correct technique and maintaining good process control.
While copper CNC machining, sufficient safety precautions must be taken because there is a great likelihood that the cutting tool will break, and at high RPMs, that shattered tool can be hazardous. So it becomes very important to get the help of an expert if you wish to use copper for CNC machining; this is where karkhana.io comes into play; we have a large pool of experts in the field that you can get help with.
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