CNC Machining Magnesium

Material Description

Magnesium is a lightweight and highly versatile metallic element, with the chemical symbol Mg and atomic number 12. It boasts several noteworthy technical characteristics that make it an indispensable material in various industries. Its low density, approximately 1.74 grams per cubic centimeter, grants magnesium exceptional weight-saving properties, making it ideal for applications where weight reduction is crucial, such as in the aerospace and automotive industries. Moreover, magnesium exhibits excellent thermal conductivity, which allows it to dissipate heat effectively, a feature valuable in manufacturing components for electronics and automotive engines. Its remarkable corrosion resistance is particularly advantageous in marine and aerospace environments, as it ensures durability over extended periods. Additionally, magnesium’s high strength-to-weight ratio is a significant advantage in structural applications, allowing engineers to design lightweight yet robust components.

Furthermore, magnesium’s ease of machining and exceptional casting properties contribute to its widespread use in manufacturing processes. The material is known for its excellent weldability, enabling the fabrication of intricate and custom components. In terms of mechanical properties, magnesium possesses good tensile and compressive strength, making it a valuable choice for components subjected to various loading conditions. However, it can be susceptible to corrosion when exposed to certain environments, necessitating appropriate protective coatings or alloying with other elements to enhance its corrosion resistance. In conclusion, magnesium’s combination of low density, high thermal conductivity, corrosion resistance, and machinability makes it a highly desirable material for a diverse range of technical applications.


AZ31 & AZ91 Magnesium Alloy

Finishing Options

Anodizing, Painting, Powder Coating

DensityTensile Yield
Strength (MPa)
Conductivity (W/m-K)
Coeff. of
(micro Ohm-cm)
174090-400 50-15030 - 55~15626.244-67

Design Recommendation

When designing with magnesium, it is crucial to consider its unique properties and challenges. Due to its low density and high strength-to-weight ratio, magnesium is an excellent choice for lightweight applications. However, it is susceptible to corrosion, so protective coatings or alloys should be employed to enhance its durability. Additionally, attention must be paid to magnesium’s flammability, requiring proper safety measures. Designers should optimize for efficient casting and machining techniques, as magnesium can be challenging to work with due to its high reactivity. Finally, thorough material selection and a detailed understanding of magnesium’s characteristics are vital to ensure the success of any design project involving this metal.

Cost Saving Tip

Machining magnesium requires a focus on safety and efficiency. Start by using specialized carbide or polycrystalline diamond (PCD) tools designed for magnesium alloys, which reduce tool wear and extend tool life. Efficient chip evacuation is crucial to prevent re-cutting and heat buildup. This can be achieved through the use of chip breakers and proper workholding practices. Additionally, maintaining a controlled machining environment, with a clean and well-ventilated workspace, is essential to prevent contamination and avoid costly rework, ultimately ensuring a cost-effective machining process.