If you have always wanted to read something new about aluminum CNC machining – wel, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 5 (little known) facts about aluminum CNC machining.
In such a technical field as CNC machining, a lot of information gets misconstrued or downright goes unknown. This is partly due to people filling in the blanks by themselves or just “winging it”. Sometimes, this misinformation doesn’t heavily affect a business’ bottom line. Other times however, a lack of solid background can negatively affect workflow and output in devastating ways. In this article, we are going to take a look at 5 facts about aluminum CNC machining that while known by most in the space, may be new to others.
- The value of aluminum in CNC: It is a known fact that aluminum is the most used material in CNC machining. It is heralded by the various industries that rely on CNC machining for parts and components. This is due to a unique combination of properties that are possessed by the metal. Aluminum is lightweight, nonferrous, heavily fire proof, durable, strong, and an excellent conductor of electricity (at about 37 million Siemens per square meter). All of these mean that the metal is sought after by industries such as aerospace, automotive, military, and consumer electronics.
- Aluminum comes in different grades: Before starting work on any aluminum CNC project, it is important to understand the different aluminum grades. Grade 6061 is highly weldable and has excellent mechanical properties (making it great to extrude). This means that the grade is commonly applied for 5 axis machining.Grade 7075 is popular, but isn’t quite used as commonly as the aforementioned grade. 7075 is mostly heralded due to its high fatigue strength. But, because it is very costly, its use is reserved for tougher parts such as aerospace, consumer electronics, and automotive industry applications.Lastly, we have grade 2024. Just like 7075, this grade is also utilized mostly in the aerospace and military. Properties such as strength, and wear resistance make it great for these applications.
- Strength-to-weight ratio: Aluminum as a material hits a very important sweet spot: it is both lightweight as well as strong. This makes it such that it is highly workable but also, will not break apart when subjected to high pressure environments either during manufacturing or in use. This makes it extremely suitable for the manufacture of critical parts in crucial product industries such as automotive, aerospace, and heavy equipment parts manufacture.
- Aluminum has high anodization potential: Aluminum is greatly demanded for manufacturing especially in the consumer electronics industry. This is not just because of its excellent strength to weight ratio. It is also because of the metal can be treated with anodization – a finishing process that renders the outside layer more resistant to oxidization. This process typically takes place after the machining process is completed and it usually involves passing an electric current through the component whilst it is places in a vat of electrolytic acid. The final product is a piece of aluminum that now is more resistant to rust as well as physical impact (to some degree).
- Combining with other processes: It is not common knowledge, but, aluminum CNC machining can be combined with other processes depending on the scenario, required outcome, and the part being manufactured. It can be combined with processes such as aluminum extrusion, die casting, investment casting, and forging – to mention a few.
To conclude, these aforementioned facts should help you on your way to expertise in handling aluminum CNC machining projects. In addition to these, always endeavor to learn more and constantly update yourself