Aluminum Machining
Aluminum Machining

The most prevalent metallic element in the planet’s crust is called aluminum, which partly explains why it is employed in so many items that we use daily. In actuality, a non-ferrous metal is utilized widely and contains no iron. Aluminum is used in everyday items like foil and cans and highly specialized things like spacecraft and submarine equipment.

Properties of Commercial Aluminum Machining

Aluminum is the most widely utilized non-ferrous metal for a variety of reasons. It is suitable for various applications because it is extremely malleable and ductile. Due to its malleability, aluminum can be formed into foil, and due to its ductility, it may be pulled into rods and wires.

A protective oxide layer that forms when aluminum is exposed to air gives the material great corrosion resistance. Additionally, this oxidation can be artificially generated to offer even more robust weatherproofing. Aluminum has a natural barrier against corrosion that makes it more resistant to rust than carbon steel, but it can’t quite match the amount of chromium in stainless steel. Additionally, aluminum is a better heat and electricity conductor compared to carbon and stainless steel.

Aluminum machining is quicker and easier than steel. Because of its high strength-to-weight ratio, it is a viable option for many applications that call for a robust, rigid material. Finally, more chip material can be saved, melted, and used because aluminum recycles better than other metals. As much as 95% less energy than what is required to generate virgin aluminum can be saved by recycling.

Aluminum Alloys

Commercially available aluminum and aluminum used in CNC aluminum machining projects are never 100% pure metals; they frequently contain trace levels of alloying elements. What would otherwise be a very soft metal that gains strength and hardness from these alloying components? Standard aluminum still contains 99 to 99.6% by weight of aluminum (the element), with the remaining 1% made up of common elements like silicon, manganese, magnesium, copper, and zinc.

An endless number of different aluminum alloys can be created by slightly varying the proportions of alloying elements. Some compositions, meanwhile, have emerged as being more practical than others. These typical aluminum alloys are categorized based on the primary alloying component. Every series shares some characteristics. For instance, the 3000, 4000, and 5000 series of aluminum alloys must be cold-worked, sometimes called work hardening, since they cannot be heated.

Aluminum Conditioning, Treatments, and Finishes

Heat treatment is a standard conditioning procedure for many metals that chemically modifies the material’s characteristics. Increasing the hardness and strength is important in, particular for aluminum. Untreated aluminum is a soft metal, so it must undergo some conditioning to withstand specific uses. For aluminum, a letter designation is added to the end of the grade number to denote the process.

As you can see, using aluminum for your upcoming CNC machining job makes sense. Aluminum is perfect for several applications due to its superior machinability, accessible alloys, and treatments. Parallel Ventures provides high-precision CNC machining for various popular aluminum alloys, and we can assist you in selecting the best one.