Introduction

Aluminum is a versatile material with properties that make it ideal for CNC machining. Aluminum has excellent machinability, welding and electroplating properties as well as good corrosion resistance. The metal is also characterized by a high strength-to-weight ratio and good temperature resistance. After machining, aluminum has a low risk of deformation or defects and is easy to polish and color.

Because of these properties, aluminum is a broadly used metal in many industries, including automotive, defense, aerospace, transportation, construction, packaging, electronics, consumer goods and more.

Aluminum Subtypes

Aluminum 6061-T6

Aluminum 6061 is one of the most commonly used aluminum alloys in the world. It is characterized by its high strength and corrosion resistance as well as its excellent machinability and weldability. In terms of applications, the material is used for many things, from pipe fittings to aerospace-grade parts.

Tensile StrengthElongationHardnessMaximum TempManufacturing Process
45 KSI17%95 HRB1080 °F – 1206 °FSheet Metal Fabrication, CNC Milling, CNC Turning
cnc machining raw material - aluminum 7075

Aluminum 7075-T6

Aluminum 7075 is a high strength aluminum alloy that was originally created for the aerospace industry, specifically, for aircraft parts. Today, Aluminum 7075 is used to produce a range of high-stress components, such as keys, gears, rock climbing and bicycle parts.The aluminum alloy is commonly used instead of Aluminum 2024 as it has similar performance and superior strength.

Tensile StrengthElongationHardnessMaximum TempManufacturing Process
74-78 KSI5-8%150 HRB890 FCNC Milling, CNC Turning

Aluminum 6082

Aluminum 6082 is a common aluminum alloy known for its medium strength and excellent corrosion resistance. In the Aluminum 6000 series, the 6082 alloy has the highest strength and is thus considered a structural alloy. The alloy is commonly used for applications in transport, general engineering, bridges and more.

Tensile StrengthElongationHardnessMaximum TempManufacturing Process
270 Min MPa6 Min %95 HRB1070 – 1200 ºFCNC Milling, CNC Turning

Surface Finish

Anodizing

Anodizing improves corrosion resistance, enhancing wear resistance and hardness, and protecting the metal surface. Widely used in mechanical parts, aircraft, and automobile parts, precision instruments, etc.

Anodizing Image
Bead blasting

Bead blasting results in parts with a smooth surface with a matte texture. Used mainly for visual applications and can be followed by other surface treatments.

Bead blasting Image
Brushing

Brushing is a surface treatment process in which abrasive belts are used to draw traces on the surface of a material, usually for aesthetic purposes. Most commonly applied to aluminum.

Brushing Image
Electroplating

Electroplating can be functional, decorative or corrosion-related. Many industries use the process, including the automotive sector, in which chrome-plating of steel automobile parts is common.

Electroplating Image
Painting

Painting the surface of a part improves its aesthetic appearance and can provide brand recognition to consumers. In addition, painting can have a protective effect on parts.

Painting Image
Polishing

Polishing is the process of creating a smooth and shiny surface, either through physical rubbing of the part or by chemical interference. The process produces a surface with significant specular reflection, but in some materials is able to reduce diffuse reflection.

Polishing Image
Powder Coating

Powder coating forms a durable, wear resistant and corrosion resistant layer on the surface of parts. Powder coating can be used to apply colors to parts and is compatible with any metal.

Powder Coating Image

Manufacturability

Tolerance

- Standard: (+/-) 125 µm -Achievable: (+/-) 100 µm , (+/-) 50 µm

Wall Thickness

- The minimum wall thickness should be at least 1 mm for machined parts. - 2 mm is suggested for better strength and 2.5 mm for a rigid wall.

Pocket depth

- Pocket depth should be up to 3 times the diameter of the end mill

Engraving

- Engraving is preferable to embossing - For the clear, legible text consider fonts such as Arial or Gothic - Design letter strands with a width of at least 2 mm

Internal Radii

- The minimum internal radii possible is 1 mm - In general, internal radii dimensions depend on the depth of pocket being milled

Holes

- Use standard drill bit sizes - Minimum of 1 mm in diameter

Threads

- Use standard metric inserts - Smallest threaded insert possible is M2

Design Recommendations

Aluminum 6061-T6 is the most common material for CNC Machining because of its low risk of deformation and impurities, its stability and because of its excellent oxidation.

For Aluminum 7075, oxidation and especially hard oxidation are not recommended, as the material is prone to stains.

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