Hard Metals vs. Soft Metals for CNC Machining

CNC Machining
By jbc-admin

CNC machining is one of the premier fabrication methods used to make components and products. The material selection in this process is crucial to producing the optimal part or product. When it comes to metals, choosing a hard or soft metal for a product or part may be based on various factors. At JBC Machine, we are your source for a wide range of CNC machining services that may be used to produce precision soft and hard metal items.

There are a number of factors to consider before choosing a soft or hard metal for your CNC machining needs, as provided below.

Metal Mechanical Properties to Consider for CNC Machining

A material’s performance when subjected to various forces determines its mechanical properties. Some of the most important mechanical properties to consider when choosing hard or soft metals for CNC machining include:

  • Strength – Hard metals are generally stronger
  • Elasticity – Hard metals usually have greater elasticity than soft metals
  • Ductility – Soft metals are generally more ductile
  • Density – Includes both soft and hard metals
  • Hardness – A feature of hard metals
  • Damping – Hard metals usually have minimal damping capabilities
  • Fracture toughness – Hard metals have the higher fracture toughness

It is important to research the properties mentioned above of potential materials you may use if any of those properties are important for your applications.

Hard vs. Soft Metals

Hard metals such as chromium and tungsten are rarely employed in manufacturing and industrial settings. Relatively speaking, most metals without enhancement are naturally soft. They can be made harder and stronger with the addition of alloys or by hammering, stretching, or bending the material.

Soft metals that lack iron (nonferrous) are easy to cut and machine. They only require a small amount of heat treatment. The soft metals most commonly used in CNC machining are copper alloys. Another soft metal, aluminum, is also commonly used in CNC machining operations.

Engineers and production teams frequently design and manufacture parts using soft metals through the CNC machining process. With that said, soft metals are also usable with other manufacturing methods.

For the CNC machining services, you need for your applications, look no further than our team at JBC Machine. To find out more about our CNC machining capabilities, call us today at 920.779.1047, reach us through our contact form, or request a free quote on our website.

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