Selection of the right materials is paramount to many designs as CNC machining of prototype parts has become even more technical and demanding. Almost any material can be used in a CNC machine. It really depends on the application. Common materials include metals such as aluminum, brass, copper, steel, and titanium, as well as wood, foam, fiberglass, and plastics such as polypropylene.
When selecting materials, be sure to consider:
The first step is selecting the requirement for the physical properties; these include things such as electrical conductivity, density, modulus of elasticity, thermal conductivity and thermal expansion.
After the physical properties have been identified, mechanical properties are selected. Common properties are standard temper, tensile strength, yield strength, elongation and hardness.
This step is often ignored, yet is critically important. The selection of improper materials to meet manufacturability standards can be showstoppers. Properties like formability, machinability, and weld ability can be critical.
An important part of materials selection is to be sure to take into account recyclability, impact resistance, toughness, surface hardness for wear application, special properties at extreme temperatures, material creep and corrosion resistance.
Do not make the mistake of selecting the material based on the cheapest price. Although price may be a factor, choosing the wrong material may cost more in the long run. This can occur by requiring more than a weaker material can handle, or simply an environmental or application failure.
There are many decisions to be made when choosing the best materials and methods for the development of prototypes. At ByTune, our commitment to high precision means that each step of the manufacturing process is carefully considered, resulting in the highest quality parts with affordable price for each application.