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CNC Milling Aluminum – The Ultimate Guide

CNC-Milling-Aluminum(1)
Austin Peng
Published 25 Jun 2024

Aluminum is a lightweight, corrosion-resistant metal with a high strength-to-weight ratio. It is widely used in various industries due to its various excellent properties.

There are many ways to process aluminum, including milling, turning, drilling, and grinding. CNC milling aluminum is the most used processing technology and has advantages in all aspects. In this blog, you will learn more about why you should choose CNC milling as a processing method for aluminum parts.

What are the Advantages of Choosing Aluminum for CNC Milled Parts?

What-are-the-Advantages-of-Choosing-Aluminum-for-CNC-Milled-Parts

Some common advantages of choosing aluminum for CNC milled parts are given as under:

Machinability

Aluminium is a lightweight material that is soft and can be easily moulded into a variety of shapes. It is extremely versatile and much cheaper than steel, making it very useful in the manufacturing industry. The excellent machinability of aluminium alloys means that they can be cut easily with less risk of deformation during machining, and require less power to process.

These properties mean that you can achieve greater precision and tighter tolerances when CNC milling custom aluminium parts.

Strength-to-Weight Ratio

The density of aluminum is 2.7g/cm^3, which is about one-third of the density of steel (7.8g/cm^3). The high strength-to-weight ratio of aluminum alloys is another advantage of CNC milling, making it an ideal choice for manufacturing key components of aerospace, automotive parts and ships.

Corrosion Resistance

Aluminium reacts with oxygen in air and its surface tends to form a dense aluminium oxide film that prevents further oxidation of the metal inside. The oxide layer on the radiator provides natural protection against corrosion.

Performance at Low Temperatures

Most materials do not perform perfectly at low temperatures, such as steel and cast iron, which become very brittle and easy to break.

Aluminium, however, increases in strength without brittleness at low temperatures, making it an ideal metal for use in cryogenic installations, including cold stores, freezers, and production units for Antarctic snow vehicles.

Electrical Conductivity

Aluminium has a conductivity of 37.7 MS/m at 20 degrees Celsius. Aluminium alloys provide electrical conductivity to their components, making them suitable for use in electrical components. If conductivity is not a major requirement for machined parts, then aluminium alloys are not suitable materials.

Recyclability

CNC milling is a subtractive manufacturing process that generates a large amount of chips during machining, which are viewed as waste materials.

However, aluminium has a very high recycling value as it has a very low level of wear and tear during use and does not lose its basic properties after repeated recycling.

Custom Finishing

The surface of aluminum and its alloys has an oxide film, which is silvery white and quite beautiful. If it is oxidized, the oxide film on its surface will be stronger. Aluminum anodizing is the most commonly used surface treatment for aluminum materials. In addition, electroplating, powder coating and spraying can be used to produce surfaces of various colors and glosses.

Why is Aluminum Ideal Material for CNC Milling?

Why-is-Aluminum-Ideal-Material-for-CNC-Milling

Aluminum is considered an ideal material for CNC milling because of the following reasons:

  • It has many desirable physical properties.
  • It’s vital to bear the high weight of the sturdy materials
  • It’s perfect to use for a variety of the mechanical parts
  • It’s pretty resistant to corrosion
  • It can withstand high ranges of temperature
  • It comes with extreme flexibility
  • It has adaptive mechanical properties
  • It is available with a high thermal conductivity

You can visit DEK for more information about the properties of aluminum for CNC milling.

Which Aluminum Series are Suitable for CNC Milling?

Which-Aluminum-Series-are-Suitable-for-CNC-Milling

Aluminum 6061-T6 is considered one of the most durable aluminum series that is used for CNC milling.

All alloys included in this series are known as the best manufacturing materials for durable CNC products.

The extreme versatility of the aluminum 6061-T6 makes it perfect to undergo the changing heat treatments without any significant alteration in its physical properties.

Moreover, it has a high strength-to-weight ratio, thereby yielding high Machinability and natural corrosion resistance.

It’s also considered the perfect aerospace-grade material that can bear the hardness of many other sturdy materials.

It’s used to make a long list of the electric and aircraft parts.

Video Link: https://youtu.be/yHEIrjjlAJ0

Which Industries Use the Aluminum CNC Milling?

Which-Industries-Use-the-Aluminum-CNC-Milling

Following industries make the most of the CNC milling aluminum technology:

Automotive: From the perspectives of high speed, comfort, beauty, durability, light weight, energy saving, environmental protection, and overall cost reduction, aluminum alloy is undoubtedly the preferred material for modernization and lightweighting of the automotive industry. Aluminum materials are mainly used in some parts of the engine, gearbox, cooling system, engine hood.

Aerospace: Aluminum alloy profiles used in aerospace boast high compressive strength, while maintaining superior heat resistance and corrosion resistance, all at a lower cost. This makes them a viable alternative to expensive titanium alloys, becoming an indispensable lightweight structural material in both military and civilian aircraft and other transportation vehicles.

Electronic: Aluminum has the characteristics of light weight, good heat dissipation, good energy saving effect and high aesthetics. It is widely used in the heat dissipation of various power electronic equipment and computer digital products.

Others: Marine, Oil and Gas, Food and Sports.

After CNC Milling Aluminum Parts, What Surface Finishing can be Used?

After-CNC-Milling-the-Aluminum-Parts-What-Surface-Finishing-can-be-Used

Following surface finishing methods are mainly used after CNC Milling aluminum parts:

Machined Finish

This finishing method uses cutting tools to improve the quality of the manufactured part’s surface. It helps to improve the rough surface of the manufactured parts.

The average roughness scale of the CNC aluminum parts is estimated at up to 3.2 micrometres. The cutting finishing is applied to improve the finishing of the parts up to 0.8 micrometres.

Anodizing (Type II & III)

This method uses a thin ceramic layer to add an extended finish to the surface of the CNC milled aluminium parts. It helps to get rid of the corrosion and wear caused by the tools.

The anodized coating is famous for adding finish to the CNC Machined aluminum parts since it’s electrically non-conductive and gives high hardness to the aluminum parts.

Bead Blasting

This finishing method helps to add a perfect stain finish or matte finish on the surface of the CNC milled aluminum parts. It also helps to remove the tool marks on the products.

Furthermore, the surface of the CNC milled aluminum is bombarded with small glass beads with the help of an air gun. In this way, bead blasting helps to remove other materials and smoothes the surface.

Painting

It’s used to remove unnecessary paint, rust and any other residue from the CNC milled aluminum parts. It’s a quick and efficient method to improve the finishing and quality of aluminum parts.

This finishing method has been used for more than a hundred years now. It also helps to get rid of the extra scratches and casting marks from the aluminum parts.

You can approach DEK to explore other finishing methods for CNC milling aluminum parts.

Is Aluminum Suitable for Small Batch CNC Milling?

Is-Aluminum-Suitable-for-Small-Batch-CNC-Milling

Yes, aluminum is perfectly suitable for small batch CNC milling because of the following reasons:

  • It comes with high Machinability
  • It is pretty ductile
  • It has a good-to-weight ratio for the harder materials
  • It gives an ultimate finish to the manufactured materials
  • It provides high electrical conductivity to the industrial parts
  • The low density of aluminum makes it perfect to process the small batches
  • The small batches of the aluminum can also be anodized for further finishing
  • The high thermal conductivity also support the production of small batches of CNC milling aluminum

Video Link: https://youtu.be/M-1dYJWh3rw

Is Aluminum CNC Milling Service Suitable for Mass Production?

Is-Aluminum-CNC-Milling-Service-Suitable-for-Mass-Production

Yes, aluminum CNC milling services are suitable for the mass production of industrial parts.

The high flexibility and flexible nature of aluminum make it best for the mass production of aluminum parts.

The aluminum CNC milling doesn’t compromise the quality and accuracy of the manufactured parts.

A streamlined workflow with cutting-edge technology is supported with the CNC milling aluminum technology.

How to Choose the Precision Aluminum CNC Milling Shop?

You can choose the most reliable precision aluminum CNC milling shop by following the given steps:

  • Explore the number of CNC aluminum milling shop options available in your region
  • Choose the provider that meets all your needs.
  • Visit the aluminum CNC milling shop to make sure about the milling processes.
  • Check the availability of the R&D services at the CNC milling aluminum for the production of modern products.
  • Ensure the availability of the inspection team for the high precision and accuracy of manufactured products

You can contact DEK for the best services of CNC milling aluminum since it meets all customers’ needs.

Does DEK Offer Aluminum CNC Milling Services?

Does-DEK-Offer-Aluminum-CNC-Milling-Services

Yes, DEK provides the best aluminum CNC milling services to customers all around the world.

Besides the CNC aluminum milling services, DEK also ensures the availability of all finishing measures for the milled aluminium parts.

It’s famous for aiding the different mechanical industries to manufacture versatile CNC aluminum parts.

They use the highest quality and modern technology to produce CNC aluminum milled parts.

Does DEK Offer Sandblasted and Anodized Finishing After CNC Milling Aluminum Parts?

Yes, DEK is one of those Chinese manufacturers that provide the best services for sandblasted and anodized finishing methods for all types of CNC milled parts.

You can contact us for increasing the surface finish of the roughly manufactured CNC milled aluminum parts.

Different technologies and modern machines improve the finishing of the aluminum parts through sandblasting and anodizing.

Does DEK Offer CNC Milling Aluminum Prototypes?

Do-DEK-Offer-CNC-Milling-Aluminum-Prototypes

Besides CNC milling, DEK is also known for providing the best and reliable CNC milling aluminum prototypes in China.

We introduce a unique method of complex designs for making the highest quality of CNC Milled parts.

Besides the CNC milling aluminum services, DEK also provides the best services for verifying and pre-production of the CNC milled aluminum parts.

Does DEK Offer Low Volume CNC Milling Aluminum Parts?

Yes. You can find the best low volume CNC milling aluminum parts for many industries, including aerospace and automotive.

Regardless of the low volume production of the CNC milled aluminum parts, DEK never compromises the quality and accuracy of the manufactured parts.

How to Get a Quotation from DEK?

You should follow the given steps for getting a quotation from DEK:

  • Visit the official website of the manufacturer
  • Choose your demanded service
  • Send your email to the quote@dekmake.com
  • You can also contact their support team by leaving your message at dekmake.com/quote.
  • You’ll get a response in less than 6 hours.
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Austin Peng
Co-founder of DEK
AUTHOR
Hello! I'm Austin Peng. I manage a factory that specializes in CNC machining, injection molding, and sheet metal fabrication for small quantity production and rapid prototyping solutions. When I'm not immersed in work, I love diving into football matches, exploring new travel destinations, enjoying music, and staying updated on the latest tech trends. Feel free to chat with me about anything, whether it's work or life!

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