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What materials do CNC machinists use?

June 9, 2023

CN (Computer Numerical Control) machinists use a variety of materials depending on the specific project requirements. Here are some common materials used in CNC machining:

  1. Metals: CNC machinists often work with various metals such as aluminum, steel, stainless steel, brass, copper, titanium, and alloys like Inconel. These materials are widely used in industries ranging from aerospace and automotive to electronics and medical.

  2. Plastics: CNC machining also involves working with different types of plastics, including acrylic, polycarbonate, nylon, PVC, ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), and PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone). Plastics are frequently used in industries like consumer products, electronics, and prototyping.

  3. Wood: Wood is another material used in CNC machining, particularly in applications such as furniture manufacturing, cabinetry, signage, and decorative items. Different types of wood, such as plywood, MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard), and hardwoods like oak or maple, can be machined using CNC equipment.

  4. Composites: CNC machinists may work with composite materials, which are engineered materials made by combining two or more constituent materials. Common composite materials include carbon fiber composites, fiberglass, and laminates. These materials are often found in aerospace, marine, and automotive industries.

  5. Foam: CNC machining is also used to shape foam materials, typically for packaging, insulation, and architectural applications. Polystyrene foam (EPS or XPS) and polyurethane foam are commonly machined using CNC routers or mills.

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