CNC Machining Materials

Aluminum

At a glance

Processes

CNC Mill
CNC Lathe

Lead Time

3 days (rush)
5-7 days (standard)

Tolerance

With drawing: as low as +/- 0.005 mm
No drawing: ISO 2768 medium

Price

$$

Applications

Light & economic, used from prototyping to production

Alloys

6061-T6, 7075-T6, 7050, 2024, 5052, 6063, MIC6

Finishing Options

Alodine, Anodizing Types 2, 3, 3 + PTFE, ENP, Media Blasting, Nickel Plating, Powder Coating, Tumble Polishing.

About the material

Aluminum is one of the most commonly used metals in the world because of its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, low cost, and recyclability. Fictiv offers multiple aluminum alloys.

Our standard alloy on platform is 6061, a versatile and easy-to-machine metal. It is corrosion-resistant, non-magnetic, and heat treatable.

7075 Aluminum is a hard, high strength alternative to 6061 Aluminum . It is often used for parts in high-stress applications, and is also corrosion-resistant, non-magnetic and heat treatable.

7050 Aluminum can be used instead of 7075 when high stress corrosion resistance is necessary (ie. bulkheads and fuselage frames). It is heat treatable and non-magnetic.

2024 Aluminum is not as strong as 7075 Aluminum but is commonly used when a high strength-to-weight ratio is required. It is heat treatable and non-magnetic.

5052 Aluminum is the easiest aluminum to weld and is exceptionally corrosion resistant against salt spray and salt water. It is easy to form, heat treatable, and non-magnetic.

6063 Aluminum is more corrosion resistant and formable than 6061 Aluminum. It is not ideal for high strength applications, but can be used for exterior railings and decorative trim. It is heat treatable and non-magnetic.

Also known as jig plate or cast tool, MIC6 is a cast aluminum alloy that is great for tight tolerance applications due to it being stress-relieved. It is most commonly used in precision machine tables and tooling. MIC6 is non-magnetic and not heat treatable.

Material Properties

6061-T6 Aluminum

Yield Strength

35,000 PSI

Elongation at Break

12.50%

Hardness

Brinell 95

Density

2.768 g/㎤
0.1 lbs / cu. in.

Maximum Temp

1080° F

McMaster Part Number

8975K219

7075-T6 Aluminum

Tensile Strength

68,000 psi

Elongation at Break

11%

Hardness

Rockwell B86

Density

2.768 g/㎤
0.1 lbs / cu. in.

Maximum Temp

380° F

McMaster Part Number

1281t71

5052 Aluminum

Tensile Strength

23,000 psi

Elongation at Break

8%

Hardness

Brinell 60

Density

2.768 g/㎤
0.1 lbs / cu. in.

Maximum Temp

300° F

McMaster Part Number

88895k113

6063 Aluminum

Tensile Strength

16,900 psi

Elongation at Break

11%

Hardness

Brinell 55

Density

2.768 g/㎤
0.1 lbs / cu. in.

Maximum Temp

212° F

McMaster Part Number

89755k84

MIC6 Aluminum

Tensile Strength

23,900 psi

Elongation at Break

3%

Hardness

Brinell 65

Density

2.768 g/㎤ 0.1 lbs / cu. in.

Maximum Temp

1200° F

McMaster Part Number

86825K721

Material Finish

Untreated aluminum generally has a dull silver/grey finish which varies depending on the roughness of the surface.

Many consumer products made with aluminum are anodized, most notably the MacBook Pro. Anodization allows the introduction of a variety of color options and adds a consistent shine across the entire part.

Aluminum can also be media-blasted, sanded, and hand-polished to achieve a multitude of surface finishes. Alodine is often used as an alternative protective coating to anodize on aluminum parts, and can be clear or gold in color.

Design Recommendations

Min Wall Thickness

0.5 mm

Min End Mill Size

0.8 mm (0.03 in)

Min Drill Size

0.5 mm (0.02 in)

Max Part Size

1200 x 500 x 152 mm [x,y,z] (mill)
152 x 394 mm [d,h] (lathe)

Undercuts

Square profile, full radius, dovetail profiles

Radii : Depth

Depth must not exceed 12x drill bit diameter.
For end mills, depth must not exceed 10x tool diameter.

Cost Saving Tip

To reduce costs, limit the number of part setups, the number of inspection dimensions or tight tolerances, and deep pockets with small radii. If surface finish is not a concern, you may design your part to be made from the closest stock thickness, specified in a drawing.

 

CNC Machining Aluminum FAQs

What is the most common type of aluminum used for CNC milling?

Aluminum 6061 is the most popular aluminum alloy for CNC milling. It’s a versatile and easy-to-machine metal. It has a good strength-to-weight ratio, low cost, recyclability, non-magnetic, heat treatable, and natural corrosion resistance.

What is CNC billet aluminum?

A CNC billet part is machined from a block of material, such as aluminum. You can also make a part from a billet of steel, copper, stainless steel, or brass. Excess material is removed from the block to form the part. This is in contrast to a “cast” part that is formed by pouring molten material into a mold.

What are the benefits of cnc machining aluminum?

Aluminum offers specific benefits that simplify and improve the process of CNC machining. Many grades of aluminum can be effectively penetrated with cutting tools. Aluminum will chip easily and is relatively easy to shape, making aluminum three times faster to machine than iron or steel.

    Other benefits include:

  • Machinability
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Strength to weight ratio
  • Electrical conductivity
  • Anodization potential
  • Recyclability

How do you use a cnc router for aluminum?

The following tips apply to using a CNC router in the production of aluminum parts.

  • Don’t be in a hurry
  • Use a speeds & feeds calculator
  • Use CNC router bits (carbide endmills)
  • Use smaller diameter cutters
  • Be paranoid about clearing chips
  • Watch cut depths & slotting
  • Lubricate with a mist
  • Don’t slow the feedrate too much
  • In crease cut width and user fewer flutes
  • Use a horsepower limit to derate for rigidity

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