CNC Machining Materials

Brass

At a glance

Processes

CNC Mill
CNC Lathe

Lead Time

As fast as 3 days

Finishing Options

Media blasting

Tolerance

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

Price

$$

Applications

Gears, lock components, pipe fittings, and ornamental applications

About the material

360 Brass is also known as free machining brass, due to it having the highest amount of lead content of any brass alloy. This excellent machinability comes with minimal tool wear. It is commonly used for a variety of parts such as gears, lock components, pipe fittings, and ornamental applications.

Material Properties

360 Brass

Yield Strength (tensile)

15,000 psi

Elongation at Break

53%

Hardness

Rockwell B35

Density

0.307 lbs / cu. in.

Maximum Temp

1650° F

McMaster Part Number

8954K59

Material Finish

360 Brass has a shiny yellow finish that varies depending on surface roughness. It can be hand-polished to increase its sheen (think trumpet or saxophone), or media blasted for more of a matte texture.

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.

CNC Machining Brass FAQs

Which quality standards do cnc brass parts comply with?

CNC milled brass products strictly comply with the following quality standards:

  • ISO 9001 – a universal quality standard that outlines numerous quality management systems and processes.
  • ASTM International – a quality standard agency that creates and publishes voluntary control according to a number of technical specifications for systems and products.
  • CE Mark – a mark of quality, which proves the parts conform to the required health, environmental, and safety standards.
  • PMPA – a quality standard agency, which oversees production of different types of precision machined products

What is the cutting speed for brass?

Cutting speeds for brass using a plain high speed steel cutter are 90-210 MPM (meters per minute) and 300-700 SFM (surface feet per minute).

Is brass easier to machine than aluminum?

Brass is one of the easiest materials to machine, especially in comparison to aluminum. Where aluminum can often stick to machining tools, brass seems to adhere to tools less during machining. It is a metal alloy made of copper and zinc and is one of the most highly used materials in the world, but is still underutilized in the US in machining.

What are tips for CNC machining brass?

These tips will help you experience more success when CNC machining brass:

  1. Carbide cutting tools or cutters with carbide inserts can improve the material removal rate and extend the tool life.
  2. Allow mills to run a higher speed.
  3. Use spindle liners to protect the equipment, workpiece, and machine operators.
  4. Faster machining speeds and higher quality in brass turning or milling can be achieved by reducing the clearance to damp vibration and eliminating the bar whip.
  5. Proper programming is essential in cnc machining brass, for example, using the proper G-code to set spindle speed and operations based on the requirements of your project.

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