What Metals can be used in CNC Machining?

Close Up View Of Metal Studs And Bolts CNC Machined on white background

Metals Used in CNC Machining

CNC machines can create a precision part using a variety of different materials. If you know what kind of stress and temperatures it may operate under, you may better understand what metal(s) can be used. Here are some of the most common metals used in CNC Machining:


Aluminum is widely used due to its low density, high strength, excellent corrosion resistance, and good thermal and electrical conductivity. It is easily alloyed with other metals, making it suitable for various applications, including transportation, construction, aerospace, packaging, and electronics.

Aluminum is the most used metal on Earth and is only a third of the weight of steel. Aluminum is a great material due to its affordability, strength, and flexibility. Aluminum is highly recyclable and can be repeatedly melted down and reused without losing its properties. As a result, it is considered an environmentally friendly material and is valued for its sustainability. Aluminum is used in CNC machining to make housings, shafts, gears, and more.


Brass is a metal alloy composed primarily of copper and zinc. The proportion of these two elements can be altered to produce brass with different properties, such as strength, flexibility, corrosion resistance, and antimicrobial properties. It is a relatively dense, non-magnetic, and non-sparking metal.

Typical uses of brass include musical instruments, decorative items, plumbing fittings, hardware, and electrical components. Machining brass is simple and yields parts that are cost-effective, corrosion-resistant, and also very long-lasting. CNC machining uses brass for bearings, bushings, gears, and valves.


Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper and tin, alongside other elements like zinc, lead, or phosphorus in smaller proportions. Adding tin to copper significantly enhances the alloy’s strength, durability, and resistance to corrosion compared to pure copper.

Changing the amounts of copper, tin, and other elements can be used to make different types of bronze with special properties just right for specific uses. Some common types of bronze include phosphor bronze, aluminum bronze, and silicon bronze. Bronze is valued for its durability, strength, wear, corrosion resistance, and attractive appearance. It is commonly used in CNC Machining to manufacture bushings, bearings, electrical contacts, gears, valves, and threaded parts.


Copper is a reliable metal that occurs naturally in its usable form. It’s a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with high thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity. It won’t rust easily. Some of the other properties of copper include the following.

High electrical conductivity: Copper is an excellent conductor of electricity, making it a key component in electrical wiring and cables.

High thermal conductivity: Copper is also an efficient conductor of heat, which is useful for heat exchangers, cooking utensils, and other applications requiring heat transfer.

Antimicrobial properties: Copper surfaces naturally inhibit bacterial growth, making copper favorable for specific medical equipment and surfaces.

Copper is implemented in CNC machined parts for valves, tubing, electronics, and more.

Nickel Alloys

Nickel alloys are metallic materials that contain nickel as the primary element, along with other alloying elements such as chromium, iron, molybdenum, and cobalt. These alloys are designed to provide superior resistance to high-temperature and corrosive environments. Nickel alloys offer high mechanical strength and durability, making them suitable for harsh operating conditions.

Nickel alloys are used in many industries, including aerospace, automotive, petrochemical, and power generation. Because of their anti-corrosive properties, nickel alloys are used in chemical processing equipment, heat exchangers, and pipelines. Some nickel alloys, such as Nitinol, are used for medical implants due to their biocompatibility and shape memory properties. Nickel alloys are used to create parts such as valves, fittings, springs, medical implants, and other CNC-machined parts.

Nitronic 60

Nitronic 60 is a particular stainless steel metal known as UNS S21800 or Alloy 218, is an austenitic stainless steel with enhanced strength, wear resistance, and corrosion resistance compared to other stainless steels. Its primary components include chromium, nickel, and manganese, with additional elements like nitrogen, silicon, and carbon.  Nitronic 60 provides excellent resistance to galling and wear and superior resistance to cavitation erosion and pitting corrosion, especially in marine environments. 

Since Nitronic 60 is characterized by high strength, excellent corrosion resistance, and good mechanical properties, it finds applications in various industries. This alloy maintains good mechanical properties at elevated temperatures and has excellent low-temperature impact resistance. It is used in petrochemical, chemical, and food processing equipment. You can use Nitronic 60 in CNC machining for precision parts such as bushings, bearings, and valves.

Stainless Steel

Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon. Stainless steel is a type of steel alloy that contains at least 10.5% chromium content. The chromium oxide layer is extremely thin, but it is a powerful barrier against corrosion, making stainless steel a popular choice for various applications requiring rust and staining resistance, especially in harsh environments. Some types of stainless steel are also magnetic, while others are not.

Stainless steel, such as surgical steel, 303 Stainless, 304 Stainless, and 316 Stainless, have countless uses, from screws to airplane components, food and beverage, medical device components, and all sorts of things in between. Stainless steel is the go-to material for various applications since it’s easy to clean and offers an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. Stainless steel is used in CNC machining to create components for the aerospace and automotive industries, surgical equipment, and medical implants.


Titanium has a low density, high strength-to-weight ratio, excellent corrosion resistance, and a high melting point, making it ideal for various applications, particularly in aerospace, medical, and industrial fields. It is also biocompatible, meaning it is not harmful or toxic to living tissue, making it an excellent choice for medical implants.

Titanium has a wide range of applications. It is used in the aerospace industry for aircraft parts and structural components. It is also used in the medical sector for implants, such as hip and knee replacements, pacemakers, and dental implants. In the industrial field, it is used for pipes, tanks, heat exchangers, and other equipment requiring corrosion resistance and high temperatures. As different industries move more and more from aluminum to titanium, the skill level of the CNC Swiss machines will be an important factor in the success of the industry.

What Industries Need Metal Precision Parts?

Here Are the Industries that use precision metal parts:

Do You Need A Precision Metal Part?

At Colburn Manufacturing, we recognize that the manufacturing industry is continually evolving with new materials to use for projects. We are determined to stay on top of the game regarding technological advances and implement them for our customer’s convenience. We’re always looking for ways to stay ahead of the game. Investing in better materials and processes helps us fulfill our client’s expectations. With Swiss machining at the core of our manufacturing process, we’re well-positioned to continue providing our clients with top-quality machined components that meet the highest industry standards. Contact us to start your next project!