Why Using the Right Material in CNC Machining can Save You Time and Money

cnc manufacturing

CNC machining can consistently deliver high-precision, end-use parts for almost any application. Its ability to accommodate tight tolerance complex features with repetitive accuracy is why Computer Numerical Control is widely considered one of the most important manufacturing industry innovations ever.

But the final product is only as good as the material from which it’s made.

Using the right material matters when it comes to perhaps the two most important considerations of any part: functionality and cost.


Not all materials are created equal. Which is right for your part depends on a variety of factors, including the importance of rigidity or lack thereof, chemical resistance, heat treatability and thermal stability.

Choose the wrong material and your part might not perform properly, which means you could be sent back to the shop to design and machine another round of prototypes.

Every time you need another round of CNC machining–whether a prototype of the finished part–the overall cost of your project increases.


The material you choose will have a major impact on the cost of your project–and not just because some materials are more expensive than others.

In general, softer materials–such as aluminum, brass and plastics–are less expensive to machine, than harder, more rigid materials. Because it takes less time to remove materials from part blanks, the time and cost of the CNC machining is often greatly reduced.

Harder and more rigid materials–such as stainless steel and carbon steel–need to be machined with much slower spindle RPMs, which takes more time, increases the cycle times and leads to higher costs. In fact, aluminum tends to machine nearly four-times more quickly than carbon steel, and stainless steel machines only half as fast as carbon steel.

While paying for the labor and skill of CNC machining professionals can add up, it’s often nothing compared to the actual costs of the materials. In other words, the type of material you choose for your part is the major driver of costs.

Choose wisely for the best cost and functionality

Ultimately, your CNC machining partner can play a big role in helping you choose the right material for your part.

Working with a manufacturing partner that has extensive experience with a variety of techniques–from injection mold making to precision CNC machining–will ensure your parts are precise, of high quality and priced right.

QT is your CNC machining expert

QT Manufacturing has a long track record of assisting entrepreneurs and manufacturers in industries including aerospace, medical, telecommunications, photonics and more.

Their CNC machining experts offer various types of material selection for the different levels of precision custom molds based on project life, use, and overall price. This is very important when choosing from the spectrum of a prototype mold (class 104) to a full production high quality mold (Class 101).

Contact QT Manufacturing today at 972-221-0537 to discuss the materials for your next project.