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Machining Copper Alloys: Techniques and Tips for Superior Results

Copper alloys have been used in various applications for centuries due to their excellent electrical and thermal conductivity, corrosion resistance, and ease of fabrication. In today's manufacturing industry, these alloys are commonly used in electrical components, heat exchangers, plumbing fittings, and decorative items. Machining copper alloys can be challenging due to their high ductility and work hardening tendencies. In this blog post, we will explore the techniques and tips for achieving superior results when machining copper alloys.

Understanding Copper Alloys

Copper alloys can be divided into two main categories: wrought and cast alloys. Wrought alloys are further classified into several families, including brasses, bronzes, copper-nickels, and copper-nickel-zinc alloys. Each family has its unique properties and machinability characteristics. For instance, brasses are known for their excellent machinability, while bronzes can be more challenging to machine due to their higher strength and hardness.

Material Selection and Preparation

Selecting the appropriate copper alloy for your application is crucial for successful machining. Consider factors such as strength, conductivity, corrosion resistance, and appearance when choosing the material. Additionally, ensure that the material is free from defects, such as porosity, inclusions, and surface imperfections, as these can negatively impact the machining process.

Before machining, it's essential to anneal the copper alloy to soften the material and relieve internal stresses. This process can significantly improve the machinability and prevent work hardening during machining.

Tool Selection and Geometry

Choosing the right cutting tools is critical for successful machining of copper alloys. High-speed steel (HSS) and carbide tools are commonly used for this purpose. Carbide tools, in particular, offer higher cutting speeds and longer tool life, making them suitable for high-volume production.

Selecting the appropriate tool geometry is equally important. A positive rake angle, large relief angle, and sharp cutting edge are recommended for copper alloys. These features help reduce the cutting forces, minimize work hardening, and prevent built-up edge formation. Additionally, using tools with a larger nose radius can help distribute the cutting forces over a larger area and reduce tool wear.

Cutting Parameters and Techniques

When machining copper alloys, it's essential to use the appropriate cutting parameters, such as cutting speed, feed rate, and depth of cut. Generally, higher cutting speeds and lower feed rates are recommended for these materials. However, the optimal parameters can vary depending on the alloy composition, tool material, and machining operation.

To minimize work hardening, it's crucial to maintain a continuous chip formation during machining. This can be achieved by using a constant feed rate and avoiding interruptions in the cutting process. Additionally, employing climb milling techniques can help reduce the cutting forces and prevent work hardening.

Coolants and Lubricants

Using coolants and lubricants during machining can significantly improve the surface finish and tool life. For copper alloys, water-soluble coolants are typically recommended due to their excellent cooling and lubricating properties. However, some alloys, such as leaded brasses, can be machined dry or with minimal lubrication.

When using coolants, it's essential to ensure proper delivery and coverage of the cutting zone. This can be achieved by using high-pressure coolant systems or spray mist systems. Additionally, maintaining the coolant concentration and cleanliness is crucial for optimal performance.

Workholding and Fixturing

Proper workholding and fixturing are critical for achieving accurate and consistent results when machining copper alloys. Due to their high ductility, these materials can be prone to distortion and deformation during machining. Therefore, it's essential to use rigid and stable workholding systems that can securely hold the workpiece without causing excessive clamping forces.

When designing fixtures, consider using soft jaws or custom-shaped clamps that can conform to the workpiece geometry and distribute the clamping forces evenly. Additionally, using hydraulic or pneumatic clamping systems can help minimize the risk of distortion and improve the machining efficiency.


CNC Copper Machining

CNC Machining Copper Material is good electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, it is soft and good for machining as it has high plasticity, it is easily and rapidly to carry out desired shape as machining cutter can run faster than other steel materials, and also reach high precision.

Copper has a shiny reddish-orange finish, which varies slightly based on the surface finish method. Copper can be media-blasted and polished to achieve many different cosmetic surface finishes.

CNC Machining Copper Parts are widely used in the manufacture of electrical wires, cables, electric brushes, electric spark, and other electrical devices and products.

CNC Copper Machining

Benefits of CNC Copper Machining

1/ CNC Machining Copper Parts are excellent in electricity conductivity, supporting very good electric function

2/ CNC Machining Copper Parts are soft, easy to design into different shape, also suitable for many processes

3/ Copper is easy for cutting and machining, its production efficiency is much higher than steel series

4/ Good propriety for bending and shaping

5/ Heat transferring function very good, high resistance, temperature stability, long durable using

6/ Stable surface, non-surface treatment is durable, electroplating is also used on copper parts

CNC Copper Machining

Composition And Property of CNC Machining Copper

Copper Property Alloy Type Content Melting Point Hardness Tensile Strength Density
Cu-based Zn, Sn, Si, Al, Ni 1083°C HB35-45 Low 8.9 g/cm3

Common Materials Code of CNC Machining Copper

Copper Alloy Workable Processes Surface Finishing for Copper Parts Materials Code
CNC Turning, CNC Milling, CNC Drilling, Molding, Forging, Fabrication, Welding, etc. Passivation, Anodizing, Plating, Chemical Polishing, etc. Copper 110
Copper 101
Copper 145
other more Copper Alloy

Asianstar: Professional CNC Machining Supplier

From year of 2005, Asianstar Company establish the CNC Machining Factory in Guangdong Province, China.
We mostly provide CNC Turning, Milling, Drilling, Grinding, and Multi Machining processes service on various materials.
With the Belief of becoming a key supplier in the supply-chain of Precision Components, we strictly control our product quality, keep high precision on our components production, buildup the whole-process QC System and submit the satisfaction for every order.
By long term development, we have buildup partnership with world-wide clients, supporting our partners in Designing, Optimizing, Producing and Testing on each type of components.


Advantages of Asianstar CNC Copper Machining

Strong Facilities

Asianstar many CNC and stamp machines allow us to produce various copper parts, different sizes, and structures are all well done by suitable solution

Long-term Skills

Asianstar professional engineers team has experience from year 2005, producing copper parts for world wide electric products

Stable Quality

Asianstar QC system and QC tools guarantee our products are perfect result. We have procedures to control copper parts quality during production

Competitive Price

Asianstar aim to buildup partnership with clients, always choose best suitable facilities to carry out the components in competitive prices


CNC Brass Machining


CNC Machining Brass material is used for wide range components, we support clients to produce a variety of parts such as gears, locks, electronics, pipe fittings, etc.

CNC Copper Machining


CNC Machining Copper material is soft and easy to machining on different shape of components. We mostly produce copper components for electric devices by machining and stamping

CNC Aluminum Machining


CNC Machining Aluminum materials is one of our most used materials. We support clients to turning, drilling or milling on aluminum material from size 0.5mm to 470mm

CNC Stainless Steel Machining

Stainless Steel

CNC Machining Stainless Steel are common material for wide range components, we produce Stainless Steel turning parts, milling parts, high smoothness components, etc.

CNC Titanium Machining


CNC Machining Titanium material brings components superb features, we use titanium to produce high precision work-piece for clients from aircraft, aerospace, medical devices

CNC Plastic Machining


Our CNC Machining Plastic materials includes ABS, HDPE, LDPE, Nylon, POM, Peek, Polycarbonate, etc. We produce them in high precision and high smoothness.


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