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Machining Stainless Steel 316: Tips, Techniques, and Best Practices

Stainless steel 316, also known as marine-grade stainless steel, is a popular choice for various industries due to its excellent corrosion resistance, high strength, and durability. This versatile material is used in various applications, including marine environments, chemical processing, and medical devices. However, machining stainless steel 316 can be challenging due to its unique properties. In this blog post, we will explore the tips, techniques, and best practices for machining stainless steel 316.

Understanding Stainless Steel 316

To machine stainless steel 316 effectively, it's essential to understand its characteristics. This alloy contains a minimum of 16% chromium, 10% nickel, and 2% molybdenum, which provides its exceptional corrosion resistance. Additionally, it has excellent mechanical properties, including high tensile strength and excellent toughness.

However, these properties also make stainless steel 316 more difficult to machine than other materials. It has a tendency to work harden, which can cause excessive tool wear and reduced tool life. Furthermore, stainless steel 316 is a poor conductor of heat, which can lead to high temperatures during machining and potential damage to the workpiece.

Tool Selection

Choosing the right tools is crucial for successful machining of stainless steel 316. Carbide tools are generally recommended due to their ability to withstand high temperatures and maintain sharp cutting edges. High-speed steel (HSS) tools can also be used, but they may not last as long or provide the same level of performance.

When selecting a tool, consider the following factors:

Tool geometry:Use tools with positive rake angles and large relief angles to reduce cutting forces and minimize work hardening. Additionally, choose tools with sharp cutting edges to reduce heat generation and improve surface finish.

Tool coatings:Coatings such as titanium nitride (TiN) or titanium aluminum nitride (TiAlN) can enhance tool performance by reducing friction and heat buildup.

Tool wear:Monitor tool wear closely and replace tools as needed to maintain optimal performance.

Cutting Parameters

Optimizing cutting parameters is essential for successful machining of stainless steel 316. Consider the following guidelines:

Cutting speed:Use lower cutting speeds to minimize heat generation and avoid work hardening. However, cutting speeds that are too low can also cause excessive heat buildup. Experiment with different speeds to find the optimal balance.

Feed rate:Use moderate to high feed rates to prevent work hardening and maintain consistent chip formation. However, avoid excessive feed rates that can cause tool deflection and poor surface finish.

Depth of cut:Use shallow depths of cut to minimize cutting forces and reduce the risk of work hardening.

Cooling and Lubrication

Proper cooling and lubrication are crucial for machining stainless steel 316. They help dissipate heat, reduce friction, and prevent work hardening. Use a high-quality coolant or cutting fluid, and ensure that it is applied directly to the cutting zone.

There are several types of coolants and cutting fluids available, including:

Water-soluble oils:These provide excellent cooling and lubrication properties and are suitable for most machining operations.

Straight oils:These offer superior lubrication but may not provide adequate cooling for high-speed operations.

Semi-synthetic and synthetic fluids:These provide a balance between cooling and lubrication and are often recommended for machining stainless steel.

Workpiece Preparation

Proper workpiece preparation is essential for successful machining of stainless steel 316. Ensure that the workpiece is clean and free of any contaminants, such as oil or grease, that can cause tool wear or poor surface finish. Additionally, make sure the workpiece is securely clamped to prevent movement during machining.

Machining Techniques

There are several machining techniques that can be used to machine stainless steel 316, including:

Turning:Use sharp tools with positive rake angles and large relief angles to minimize cutting forces and reduce work hardening. Apply coolant or cutting fluid directly to the cutting zone to dissipate heat and prevent work hardening.

Milling:Use carbide end mills with positive rake angles and large relief angles for optimal performance. Apply coolant or cutting fluid to the cutting zone, and use climb milling whenever possible to reduce cutting forces and improve surface finish.

Drilling:Use carbide drills with a 135-degree point angle and a split point to reduce cutting forces and prevent work hardening. Apply coolant or cutting fluid directly to the cutting zone, and use a peck drilling technique to break chips and prevent chip packing.

By following these tips, techniques, and best practices, you can successfully machine stainless steel 316 and achieve excellent results. Remember that each machining operation is unique, and it's essential to experiment with different tooling, cutting parameters, and techniques to find the optimal solution for your specific application.

machining stainless steel 316

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.


CNC Turning Service

CNC Turning Service

Our CNC Turning Service provides different sizes of roll shape work-pieces, the diameter range is from 0.5mm to 480mm, reaching tolerance +/-0.003mm.

CNC Milling Service

CNC Milling Service

Our milling machines and CNC centers are able to produce complicated structure part, five-axis devices produce multi-sides at one-time jag which bring high precision result

Sheet Metal Fabrication

Sheet Metal Fabrication

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Aluminum Extrusion

Aluminum Extrusion

Our Aluminum Extrusion brings clients various shapes of aluminum parts, high efficiency for mass quantity, our precision extrusion mold control tolerance within 0.01mm

Forging Service

Forging Service

For some steel serious products, we apply Forging Service to make out their outer shape and them use CNC devices to start drilling, forming, rolling, cutting, etc.

Finishing Service

Finishing Service

Our Surface Finishing Service uses chemical or electro post-treatments after machining tasks are finished, normally includes Oxide, Anodizing, Passivation, E-Plating, Painting,etc.


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

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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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Asianstar have long term experience in CNC machining service and built up skillful team servicing clients from designing to product

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Asianstar QC system controls the production following internal quality protocol, which make sure every procedure are working under quality demands

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Asianstar abundant facilities allows multiple machining process, we can support clients in rapid sampling/prototyping and quick order lead-time

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Asianstar has enough in-house facilities for all machining processes, so we can choose the best machining solutions to make the production cost lowest


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