Everything You Should Know About Machining Stainless Steels

10 October 2022

Metals are used by many industries to create a wide array of parts and products. Some industries use them in creating the internal components of machines, while others use them to produce the structural materials of a building.

One metal in particular that can be useful for many is stainless steel. Generally, stainless steel is an alloy of iron known for its resistance to corrosion and rusting. It is often comprised of at least 11% chromium, which is further mixed with carbon and other metals and nonmetals. And to make stainless steel useful for many industries, manufacturers would often subject this material to machining processes.

There are numerous things, however, that business owners like you should consider when machining stainless steel. Knowing its categories may also help you and others know the best stainless steel type for your intended applications.

Facts about Machining Stainless Steel

When machining stainless steel, you must ensure that the equipment pieces and tools used will remain sturdy and rigid throughout their operations. They must even boast 50% more power than those used in processing other types of metals like mild steel. And to ensure that stainless steel materials can be machined optimally, they must be held firmly to prevent chatter and vibration from ruining their quality as well as damaging the tools and equipment.

As for the cutting tools used in machining stainless steel, they must be kept sharp all the time. Sharpening them regularly is highly recommended instead of just sharpening them once they become blunt or dull. Heavy cuts of stainless steel, alternatively, must be done by tools that have been lubricated with good lubricants. Doing this step ensures that the workpiece and the tools will remain cool throughout the machining process.

No matter what happens, the cutting process should not be interrupted to prevent any inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the output.

Primary Categories of Stainless Steel

Not all stainless steel materials are similar. Some can be easier to machine, while others require strong tools before they can be processed optimally. To know more about the material, here are some of the most common categories of stainless steel.

• Austenitic Stainless Steel: Austenitic stainless steel is known to be the most popular category of stainless steel. This type boasts high corrosion resistance and reputable strength. It also maximises impressive post-machining formability and good weldability, making it useful in producing household and industrial components. This type of stainless steel, however, can be difficult to machine due to its gumminess. Hence, coolants and lubricants must be used when machining the material.

• Ferritic Stainless Steel: Ferritic stainless steel, alternatively, is a magnetic, low-carbon, and high-chromium alloy that boasts a high resistance to stress corrosion cracking. It can likewise withstand oxidation at high temperatures. And unlike the previous type, ferritic stainless steel is easier to machine, making it useful in producing automotive components, kitchenware, petrochemical equipment, boiler heat exchangers, and many more. Ferritic stainless steels, however, can be slightly weaker than austenitic stainless steels.

• Martensitic Stainless Steel: One more category of stainless steel you should know about is martensitic stainless steel. This type of steel is somehow similar to ferritic stainless steel, with the addition of more carbon. The higher carbon content of this material makes it stronger and more wear-resistant than others. These qualities make the material recommended for producing turbine components, mechanical valves, pumps, and cutlery.

To know more about machining stainless steel and our services, you can contact us at Aero Spec Engineering.

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