A full service manufacturing company based in Connecticut

Machining Metals – Choosing the Best Metal for Your Project

Manufacturers use machining to create a wide variety of parts and products from metal alloys. Some of the most common metals used for machining include:

  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Brass
  • Stainless steel

Each of these metals brings specific advantages to the machining process. In this post, we explore a few of their uses and advantages.


custom multi spindle machine parts

custom metal parts

Understanding the Machinability of Materials

Machinability is the ease with which a metal can be machined (cut) to remove material and shape it into the desired end product. Choosing materials with the best machinability for a given application requires careful evaluation of a material’s ability to be cut, carved, formed, and finished in the necessary ways.

Factors such as durability, thermal and electrical conductivity, and malleability must also be considered when appraising a metal’s machinability. Although many types of metal are compatible with machining operations, each brings specific benefits to the products that it forms.


The Most Common Machining Materials

Manufacturers can choose from a variety of metals when determining the best strategy for their next project:


Aluminum performs very well under cutting, drilling, punching, and milling operations. Aluminum is also very durable and aesthetically pleasing, and free machining of this metal entails less effort than that required by other metals.

However, aluminum machining requires special tools that differ from those used when machining other metals. Manufacturers working with aluminum must also be on the lookout for rough thread finishes, stringy chips, and chip wrapping issues.

Because of its high level of machinability, aluminum is used in applications such as

  • Pipe stems
  • Machine parts
  • Mobile phones
  • Filters


Brass is made from zinc and copper, and it’s known for its gold appearance and effectiveness during machinability. Brass is used to make products such as:

  • Bushings
  • Handles
  • Lamp parts
  • Marine parts
  • Electrical devices
  • Valves
  • Bearings

Some of the properties that make brass an excellent material for use in machining include:

  • Low melting point
  • Easy casting abilities
  • Nonmagnetic properties
  • Corrosion and tarnish resistance
  • Excellent malleability
  • No need for surface finishing
  • Low friction


Copper is a natural metal characterized by its excellent conductive properties. Copper is used to build products such as:

  • Hand tools
  • Radiators
  • Generators
  • Connectors
  • Cookware
  • Heat exchangers
  • Motors

Copper is a low-cost material that offers some of the best electrical conductivity of all machinable metals. Copper can also conduct heat and resist rust, and it’s easy to shape in a variety of ways.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is ideal for many applications because it has much greater resistance to rust and corrosion than other varieties of steel. Stainless steel consists of an alloy comprising primarily iron and chromium; chromium present in stainless steel can bond with floating oxygen particles, forming solid chromium oxide on the steel’s surface. This means that stainless steel has a limited ability to “heal” itself from scratches and abrasions.

Stainless steel is used to build a wide variety of objects, including:

  • Industrial equipment
  • Medical devices
  • Aerospace and automotive components
  • Military hardware

Stainless steel owes a lot of its valuable traits to passivation, a chemical process during which acids remove excess iron from the material’s surface, resulting in an inert oxide layer that protects the steel from rusting.


multi spindle screw machine parts

Custom Machined Parts from Durco Manufacturing

Durco Manufacturing designs and manufactures a wide range of metal products using state-of-the-art machining equipment. Our engineers bring decades of experience using Davenport screw machines. With multi-spindle screw machining, we support the high-volume production of complex designs for clients in many industries.

If you would like to learn more about our products and services, contact us or request a quote today.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *