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316 Stainless Steel Cutting Process & Machinability


Many people will give priority to 316 stainless steel when choosing machining materials because it has excellent corrosion resistance and strength, but because of its complex composition, the cutting is relatively difficult.

In this article, we will focus on the characteristics of 316 stainless steel, cutting technology and machinability and other aspects of the content to help you better understand and master this metal material.

316 stainless steel: Overview

316 stainless steel is a high-grade alloy steel, which contains more than 17% chromium, more than 11% nickel and 2% to 3% molybdenum. The biggest difference between it and other stainless steel is its good high temperature characteristics, which can be used continuously at 500 ° C. It has the best corrosion resistance in all stainless steels with oxidation resistance, and can resist chloride ion corrosion, and its ability is far better than ordinary stainless steel.

316 Stainless Steel Cutting Process & Machinability
The 5-axis CNC milling machine cutting the sample of aluminium parts by solid ball endmill tools. The automotive parts manufacturing process by 5-axis machining center.

Physical properties of 316 stainless steel

The physical properties of 316 stainless steel include tensile strength, yield strength, fracture toughness and hardness, etc. The following list records the specific values:

Physical PropertiesValue Range
Density8.0 g/cm³
Melting Point1370-1400°C
Thermal Conductivity16.2 W/(m·K)
Linear Expansion Coefficient16.5 μm/m°C
Young’s Modulus193 GPa
Tensile Strength515-690 MPa
Yield Strength205-345 MPa
Hardness (Brinell)85-95 HB
Electrical Conductivity1.25×10^6 S/m
Thermal Expansion Coefficient16.5 μm/m°C
Specific Heat Capacity500 J/(kg·K)
Permeability1.008 μH/m
Saturation Magnetization1.02 T

Chemical composition of 316 stainless steel

316 stainless steel contains a lot of chromium and nickel elements, which is the main reason for its excellent corrosion resistance. 316 stainless steel is mainly composed of the following elements:

ElementValue Range
Chromium (Cr)16-18%
Nickel (Ni)10-14%
Molybdenum (Mo)2-3%
Iron (Fe)Remaining
Manganese (Mn)≤2.0%
Silicon (Si)≤1.0%
Carbon (C)≤0.08%
Phosphorus (P)≤0.045%
Sulfur (S)≤0.03%
Nitrogen (N)≤0.1%

Mechanical properties of 316 stainless steel

316 stainless steel has excellent mechanical properties, mainly in the following aspects:

Mechanical PropertiesValue Range
Yield Strength205-345 MPa
Tensile Strength515-690 MPa
Hardness (Brinell)85-95 HB
Impact Toughness>50 J
Bending Strength>580 MPa
Shear Strength205-345 MPa
Compressive Strength>620 MPa
Fracture Elongation>50%
Fatigue Strength (Cyclic)>130 MPa

Corrosion resistance of 316 stainless steel

316 stainless steel has good corrosion resistance. The following is the corrosion resistance value of 316 stainless steel in common corrosive media:

Corrosive MediaCorrosion Rate (mm/year)
Natural Water (Veld)<0.1
20% Nitric Acid<0.1
10% Sulfuric Acid<0.1
50% Sulfuric Acid<0.1
10% Hydrofluoric Acid0.1-0.5
10% Hydrochloric Acid0.1-0.5
10% Sodium Hydroxide<0.1
Acetic Acid<0.1
5% Salt Solution<0.1
High Temperature (600°C) Air<0.1
Nitric and Sulfuric Acid Mixture0.1-1.0
Sulfuric Acid and Iron Chloride Mixture1.0-5.0
Concentrated Hydrochloric Acid and Nitric Acid Mixture>5.0

316 stainless steel cutting process

Cutting process refers to the specific cutting method used when the 316 stainless steel material is processed, which will directly affect the cutting efficiency of the material, processing time and the quality of the cutting surface. Common 316 stainless steel cutting processes are as follows:

316 stainless steel Turning process
Milling metalworking process. Industrial CNC machining of metal detail by cutting end-tooth vertical mill at factory. Coolant

1.Turning process

Turning machining refers to the rotary cutting of 316 stainless steel material through the lathe, which can achieve efficient and smooth processing results. Suitable for processing 316 stainless steel inner circle and outer circle surface and other shapes.

2.Drilling process

Drilling process refers to the drilling of 316 stainless steel material through the drill, which can achieve fast and accurate processing effect.

3.Milling process

The milling machining refers to the cutting method similar to the lathe, but the difference is that the milling process can be processed with complex shapes, which is suitable for processing various shapes such as the plane and surface of 316 stainless steel.

4.Welding process

Welding is the process of fusing two or more workpieces together through a molten pool. 316 stainless steel can be used in various welding methods, such as TIG welding, MIG/MAG welding, arc welding, laser welding, etc.

Key factors in the cutting process

In order to improve the cutting efficiency and quality of 316 stainless steel, the following measures need to be taken:

1.Ensure rational tool design: select the right tool material, shape and size to reduce cutting forces and surface roughness.

2.Control cutting parameters: including cutting speed, feed speed, cutting depth and coolant type and water added.

3.Improve the accuracy and rigidity of the machine tool: this will help reduce mechanical vibration and errors, improve machining accuracy and surface quality.

4.Regular inspection and maintenance of machine tools and cutting tools: including cleaning, lubrication and replacement of damaged parts, etc., to extend the service life of machine tools and tools.

5.Improve operating skills: strengthen the training and skills of operators, understand the characteristics of 316 stainless steel, and master the cutting process and operating procedures.

316 stainless steel finish and post-treatment

Surface Treatment OptionDescriptionTextureColor
Mirror PolishedAchieves a highly polished surface through mechanical polishing and chemical treatment.Smooth, highly reflectiveSilver
BrushedForms a uniform scratch pattern on the surface using a grinding wheel or sanding belt.Even linear textureSatin or semi-gloss
ElectroplatingDeposits a layer of metal on the surface of 316 stainless steel, enhancing decoration and corrosion resistance.Smooth, metallic textureDepends on the plated metal
SandblastingUses high-pressure sand particles to create a uniform matte effect on the surface.Rough, uniform sandblasted textureSatin or semi-gloss
Chemical ColoringForms an oxide layer on the surface of 316 stainless steel through chemical reactions, resulting in color variation.Smooth, organic color changeMultiple colors available
Powder CoatingCoats the surface of 316 stainless steel with a layer of powder coating, which is cured through baking to form a durable surface layer.Smooth, durableMultiple colors available

When selecting 316 stainless steel parts surface finishing options, you can contact Longsheng Technology, we will provide accurate information according to the relevant product specifications.

See this article 【Stainless Steel Surface Finishing Options】 for more information on stainless steel surface options

316 stainless steel cutting tool options

The correct tool material is crucial for successfully machining stainless steel 316. The following are some common tool materials:

1.Hard alloy tungsten steel

Tungsten carbide steel is one of the most commonly used tool materials for machining stainless steel. It is composed of elements such as tungsten, cobalt, and carbon, and has good wear resistance and toughness.

2.PCD drill bit

Polycrystalline cubic Boron nitride (PCD) bit is a kind of high performance tool material, which is commonly used to process stainless steel. It has excellent hardness and wear resistance, and can better cope with the heat and metal debris generated by 316 stainless steel.

3.Superhard alloy

Superhard alloy is a tool material composed of tungsten carbide, cobalt, and other metals, with extremely high hardness and cutting ability. It performs well when processing 316 stainless steel parts.

stainless steel cnc machining services

Select the correct blade geometry

Blade geometry also plays a crucial role in the success of machining 316 stainless steel parts. Here are some common blade geometers:

1.Fillet blade

A rounded blade is a blade geometry with a rounded tip, often used for machining stainless steel 316. It has a good effect on reducing the heat and metal debris on the workpiece.

2.Chip discharge slot blade

A chip groove blade is a blade geometry with a chip groove to remove metal debris. It can better eliminate the heat generated by 316 stainless steel.

3.Gradient blade

The gradient blade has at least two different cutting angles, allowing the cutting process to be more targeted. This blade geometry can effectively cope with 316 stainless steel processing.

316 stainless steel workability evaluation

The workability evaluation of 316 stainless steel is generally considered from several aspects such as material structure, physical properties, and chemical properties. Here is a simple reference table:

Material structurePhysical PropertyChemical Characteristic
solidDensity 7.98g/cm ³Nickel content (10-14%)
Face centered cubic crystal formMelting point 1400-1450 ℃Molybdenum content (2-3%)
non magneticThermal expansion coefficient 16.2 * 10 ^ -6K ^ -1Chromium content (16-18%)
High tensile strength and toughnessThermal conductivity 16.2W/m * KContaining titanium (2-3%)
Strong corrosion resistanceTensile strength 540MPaCopper content (0-0.75%)
Easy to process and formElastic modulus 193GPaNitrogen content (<0.1%)
By evaluating material properties, it is possible to better select processing methods, improve processing efficiency and quality


316 stainless steel is a high-strength, corrosion-resistant stainless steel widely used in the Marine, chemical and petroleum industries, as well as in industries such as jewelry and watches. The cutting process includes turning, milling, drilling and welding, and it is necessary to pay attention to the selection of cutting tools, the setting of cutting parameters and the inspection of the material surface when processing 316 stainless steel. By adopting some techniques, the cutting efficiency can be improved.

If you need help machining any type of stainless steel, please contact us at +86 185 6675 9667. We process all types of materials

Your stainless steel CNC machining manufacturer

Are you looking for a quality service provider that can cnc machining your 316 stainless steel products? Longsheng is the company you need! We have our own plants and equipment to provide you with high quality custom stainless steel machining services.

At Longsheng Technology, we provide a variety of different specifications, sizes and shapes of online cnc machining services, can provide you with customized services, and meet your different needs of a variety of cnc machining parts

Please upload your design file. We will provide you with the best solution and ensure that your needs are met. Longsheng Technology, your reliable partner!


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