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6061 Best Practices For CNC Machining Of Aluminum

If you are considering using CNC machining to produce the next project and choose 6061 aluminum as the material, please carefully read the following suggestions before starting production. 6061 aluminum has high strength, good processability, and corrosion resistance, making it very suitable for the needs of many projects.

The following content will provide a detailed introduction on how to achieve the best online CNC machining effect on 6061 aluminum material. We will explore the characteristics of aluminum materials and the importance of using cutting tools correctly.

What is 6061 aluminum?

6061 aluminum alloy is an alloy obtained by extrusion and heating under high temperature conditions, containing magnesium, silicon, copper and zinc and other elements. It is an aluminum alloy with high strength and strong corrosion resistance.

6061 aluminum cnc parts
Turbocharger on metallic background. Car turbine – part of engine. Blue toned

6061 aluminum cNC machining before preparation

Before starting cnc machining of 6061 aluminum, the following preparations are required to ensure that the production process meets the actual needs of customers and meets special quality requirements.

Customer needs and requirements

After accepting customer requirements, it is necessary to understand the specific requirements put forward by customers, and establish corresponding processing schemes, nodes and other processes to meet customer requirements.

Design and model making

Before the implementation of the production task, it is necessary to complete the design of the entire component structure, including the drawing of the design and the production of 3D models, to ensure that the design and manufacturing of the parts meet the relevant standards.

Understand material properties

Understand the characteristics of 6061 aluminum alloy, including density, hardness, melting point, elongation, etc., in order to better control the speed and depth of tool cutting during machining.

Physical PropertyValue
Density2.70 g/cm³
Elastic Modulus68.9 GPa
Melting Point582-652 °C
Thermal Conductivity167 W/(m·K)
Coefficient of Linear Expansion23.2 μm/m·K
Electrical Conductivity43.8-47.5 MS/m
Tensile Strength276 MPa
Yield Strength240 MPa
Hardness (Brinell)95 HB
6061 Physical properties of aluminum materials
Chemical CharacteristicValue
Main ComponentsAluminum (Al), Iron (Fe), Silicon (Si), Copper (Cu), Manganese (Mn), Magnesium (Mg), Chromium (Cr), Zinc (Zn), Titanium (Ti), Others
Chemical SymbolsAl, Fe, Si, Cu, Mn, Mg, Cr, Zn, Ti, Others
Atomic Numbers13, 26, 14, 29, 25, 12, 24, 30, 22, Others
Atomic Weights26.98 g/mol, 55.85 g/mol, 28.09 g/mol, 63.55 g/mol, 54.94 g/mol, 24.31 g/mol, 52.00 g/mol, 65.38 g/mol, 47.87 g/mol, Others
Oxide Chemical FormulaAl2O3, Fe2O3, SiO2, Cu2O, MnO, MgO, Cr2O3, ZnO, TiO2, Others
Electronegativity1.61 (Pauling scale)
Oxidation States+3
ReactivityForms aluminum oxide (Al2O3) with oxygen in air, reacts with acids and bases
Chemical properties of 6061 aluminum alloy
ElementPercentage (by weight)
Aluminum97.9% – 98.9%
Iron0.70% – 1.2%
Silicon0.40% – 0.8%
Copper0.15% – 0.40%
Manganese0.15% – 0.80%
Magnesium0.80% – 1.2%
Chromium0.04% – 0.35%
Zinc0.25% – 0.45%
Titanium0.15% – 0.25%
OthersUp to 0.15%
6061 aluminum alloy composition

Inspection equipment

Before machining, it is necessary to check whether the equipment is running normally and whether the accuracy of the machine tool meets the machining requirements.

Preparing tool

Choosing the right tool is crucial to ensure machining quality and reduce errors. Different machining processes require different tools, such as high-speed cutting and high-pressure cooling.

Machining ProcessSuitable Tool Types
Milling (Face)Solid end mills, milling inserts, face mills
Milling (Slotting)Solid end mills, slotting cutters, side mills
Milling (Hole)Milling inserts, hole milling cutters, milling tools
DrillingDrills, twist drills, center drills
BoringBoring bars, precision drill bits
TurningSolid turning tools, turning inserts, internal/external turning tools
TappingTaps, tapping drills
CuttingSaw blades, cutting tools
Heat TreatmentHeat treatment tools, cutting fluids
GrindingGrinding wheels, sanding cloth, sanding belts
Tool types for different machining processes

6061 Aluminum CNC machining Best practices

When CNC machining 6061 aluminum alloy, the following points are key to best practice.

Things you must know before designing

Before designing and manufacturing 6061 aluminum parts, there are several issues that must be understood.

First of all, it is necessary to clarify the accuracy requirements of the parts and material characteristics, and then determine the machining performance of the material.

Secondly, it is necessary to choose the machine tools and tools suitable for the shape and size of the part.

Finally, the tool and tool material suitable for machining requirements need to be selected.

Check CNC machine tools

Before processing 6061 aluminum, it is necessary to check whether each part of the CNC machine tool is working properly and make the necessary adjustments. These mainly include: installation inspection, automatic operation test of machine tools, cooling system and lubrication system inspection.

Tool and tool material selection

When selecting tools and tool materials, it is necessary to take into account the characteristics of 6061 aluminum alloy and the processing requirements of parts. The material of the tool should choose high-speed steel or tungsten carbide tungsten steel, and choose different specifications of the tool according to the hardness and material characteristics of the workpiece.

6061 Aluminum cNC parts
Milling metalworking process. Industrial CNC machining of metal detail by cutting end-tooth vertical mill at factory

Machining parameter

When aluminum CNC machining, the cutting speed and cutting depth of the machine and tools are set depending on the performance and application of the 6061 aluminum material. The following are some of the more common elements when we process aluminum alloy materials into parts:

  • Cutting tool diameter: the finer the better;
  • Rotational speed or speed: low speed;

Cutting depth and feed speed: When the actual depth is too low, the processing speed obtained will be slow; When the actual depth is too high, it is necessary to increase the toughness of the rod and the tool.

Inspection and testing

After CNC machining is completed, the machined parts need to be inspected and tested. It mainly includes: linear error detection, cutting force testing, precision measurement and so on.

CNC processing 6061 aluminum alloy faced with common problems and solutions

· Fly cut. It is necessary to optimize the machining parameters and increase the amount of overcut and the depth of cutting for the workpiece with flying cut.

· Surface roughness. It can be solved by increasing the processing speed and reducing the amount of tool feed.

· Saw stick residue. A choice of friction saw or spray coolant solution.


Advantages and limitations of aluminum CNC machining

Numerical control machining is a precision machining method with many advantages, such as high efficiency, high precision and high quality. However, this process also has its limitations and challenges, such as the need for a large amount of capital investment and highly skilled personnel.

Analysis of processing results

In the processing process, it is crucial to ensure the quality and accuracy of the processing results. For 6061 aluminum materials, it is necessary to carefully control during processing to obtain the ideal result of good final treatment.

Future development trend

With the continuous development of the industrial field and the continuous innovation of technology, the future development direction of CNC machining technology may involve more complex machine tools and more efficient processing technology to meet the requirements of more industries.

6061 Aluminum cNC parts quote online

We provide 6061 aluminum cnc parts machining service. Simply provide the design documents of your required parts and we will provide you with a full quote. We use advanced machines and technologies to ensure high quality and high precision parts. Our experienced team is able to meet production needs of all types and sizes.

Our services are not limited to 6061 aluminum parts production. Our machines can also process a variety of other materials. If you need part manufacturing but aren’t sure what support services or materials come with it, our career advisors will provide you with help and advice to ensure you get the best part for your needs.

Mobile:+86  185 6675 9667(Gloria Wu)

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