The Difference Between Hard Metal and Soft Metal in CNC Machinin

Jul 27 , 2021 | Blog

We know that the preferred process for metal materials processing is CNC machining, because metal materials have a certain degree of hardness and toughness, which requires a very large impact force to form the metal sheet into the product shape we need. So, you should consider before settling between a hard or soft metal for CNC machining. Therefore, how to distinguish between hard and soft metal materials?


Hardness is a mechanical index to measure the hardness and softness of a metal material. It indicates the ability of the local volume on the metal surface to resist deformation. And hard metal has some features, like good strenght, elasticity(hard metal tend to be more elastic than soft metals), hardness, damping(hard metals tend to have small damping capacities). Also, all metals have the highest range of fracture toughness, but it ranges from soft to hard being the toughest. As for soft metals, ductility, density and magnetic are the main features. 


How to choose the right metal for your prototypes?

Metals are mainly used in applications requiring high strength, hardness and heat resistance. As a result, the wear and fatigue properties of metals will be more prominent. In general, if we process a prototype part to test function, we don't need to worry about material wear. If you need to ensure that the strength or impact resistance of the part is good, the choice of material is very important, so be sure to choose hard metal materials, such as 45# steel, stainless steel, etc. 


In most cases, if the product itself requires high performance, requires the material to be able to achieve the function of the product, then the material needs to be placed in a controlled environment, and the use of high and low temperature, high and low humidity, thermal cycling and thermal shock test materials. For example, there are high-temperature resistant metals such as titanium and stainless steel, metals that can withstand extreme cold and remain malleable at low temperatures such as copper and aluminum.


Another very important property to consider is the corrosiveness of metals. Metal corrosion is the result of a chemical reaction between a metal and its surroundings. Pure iron usually corrodes very quickly, but stainless steel combined with iron and other alloys corrodes very slowly. Therefore, stainless steel is a good corrosion resistant metal. Of course, anodizing aluminum also helps reduce corrosion. After oxidation of the parts, its surface will form a protective film, insulated from air and water, prevent corrosion.



The biggest difference between hard metal and soft metal lies in the hardness of the metal. The high hardness metal has better impact resistance and wear resistance than soft metal, and is suitable for some parts that are often worn. 

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