Brass Machining Guide: Uses, Machinability, Surface Finishing and Machining Tips | CNCLATHING

2021.3.19

When considering the best materials for your products, the metal with properties suited for the usage is a good option. Brass is not only very common in daily uses, but also popular in other specific industries. CNC machining services can deliver precision brass components for you. Here we are going to talk about brass applications, machinability, surface finishes, and tips for brass machining.

Brass Uses and Applications

Brass is not only ideal for daily usages and jewelry usages, but also is widely used in lots of sectors in the manufacturing industry due to its good mechanical properties such as the low friction point, so one of the most common applications of brass is the chemical application where requires low friction and good corrosion resistance, like valves and hoses. Benefit from good malleability and acoustic characteristics, brass is also a popular material to make musical instruments. Brass electrical equipment can be found as the metal has high conductivity and corrosion resistance. 

Brass Machinability - Is Brass Easy to Machine

What is machineability exactly? Machinability is a complex subject that cannot be unambiguously defined. Depending on the application, machinability may be seen in terms of tool wear rate, total power consumption, attainable surface finish, or other benchmarks. Machineability can be explained simply as the prevention of a material to be machined easily with low power. Machinability is a consideration in the materials selection process. The ease with which a metal can be machined is one of the principal factors affecting a product’s utility, quality, and cost. Brass, a type of alloy made of copper and zinc, is one of the easiest materials to machine, especially compared to aluminum. Alloy 360 is the most machinable brass, which is called free-cutting brass. 

 

If you were to do a brass CNC part in 200,000 units or something as low as 500 units, the fact of being able to cut this material at a lower power meaning being able to machine it slightly faster. That is exactly why certain people in the mass production industry do use brass for certain specific applications where it will perform much better and at a lower cost compared to steel.

Brass Surface Finishing Selection

Another thing about machined brass is that it is easy to finish brass. What type of surface finishes can be applied to brass parts? 

 

Can brass be powder coated? Powder coating is the process of applying a dry coating to the metal surface, the powder usually consists of several components that mixed together and granulated into fine grains. Brass can be powder coated. 

 

Grinding or abrasive machining is the process of removing irregularities on the surface of the metal using a grinding wheel. Common metals to go through the grinding process including brass, aluminum, steel and more. 

 

Can brass be anodized? Anodizing is the process of forming an oxide layer on the substrate using chemicals and electricity. Aluminum is the most common material used in anodizing, magnesium, niobium, titanium, zinc and tantalum can also be anodized, but copper and brass cannot be usefully anodized. Aluminum copper alloys are the only kind of copper that can be anodized.

 

Can brass be plated? Yes, you can apply chrome plating and nickel plating on brass machined components to gain decorative finish, improved durability and higher impact & corrosion resistance. 

Brass Machining Tips

Work with the right tools, equipment, parameters, and conditions can improve the efficiency of high-speed brass cutting. 

– Use carbide cutting tools or cutters with carbide inserts will improve the material removal rate and extend the tool life, also allow mills to run a higher speed.

– Spindle liners can be applied in your machine shop to protect the equipment, workpiece and operators, also reduce the clearance to damp vibration and eliminate the bar whip, to assist faster machining speeds and ensure the quality of brass turning or milling parts. 

– Programming is another important aspect of brass cutting. Use the right G-code to set spindle speed and operations based on your needs.