Stainless steel machining

    Stainless Steel is a versatile material. It has many different grades and alloys. These can be used for a large number of different applications, ranging from the automotive industry through to the aerospace industry.

    Despite being widely used, stainless steel is often difficult for machining.

    It is crucial to set the right feeds and speeds as well as selecting the correct tool. Otherwise, the stainless steels are sure to destroy your end mill.

    Stainless Steel Properties

    • High-alloy steel
    • Superior corrosion to low-alloy steels and carbon
    • Most grades contain at least 10% chromium

    Types of Stainless Steel

    There are five categories of stainless steel:


    • Non-magnetic
    • High resistance to corrosion and heat resistance
    • Used for gutters, food processing equipment, nuts, bolts
    • Most popular grades are 304 & 316


    • Magnetic
    • Lower heat resistance and corrosion level than Austenitic
    • Used for kitchen appliances and automotive parts
    • Most popular grades are: 430 & 446


    • The mixture of Ferritic and Austenitic
    • Used for pressure vessels, water treatment plants
    • Most popular grades are 2304, 244 & 2507


    • Magnetic
    • Has a moderate level of corrosion resistance
    • Is not suited for severe corrosion
    • Used for firearms, surgical instruments, knives, and hand tools
    • Most popular grades are 416, 420 & 440

    Precipitation Hardened (PH)

    • The strongest grade of steel
    • Is heat treatable
    • Has severe corrosion resistance
    • Used for aerospace components
    • Most popular grades are 15-5 PH & 17-4 PH

    Tool Choice

    It is extremely important to select the right tool for stainless steel machining depending on the chosen application. CNC machining allows for high precision stainless steel machining.

    By choosing the right style of mill end, any of the following tool paths can be used: finessing, slotting, roughing, and high-efficiency milling.

    First, you need to identify the right material grade for each stainless steel part. Then select the best cutting tool. Lastly, optimize the running parameters. This will allow for a fine surface finish.

    Attard Engineering has extensive stainless steel machining experience. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.