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In manufacturing, machinability is an important factor to consider when selecting materials for a particular project. As a steel supplier, everyday we see the difference the quality of steel can make in machinability, and ultimately, our clients’ success. These are the factors we consider when deciding what steel to carry and recommend based on the needs of our clients — factors you should also be aware of and take into consideration when sourcing steel.

Steel Composition

As you likely know, steel is an alloy made primarily of iron and carbon, with other elements such as manganese, nickel, and chromium added to enhance its properties. The composition of the steel can greatly impact its machinability. For example, high-carbon steels are typically harder and more brittle, making them more difficult to machine than low-carbon steels. Additionally, the addition of elements such as sulfur and phosphorus can make steel more brittle and prone to cracking during machining.

Steel Hardness

Steel hardness is another important factor that impacts its machinability. Harder steels can be more difficult to machine because they are more resistant to cutting and can cause tool wear or breakage. On the other hand, softer steels can be more easily machined but may not offer the same level of durability or strength.

Steel Grain Structure

The grain structure of the steel can also impact its machinability. The size and orientation of the grains can affect how easily the steel can be cut and how well it holds its shape during machining. For example, a fine-grained steel may be more easily machined than a coarser-grained steel.

Steel Surface Finish

The surface finish of the steel can also impact its machinability. Steel that is rough or has burrs or other imperfections can make it more difficult to achieve a smooth and accurate cut. Additionally, the presence of surface contaminants such as oil or rust can negatively impact the machinability of the steel.

By considering these factors when selecting steel, we ensure you are using the most appropriate material for your needs and can achieve the best possible results during machining. If you’re not confident in the quality of steel you’re getting from your current supplier or they don’t have the solutions you need, we can help! Request a quote from us to see the difference quality can make in your steel machining operations.