What You Should Know About CNC Copper Machining

CNC copper processing is one of the most accurate metal processing services for manufacturing copper parts in various industries. Copper has ductility, ductility, and is a good conductor of heat and electricity. These characteristics make it the right choice for CNC machining. Copper parts processed by CNC are used in automobile, aerospace, medical and other industries. Copper is one of the most easily processed materials, which allows machinists to make full use of the characteristics of materials.

This article introduces all the information about CNC copper processing, its application and various factors to be considered before processing copper. As long as you understand the characteristics, advantages and disadvantages of each alloy, you can choose the ideal copper alloy according to your design requirements.

Common Copper Brand Number And Copper Alloy For CNC Machining

Some of the most common copper plate numbers used in CNC machining are as follows:

Copper 101:

Copper 101 is the purest copper grade, containing 99.9% copper. It is used as a base for bronze and brass alloys. C10100, also known as oxygen free electron (ofe), is a pure copper with an oxygen content of about 0.0005%. More importantly, it is the most expensive of these copper grades

Copper C110:

Copper C110 is also an electrolytic tough copper, which is easier to process than copper 101. C11000 is the most popular of all electrolytic copper grades. C11000 generally contains less than 50 parts per million of metal impurities, including sulfur. In addition, they have high conductivity, up to 100% IACS (International Annealed Copper Standard).

Electrolytic tough copper comes from cathode copper. Cathode copper refers to copper refined by electrolysis.

Generally, this process involves filling a copper compound into a solution. And then applying sufficient power helps to purify the copper material. Therefore, most electrolytic copper contains less impurities than other copper grades.


It is an alloy of tin, copper and phosphorus, known for its hardness and strength. Bronze is CNC processed to produce bearings and gears.


It is an alloy of zinc and copper, known for its machinability and hardness. Brass is processed into low friction and complex parts, including valves, gears, bearings and locks. Brass parts are also used for outdoor applications, which may be exposed to salt water and other contaminants.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of CNC Copper Parts

copper part

Most CNC copper parts available today have specific advantages and disadvantages.


Generally speaking, most CNC copper parts have good machinability, ductility and impact strength. They also show high thermal and electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance and wear resistance

Another advantage of CNC machining of copper parts is that it has good formability during hot and cold machining. In addition, CNC copper parts are compatible with a variety of cost-effective surface treatments.


Although there are all-round advantages, there are also some disadvantages in using CNC to process copper parts. For example, not all copper materials can be subjected to processes such as spot welding, coating metal arc welding, etc.

In addition, different grades of copper have different corrosion resistance. Therefore, some CNC copper parts are susceptible to corrosion in an atmosphere containing active substances.

Precautions for CNC Machining copper

CNC machining copper is easier than machining aluminum or steel with the same strength. However, in order to achieve the best results, certain things must be kept in mind.

Select The Correct Grade Of Copper:

Although copper has been used successfully for several years, it is one of the most expensive materials. C101 is less processable than C110 and more cost-effective. Therefore, the choice of materials will depend on the characteristics of your application.

Set Feed Rate:

The feed speed is the speed at which the cutting tool engages the workpiece. Therefore, you must set the correct feed speed before processing the copper parts, because it will affect the quality, life and surface finish of the copper parts. In addition, copper conducts heat rapidly. Therefore, high feed rates increase tool wear over time.

Design For Manufacturability

Before processing copper, you must also address design requirements and specifications. This will help you achieve the functionality you need to make copper parts.

In addition, you can participate in some design best practices. They include reducing the number of part settings, dimensional checks, and preventing deep cavities with small radii.

Select Appropriate Tool Materials:

Many bronze plates are easy to process and softer than aluminum and steel of the same strength. This may cause chip formation and tool wear. Therefore, it is important to select the appropriate tool materials. High speed steel is a kind of tool material suitable for CNC machining copper.

Finishes and Post-Processing Options

Generally, copper is used because of its thermal conductivity and conductivity. Therefore, many surface finishes used on other machined metals are not suitable because they hinder these properties. Some surface treatments suitable for copper are listed below.


copper can be electropolished to obtain an extremely smooth and shiny surface. This process removes a tiny layer of material from the surface, typically between 0.0001 inch (0.00254 mm) and 0.0025 inch (0.0635 mm). Electrolytic polishing can further improve the corrosion resistance, but does not affect the conductivity.


metal electroplating of copper is often used to help prevent oxidation of its outer surface while maintaining electrical and thermal conductivity. In particular, noble metal plating (such as silver or gold plating) can provide low contact resistance to maintain excellent electrical conductivity and solderability.


Copper and copper alloys are known for their excellent machinability and beneficial properties. However, the success of your CNC processing copper project will depend on the CNC processing workshop you cooperate with. Sans machining provides precision machining parts for various industries, including electronic industry, mechanical automation industry, industrial design industry, machinery trading company, etc. We help many innovative companies accurately manufacture copper parts while meeting their surface finish, accuracy and tolerance requirements.

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