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Compare the advantages and disadvantages of plastics and metals in CNC

by: Jun 07,2024 932 Views 1 Comments Posted in CNC Machining

cnc maching advantages disadvantages

Summary:       In the CNC machining, the choice between metal and plastic depends on factors such as the intended use of the end product, production costs, durability needs, and weight limitations. This article provides an in-depth analysis of metal CNC machining versus plastic CNC machining, highlighting the differences, advantages, disadvantages.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Plastics in CNC Machining


  • Faster machining speeds: Plastics are faster to machine because of their lower hardness, which makes them easier to cut and machine compared to metal materials.
  • Less tool wear: Since plastic materials are less hard than metals, there is less wear and tear on the tool during machining, which prolongs tool life.
  • Light weight: Plastics are generally less dense than metals, which makes plastic parts lighter for applications where weight is critical.
  • Good corrosion resistance: Most plastic materials have good chemical resistance, making them suitable for applications in certain specialized environments.
  • Good insulating properties: Plastics usually have excellent electrical insulation properties, making them suitable for the manufacture of electronic and electrical components.


  • Low strength and hardness: Plastics have lower strength and hardness than metals and are not suitable for applications subject to high loads and stresses.
  • High thermal expansion: Plastics have a high coefficient of thermal expansion, and temperature changes can lead to dimensional changes and deformation.
  • Surface Quality: Plastic materials are susceptible to surface scratches and burrs during processing and may require additional post-treatment processes.
  • Poor temperature resistance: Plastics are not as resistant to high temperatures as metals and are prone to deformation or degradation in high temperature environments.

Advantages and disadvantages of metals in CNC machining


  • High strength and hardness: The high strength and hardness of the metal material makes it suitable for the manufacture of components subjected to high loads and stresses.
  • Good dimensional stability: Metals have a low coefficient of thermal expansion and good dimensional stability, making them suitable for high-precision machining.
  • Excellent surface quality: The metal can be processed to obtain a good surface finish and detail accuracy, reducing the post-treatment process.
  • Good high temperature resistance: The metal has good high temperature resistance, suitable for applications in high temperature environments.
  • Diverse mechanical properties: Metal materials have diverse mechanical properties, which can be adjusted through alloying, heat treatment and other methods to meet the needs of different applications.


  • Difficult to machine: The high hardness of metal materials makes cutting and machining more difficult, requiring higher machining power and harder tools.
  • Fast tool wear: The high hardness of the metal causes greater wear on the tool, increasing the frequency of tool replacement and maintenance.
  • High material costs: Metals generally cost more than plastics, especially certain high-performance alloys.
  • High weight: The higher density of metals results in heavier parts, which is not suitable for applications that require a light weight.
  • Poor corrosion resistance: Many metal materials are susceptible to corrosion, often requiring surface treatments or the use of corrosion-resistant alloys.

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