CNC Machining
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The Complete Guide To CNC Machining Plastic & Metal Parts

What Is CNC Machining?

cnc machined metal part

CNC Machining is a subtractive manufacturing method that uses cutting tools to remove material from a block of raw material or a pre-existing part.

Capacity = Speed

Our capacity allows us to create CNC machined parts with unrivaled speed.

At the same time, our experienced engineers ensure the highest standards with cutting edge software and equipment.

Capacity = Variety

We operate more than 20 state-of-the-art machining centers with a wide variety of CNC equipment such as single axis lathes.

Single axis lathes are ideal for executing round parts such as nozzles, engine components and thread shafts.

Our CNC machining centers also utilize cutting edge 5-axis machines, which substantially reduce turnaround time by eliminating intermediate setups and enabling undercuts and off-axis features.

CNC Machining Is Complementary Technology

We also utilize CNC Machining as a valuable secondary operation for our 3D printed parts that require boring, drilling, face milling or other precision machining for enhancing features.

We are dedicated to providing the fastest CNC machining in the industry, with projects programmed and started the same day as order.

Precise Finishing for CNC Machined Parts

We offer a variety of expertly applied finishing options to improve the mechanical and aesthetic properties of your CNC machine component, including painting, anodizing, EMI and RFI shielding and hand polishing.

CNC Machining Materials

Meet your most demanding and precise applications with CNC materials. We can machine virtually any engineering material, including plastics, metals, alloys, and foam or tooling board.

Plastic Materials for CNC Machining


Description Benefits Applications Properties


Low cost engineering plastic that is easy to machine and fabricate
  • Excellent impact resistance
  • Good machinability
  • Excellent aesthetic qualities
  • Easy to paint and glue
  • Good strength and stiffness
  • Low cost
  • Machined prototypes
  • Structural components
  • Support blocks
  • Housings
  • Covers
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Engineering plastic with excellent dimensional stability and good strength and stiffness over a wide range of service temperatures.
  • Low moisture absorption
  • Good insulating properties
  • Excellent flammability rating
  • Easy to fabricate, paint and glue
  • Structural applications requiring clarity and impact strength including lenses, manifolds, site glasses and machine guards
  • Electrical applications
Contact an Engineer

Polycarbonate 20% GF

20% glass reinforced polycarbonate with higher temperature and tensile properties.
  • Superior impact strength
  • Excellent dimensional stability
  • Outstanding mechanical strength and stiffness
  • Transparency
  • Good electrical properties
  • Good machinability
  • Gears, rollers, internal mechanical parts, connectors and relays
  • Pumps, valves, light bezels and instrument panels
Contact an Engineer

Nylon 6/6

Type 6/6 is a general purpose, standard grade nylon. Extruded in natural and black.
  • Outstanding wear resistance
  • Low frictional properties
  • Very good temperature, chemical and impact properties

Ideal for metal replacement applications such as:

  • Bearings
  • Gears
  • Sheaves
  • Sprockets
Contact an Engineer

30% GF Nylon

30% glass-fiber reinforced nylon 6/6 material with superior abrasion and wear resistance.
  • More than double the strength and stiffness of unreinforced extruded nylons
  • Heat deflection temperature approaches its melting point
- Contact an Engineer


Crystalline plastic that offers an excellent balance of properties that bridge the gap between metals and plastics
  • Good dimensional stability
  • Excellent machinability
  • Superior impact and creep resistance
  • High fatigue endurance
  • High strength and stiffness properties
  • Chemical resistance to fuels and solvents
  • Low moisture absorption
  • Good wear and abrasion properties
  • Ideal for many industrial wear and mechanical applications
  • Parts exposed to a moist or wet environment, such as pump and valve components
  • Gears
  • Bearings
  • Bushings
  • Rollers
  • Fittings
  • Electrical insulator parts
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HDPE is used in a wide variety of applications and industries where excellent impact resistance, high tensile strength, low moisture absorption and chemical and corrosion resistance properties are required.
  • Meets FDA/USDA food handling guidelines (natural color)
  • Chemical- and corrosion-resistant
  • Light-weight
  • No moisture absorption
  • High tensile strength
  • Non-toxic
  • Non-staining
  • Thermoforming performance
  • Light duty chain guides
  • Orthotic and prosthetic devices
  • Secondary containment
  • Tanks
  • Thermoformed material handling devices
  • Water storage
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Crystalline material noted for its high strength-to-weight ratio, excellent chemical resistance and high performance in thermoforming and corrosive environments
  • Appropriate for applications to 180F (82C)
  • Resists most acids, alkalis and solvents
  • Meets FDA 21CFR 177.1520
  • Thermoforming performance
  • Chemical- and corrosion-resistant
  • No moisture absorption
  • Meets USDA guidelines for use in federally inspected meat and poultry packing facilities 
  • Orthotic and prosthetic devices
  • Plenums and manifolds
  • Secondary containment
  • Valve bodies
  • Plating and anodizing process equipment
  • Pump components
  • Storage tanks
Contact an Engineer

Clear Acrylic

Rigid, hard thermoplastic material that is characterized by its color range availability and easy fabrication
  • Excellent UV stability
  • Sign manufacture
  • Point of Sales display units
  • Safety glazing
  • Machine enclosures
  • Model manufacture
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Normal impact, high corrosion resistant polyvinyl chloride
  • High strength-to-weight ratio
  • Cost efficiency
  • Ease of fabrication
  • Economic balance
  • Ideally suited for applications where maximum chemical resistance is necessary
Contact an Engineer

ULTEM™ 1000 Resin

Amorphous thermoplastic polyetherimide (PEI) material that combines exceptional mechanical, thermal and electrical properties; Natural ULTEM™ 1000 Resin (unreinforced) is a translucent amber material
  • Excellent mechanical strength
  • Outstanding heat resistance
  • Exceptional resistance to environmental forces
  • Inherent flame resistance with low smoke evolution
  • Medical
  • Electronic/Electrical
  • Microwave
  • Automotive
  • Aircraft
Contact an Engineer

ULTEM™ 1000 20% GF Resin

Addition of glass fiber reinforcement to the basic ULTEM™ Resin
  • Greater tensile strength and rigidity
  • Improved dimensional stability
  • Medical
  • Electronic/Electrical
  • Microwave
  • Automotive
  • Aircraft
Contact an Engineer

G-10 FR4

Versatile, all-around electrically insulating material
  • Epoxy impregnated laminate which meets UL94-V0 requirements
  • Can be machined or die-cut to meet any custom requirements
- Contact an Engineer

Metal Materials for CNC Machining


Description Benefits Applications Properties

Aluminum 6061 T6

Generally selected where welding or brazing is required or for its high corrosion resistance in all tempers; Machining is more difficult when compared to the other machining alloys
  • Formability is excellent in O temper and good in the T4 temper
  • Corrosion resistance and appearance after anodizing are superior to all other screw machine alloys while strength is the lowest
- Contact an Engineer

Aluminum 7075 T6

Baseline 7XXX alloy with a good balance of properties required for aerospace applications
  • First successful Al-Zn-Mg-Cu high strength alloy using the beneficial effects of the alloying addition of chromium to develop good stress-corrosion cracking resistance in sheet products
  • Aircraft and aerospace structures
  • Alclad skin sheet
  • Structural plate components up to 4 inches in thickness
  • General aluminum aerospace applications
Contact an Engineer

Mic 6

Similar to those in the 7000 series with precise adaptable additions of Zinc, Copper, Magnesium and components of Silicon, Iron and Manganese
  • Light weight
  • Smooth flatness tolerance
  • Good machining qualities
  • Free from tension, contaminants and porosity
  • Machine components
  • Aerospace and automotive components
  • Electronics
  • Laser technology and optical industry
Contact an Engineer

303 Stainless Steel

Austenitic free-machining stainless steel used primarily for parts requiring machining, grinding or polishing
  • Good corrosion resistance in mild environments
  • Good forming properties
  • Aircraft applications
  • Machine parts
  • Pump and valve parts
  • Architectural applications
  • Nuts and bolts
Contact an Engineer

Mild Steel

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Stainless Steel

- - - -

Tool Steel

- - - -

Get a Quote

Ready to make your part with CNC Machining? Upload your CAD file now to select your material and generate an instant quote.

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Get Design Services

Need some assistance with your 3D design? Our design services team offers a suite of solutions, including file creation and file repair.

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Use Material Wizard

Want to compare CNC material properties? Use our material wizard to find out which materials meet your part's requirements.

Use Material Wizard

CNC Machining Applications


Fabricate highly accurate, large production parts with CNC machining.

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Add value to the production floor with highly accurate machined manufacturing aids.

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Utilize CNC machining to create prototypes in your production material for functional testing.

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How Much Does CNC Machining Expertise Matter?

a manufacturing production floor with cnc machinesMaking a quality part takes more than just a machine.

It takes a responsive team behind the technology, running tests and working tirelessly to validate materials and processes.

Decades of CNC Experience in Your Corner

At Stratasys Direct, our services are backed by more than the largest fleet of machines in North America.

We have nearly thirty years in the industry and a team of engineers ready to assist with every step of your project.

Responsive and Fast

Years of experience with CNC Machining has made us one of the most responsive and fastest CNC machine operators in the business.

Whatever your project need, we won’t rest until your requirements are met.

Not sure where to start? Our experts are here to help.

Contact an Engineer

CNC Machining Resources

Lockheed Martin CNC Machines 3D Printed Fuel Tank Model into Spec

Learn how 3D printing and CNC machining worked together for this large fuel tank.

Learn how 3D printing and CNC machining worked together for this large fuel tank.

Read the Case Study

Benefits of CNC Machining FDM Parts

Add dimensional accuracy and cosmetic touches to FDM parts with CNC Machining

Add dimensional accuracy and cosmetic touches to FDM parts with CNC Machining

Read the Article

CNC Machined vs. 3D Printed: Creating the Master Pattern

Discover key considerations for making master patterns for injection molding.

Read the Article

Frequently Asked Questions About CNC Machining

a cnc machine axisHow large a part can your CNC machines accommodate?

We offer cutting edge CNC machining with single cut envelopes up to 84”, 40”, 36”. but that’s not a limit on the size of your project.

One advantage of partnering with Stratasys Direct Manufacturing is that we have expertise in breaking up complex designs into multiple components, which we can later assemble.

What are your standard tolerances for CNC machined parts?

Standard tolerances for CNC machined parts are +/- 0.005” or 0.001”/”, whichever is greater. In some circumstances, tighter tolerances can be achieved depending on part design.

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