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Machining Nickel Alloys

Nickel base corrosion and temperature resistant alloys are classified as moderate to difficult when machining, however these alloys can be machined using conventional production methods at satisfactory rates. During the machining processes these alloys work harden rapidly, generate high heat during cutting, weld to the cutting tool surface and offer high resistance to metal removal because of their high shear strengths. Following are key points that should be considered during machining operations. The actual operating parameters are to serve only as a guide and are not to be taken as absolute values.

Capacity – All nickel alloys can be face-turned and bored on practically any machine. Factors such as speed, feed, depth-of-cut and tooling will be the determining factors that allow you to utilize machinery available for the job. Drilling large holes and tapping require sturdy machinery with plenty of power.

Tooling – Due to the nature of the alloys being worked, tools will tend to dull fairly quick and the need to change tooling or re-sharpen tools will be frequent. Although expensive, C grade inserts should be used whenever possible.

Lubrication/Coolants – Lubricants/coolants are desirable. Good results can be obtained using water-miscible vegetable oil based fluids in CNC equipment and engine lathes. However, tapping and heavy drilling (large diameter or deep-hole drilling) requires a heavy duty, light viscosity petroleum cutting oil. Other facilities may use different lubricants based on trial and error. What works for one shop may not work for another.

Drilling – When using insert drills in CNC machines use the same speeds (SFM) for facing, turning and boring for the specific alloy. Feed rates should be .002” per revolution. When twist drill bits are used, cobalt drills are preferred but high speed steel (HSS) drills will also work as long as you keep the speed slow and steady. Solid carbide drills work well in some applications.

Machining Data
Nickel 200/201, Alloy 400, Alloy 600, Alloy 800H/HT
Suggested starting rates:

Facing, Turning & Boring
Speed 50-1050 SFM
Depth-of-cut 0.12”
Feed for Roughing 0.012” - 0.016”
Feed for Finishing 0.010” - 0.012”
Drilling
Speed 20-35 SFM per drill diameter
1/16” Dia. of hole 1200-2000 RPM
1/8” Dia. of hole 611-1069 RPM
3/16” Dia. of hole 408-715 RPM
1/4” Dia. of hole 305-535 RPM
7/16” Dia. of hole 173-303 RPM
1/2” Dia. of hole 152-267 RPM
9/16” Dia. of hole 136-238 RPM
Feed: 0.006” – 0.010” per revolution

Machining Data
Alloy B2 & B3
Suggested starting rates:

Facing, Turning & Boring
Speed 80-150 SFM
Depth-of-cut 0.25”
Feed for Roughing 0.006” - 0.008”
Feed for Finishing 0.010” - 0.012”
Drilling
Speed 8-14 SFM per drill diameter
1/16” Dia. of hole 490-800 RPM
1/8” Dia. of hole 240-420 RPM
3/16” Dia. of hole 160-285 RPM
1/4” Dia. of hole 120-213 RPM
7/16” Dia. of hole 69-120 RPM
1/2” Dia. of hole 61-106 RPM
9/16” Dia. of hole 54-95 RPM
Feed: 0.004” – 0.010” per revolution

Machining Data
Alloy C-276, Alloy C-22, Alloy K-500
Suggested starting rates:

Facing, Turning & Boring
Speed 140-200 SFM
Depth-of-cut 0.25”
Feed for Roughing 0.006” - 0.008”
Feed for Finishing 0.010” - 0.012”
Drilling
Speed 8-14 SFM per drill diameter
1/16” Dia. of hole 730-1200 RPM
1/8” Dia. of hole 365-611 RPM
3/16” Dia. of hole 245-408 RPM
1/4” Dia. of hole 183-305 RPM
7/16” Dia. of hole 104-173 RPM
1/2” Dia. of hole 91-152 RPM
9/16” Dia. of hole 81-136 RPM
Feed: 0.004” – 0.010” per revolution

*The data and information contained in this website has been taken from open literature and is believed to be reliable. The information contained is intended to be used as a guide. Mega Mex does not make any warranty or assume any legal liability for its accuracy, completeness or usefulness.