The Difference Between Steel and Iron in CNC Machining(springs set Maxwell)

  • Time:
  • Click:18
  • source:ESKRIDGE CNC Machining


CNC machining is a revolutionary manufacturing process that utilizes computer numerical control to create precise and complex parts. In this article, we delve into the world of steel and iron as materials commonly used in CNC machining. We will explore their properties, applications, and differences, shedding light on which material may be more suitable for various industrial needs.

1. Introduction to CNC Machining:
CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machining is a modern manufacturing technique where computers and software control machine tools to produce intricately designed parts with excellent accuracy and repeatability. This automation process allows for efficient production, reduced human error, and quicker turnaround times.

2. Understanding Steel:
Steel is an alloy primarily composed of iron and carbon, along with other elements such as manganese, chromium, nickel, and more. It is known for its exceptional strength, durability, and versatility. Due to these attributes, steel is widely used in various industries, including construction, automotive, aerospace, and engineering.

3. Applications of Steel in CNC Machining:
With its inherent strength and hardness, steel is ideal for manufacturing high-quality components through CNC machining processes. From gears and shafts to structural frames and engine parts, steel offers superior mechanical performance and can withstand heavy loads and extreme environments. Additionally, it possesses good machinability, allowing for precise shaping and fine detailing during CNC operations.

4. Exploring Iron's Role in Manufacturing:
Iron is one of the most abundant metals on Earth and forms the foundation of steel alloys. While iron itself has limited practical use due to its brittleness and susceptibility to corrosion, it serves as the backbone for creating various steel grades catering to different industry requirements.

5. Differences in Properties:
The primary distinction between steel and iron lies in their carbon content. Steel typically contains less than 2% carbon, resulting in enhanced mechanical properties like increased tensile strength, hardness, and ductility. On the other hand, iron has a carbon content of around 2-4%, making it less malleable and more prone to rusting.

6. CNC Machining with Steel:
CNC machining utilizing steel as the base material allows for unparalleled precision and reliability in product fabrication. By selecting appropriate steel grades, manufacturers can meet specific application demands – whether it's for producing intricate automotive components or robust industrial equipment. However, due to its hardness, certain steel alloys may require specialized tools and cutting techniques during CNC operations.

7. Rise of Ductile Iron in CNC Machining:
Ductile iron is a type of cast iron that contains small amounts of magnesium, resulting in improved tensile strength and elongation properties compared to traditional gray iron. This variant finds widespread usage in CNC machining processes, often replacing standard steel grades in applications demanding excellent machinability, corrosion resistance, and cost-effectiveness.

8. Choosing the Right Material:
Selecting between steel and iron for CNC machining relies heavily on the intended application, budgetary constraints, environmental factors, and required mechanical properties. While steel offers superior overall performance across various industries, iron-based materials like ductile iron provide viable alternatives where cost efficiency and ease of machining are prioritized.


Understanding the difference between steel and iron is crucial when it comes to CNC machining. Both have their unique characteristics and applications, allowing them to play significant roles in delivering high-quality parts and products. Whether your project requires exceptional strength, corrosion resistance, or cost-effective solutions, consulting with CNC machining experts will ensure optimal material selection and efficient manufacturing processes. CNC Milling CNC Machining