How much is involved in machining nickel?

We are a family-owned establishment that works hard to provide excellent metal products to each client. In addition, our team and partners excel in many aspects of processing and fabrication. This includes nickel alloy machining. We can work with clients to provide specialist components to order, so choose us for any project.

There is a lot to talk about when it comes to working with nickel alloys. These metals tend to work harden quickly. The high pressures during machining can cause this. As a result, it slows additional machining and could cause warping in compact parts. For better results, you should use cold-drawn stress-relieved materials. Hot-rolled nickel isn’t as desirable and annealed is the least favoured for the majority of projects.

Take care with machining

Careful machining practices here are a must. Utilise sharp tools that have positive rake angles. Sufficient depth of cut and feed rate are also mandatory. Don’t allow your tools to rub the work either. Even with the most ideal of conditions, stresses could be generated, leading to distortion in the work.

For total dimensional stability, you would be better off roughing out your part nearly to size. Then you should stress relieve it and finish it to size. Stress relieving does not have much of an effect on dimensions, but it could influence mechanical properties.

Cutting fluids

Now that we have spoken about some general information about nickel alloy machining, we will talk more about particular areas. Let’s begin with cutting fluids. You can use nearly any fluids here or none at all. Generally it is a case of using the one you prefer.

In several applications, the alloys have a positive response to standard sulphurised mineral oil. Sulphur can help the anti-weld and lubricity properties. If the temperature of your workpieces and the oil becomes high enough though, there can be some brown sulphur staining on your work. You can remove the stain readily via a cleaning solution of the chromic-sulphuric acid or sodium cyanide type. You should do this prior to any thermal treatment, including welding. During extra exposure to extreme temperatures, the staining could produce inter-granular surface attacks.

Varied speed cutting

Water-base fluids are a favourite choice for high-speed grinding, milling, and turning. This is due to their superior cooling effect. There could be chemical solutions or soluble oils.

Apart from grinding, which relies nearly completely on flushing and cooling, a certain level of chemical activity is always desirable. Generally, it is supplied by amines, chlorine, or other chemicals.

For slower jobs, you need extremely rich mixtures of chemical solutions and heavy lubricants. Broaching and drilling are good examples of these jobs. When drilling inconel X-750 and nickel 200, you should use oil.

Planning and shaping

The utensils you use for shaping and planning aren’t unlike lathe tools. With rough planning, the tool’s top rake angle is the most significant. It needs to be positive and of a magnitude to obtain decent cutting action. The optimal chip would be a compact curl, which curves over ahead of your tool and breaks once it hits the work. This chip is the result of an appropriate mixture of rake angle and side cutting edge angle.

Start using our services today if you need nickel alloy machining

At Brindley Metals, we can give you all the assistance you need with machining various metals. We understand how complex this can be. By taking advantage of our knowledge and the skills of our partners however, you won’t have too much trouble.

So, if there is anything we can assist you with in terms of nickel alloy machining, feel free to call or email us anytime. We can help you with all kinds of projects, from batches of small components to large one off items.

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