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Article: Processing copper is difficult? Here's what to do

cnc machine

Processing copper is difficult? Here's what to do

Pure copper is a soft metal with a metallic luster, good ductility, and high thermal and electrical conductivity. Copper alloys have excellent mechanical properties and can be recycled many times without compromising their mechanical properties, and are highly durable. Due to the combination of so many advantages, it is often used in the electronics industry such as cables, electrical and electronic components. In addition, copper can also be used as a building material and can be composed of many kinds of alloys. For example, silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used in marine hardware and coins, and copper used in strain gauges and thermocouples are all copper alloys.

Problems encountered in processing copper

Copper has such a wide range of applications, so the processing of copper metal is also receiving more and more attention. Copper has high ductility and toughness, and these characteristics will undoubtedly bring greater challenges to processing.

  1. Since pure copper is very soft and has good ductility, it is very easy to deform during processing.
  2. During the processing, if the processing debris is not cleaned in time, these debris will adhere to the tool and form the built-up edge, resulting in poor surface finish of the processed copper parts, and even damage the tool.

How to improve your processing effect

  1. In terms of tool selection, you can choose carbide tool materials, such as steel. Worn tools have more friction, which not only tends to deform the material but also exacerbates the high temperature problem. To avoid this problem, you can use sharper tools.
  2. Clean up the debris generated during the process in time to prevent copper debris from adhering to the tool or blocking the spiral groove of the tool plug.
  3. Pure copper is a difficult metal to machine because of its high ductility, plasticity and toughness. Alloying copper improves its machinability and even makes copper alloys easier to machine than most other metallic materials. Most machined copper parts are made of copper alloyed with zinc, tin, aluminum, silicon and nickel. These alloys require less cutting force than steel or aluminum alloys of comparable strength. For small denomination coins, it is often used as cupronickel for cladding. In addition to copper alloys, there are also some treated copper that will also help to process, such as electrolytic copper and oxygen-free copper. Electrolytic copper is produced by filling a copper compound into a solution and then applying sufficient electrolytic purification of the copper material. Most electrolytic copper therefore contains fewer impurities and is more conductive than other coppers, and is therefore often used in windings, cables, wires and busbars. Oxygen-free copper is smelted under oxygen-free conditions. Compared with other coppers, oxygen-free copper is more pure and is mostly used in vacuum electronics, including transmitter tubes and glass-to-metal seals.
  4. Adjust the feed rate. Excessively high feed rates can lead to high temperatures during processing, exacerbating copper ductility problems, so adjusting to a moderate feed rate during processing can well reduce the occurrence of high temperatures. If your machining requirements must use high feed rates, you can dissipate heat by using coolant.


CNC machining produces parts with excellent mechanical properties, precision and repeatability, and is made of metal and plastic. Lunyee provides first-class multi-axis CNC machining, which can meet your copper processing requirements for different industries and purposes. In addition, we also have many experienced technicians who can deal with the problems you encounter during the processing.

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