Is Stainless steel difficult to machine?

turning stainless steel

Compared to relatively “soft” metals such as aluminum, stainless steel is very difficult to machine. This is because stainless steel is an alloy steel with high strength and good plasticity. During the machining process, the material will become harder and generate a lot of heat. This leads to faster cutting tool wear. And chip breaking is not easy to bend and break, So it is easy to damage the surface of the part and affect the product quality.

So the difficulties in machining of stainless steel are:

  1. Material become harder during machining
  2. Generate a lot of heat
  3. Chip breaking is not easy to break and bend
machining stainless steel

How to machining Stainless steel?

Our company has over 10 years experience in machining stainless steel, every year, we produce hugh quantity stainless steel machined parts. Based on our practice and experience, we believe that the following guidelines should be followed for machining stainless steel material:

  1. Heat treatment before machining, The heat treatment process can change the hardness of stainless steel, making it easy to machine.
  2. Excellent lubrication, The cooling lubricating fluid can take away a lot of heat and lubricate the product surface at the same time. We generally use a mixed lubricant composed of nitrogen tetrafluoride and engine oil. Practice has proved that this lubricant is very suitable for machining stainless steel parts with smooth surfaces.
  3. Use high-quality cutting tools to obtain smooth part surfaces and small tolerances while reducing tool change time.
  4. Lower cutting speed. Selecting a lower cutting speed can reduce heat generation and facilitate chip breaking


All in all, stainless steel is one of the most difficult materials to machine. If a machine shop is able to machine aluminum, copper, and carbon steel very well, this does not mean that they can also machine stainless steel very well. So if you are looking for a machine shop to produce your stainless steel products, please contact us.