CNC Machining: Exploring the Differences between Steel and Iron(hot runner vs cold runner Ken)

  • Time:
  • Click:6
  • source:ZIEG CNC Machining


CNC machining has revolutionized manufacturing processes, allowing for precise and efficient production of various products. One crucial aspect in this process is the selection of materials, such as steel and iron. In this article, we will delve into the differences between these two materials and discuss their significance in CNC machining.

Understanding Steel and Iron:

Steel and iron are both alloys primarily composed of iron but differ in their carbon content. While iron is an elemental metal with a carbon content of less than 2%, steel is an alloy made by adding carbon to iron through controlled processes, resulting in enhanced strength and other desirable properties.

1. Properties of Steel:
Steel possesses several advantageous properties that make it widely used in CNC machining:

a) Strength: The addition of carbon and other elements gives steel superior mechanical strength compared to iron, making it ideal for applications that require durability and load-bearing capabilities.

b) Versatility: Steel comes in various forms, including mild, stainless, and tool steels, each having unique properties suited for different manufacturing purposes.

c) Corrosion Resistance: Stainless steel contains chromium, which provides excellent corrosion resistance, making it suitable for applications exposed to harsh environments or moisture.

d) Heat Resistance: Depending on the composition, certain types of steel can resist high temperatures without losing their mechanical properties, making them useful in industries such as aerospace and automotive.

2. Properties of Iron:
Iron also exhibits some remarkable characteristics, making its usage notable in specific scenarios:

a) Magnetic Properties: Pure iron possesses strong magnetic properties, making it applicable in industries like electronics and machinery.

b) Cost-effectiveness: Compared to steel, iron is relatively inexpensive due to its abundance and ease of extraction; therefore, it finds use in applications where cost considerations are significant.

c) Ductility: Iron is highly malleable and ductile, allowing it to be easily formed and shaped into desired structures, making it suitable for decorative purposes.

d) High Melting Point: Iron has a high melting point, which is vital in industries involving extreme temperatures like steelmaking.

CNC Machining Processes for Steel and Iron:

1. CNC Machining of Steel:
a) Material Selection: Depending on the specific application and required properties, appropriate grades of steel are chosen, such as carbon steel or stainless steel.

b) Cutting Tools: For machining steel, durable carbide cutting tools with coatings like titanium nitride (TiN) or titanium carbonitride (TiCN) are preferred to increase tool life.

c) Machining Parameters: The correct combination of cutting speed, feed rate, depth of cut, and coolant usage ensures efficient and accurate machining of steel components.

2. CNC Machining of Iron:
a) Material Selection: Different types of iron, including cast iron and wrought iron, have distinct characteristics suited for various applications. Choice depends on factors like strength requirements, wear resistance, and cost considerations.

b) Tooling Considerations: Due to its abrasive nature, machining iron can pose challenges. Coated inserts made from ceramics or polycrystalline diamond (PCD) materials are preferred to withstand wear and achieve better surface finishes.

c) Machining Best Practices: Proper control of cutting parameters, chip evacuation, and reduced cutting speeds are crucial to enhance machining performance and accuracy when working with iron.


Steel and iron play significant roles in CNC machining, each offering unique benefits depending on the desired application. While steel excels in strength, versatility, and corrosion resistance, iron remains valuable for its magnetic properties, cost-effectiveness, ductility, and specific industrial applications. Whether the requirement is for robust load-bearing structures or magnetic devices, understanding the differences between these materials empowers manufacturers to select the most suitable option and optimize the CNC machining process accordingly. CNC Milling CNC Machining