4 Tips for Better Stainless Steel Machining

The machining world has become high tech these days. Computerized equipment creates extremely complex shapes and parts with very little human intervention. In fact, the best machine shops are capable of many types of stainless steel machining methods. If you are thinking about using stainless steel or would like to improve the machining process, the following 4 tips may be beneficial.

The Right Tools

In some cases, you are better off using tungsten carbide tipped tools. They are sharper than standard tools and can do a better cutting job. This is very important if you do precision work for the medical industry. Carbide tipped tools stay sharper longer and you’ll get much more wear from them than standard tools. You can use high speed steel for some applications, but in the long run, carbide is the cost effective option (even though carbide tools are more expensive).

Eliminate Vibrations

Stainless steel machining can be very difficult if you experience chatter from vibrations. Machines for these jobs need to be large and powerful enough to handle the work without straining. Make sure tools are properly balanced and sturdy arbor supports are a must. Anything you can do to lessen vibrations will improve the quality of your work. Otherwise you may have to deal with work hardening issue and chip buildup.

Maintain Sharpness

Even the finest cutting tools can become dull after stainless steel machining. You may need to sharpen tools more frequently or even replace them. Without sharp tools, you run the risk of low quality work and machine problems.


Stainless steel does not conduct heat well, so you could be dealing with heat buildup unless you use the proper lubricants. If your work piece gets too hot, it can affect its ability to resist corrosion. Mineral oil will increase tool life and facilitate chip removal.