Machining Inconel 625, Nickel 200 and Other Nickel Alloys

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Machining Inconel 625, Nickel 200 and Other Nickel Alloys - Friday, January 29, 2016

In custom CNC machining there are some materials and alloys that are a challenge to machine. One of those is nickel alloys such as Inconel 625, which are desired for their strength and aqueous corrosion resistance.

Inconel 625, is a nickel-base alloy known for its strength and aqueous corrosion resistance

Talented machinists using state-of-the-art technology can mill even the most difficult of alloys into nearly any free-form or complex geometry. The right machining services assembly can give you quality components ready to be inserted into your systems.

Why Nickel Alloys are Hard to Machine

Nickel alloys are difficult to machine with traditional machining services, but their uses are so far and beyond many other alloys that they hold an important place in industry. From super alloys to plating, they offer an element of corrosion resistance critical to aerospace, power-generation, and turbine industries.

These strengths are part of why Inconel 625 and other nickel alloys are challenging. Nickel 200 machinability, for example, is difficult because its resistance to heat makes it difficult to form, deform, and otherwise weaken for malleability. It has a tendency to chip and break under machining equipment and processes. Many machining shops can’t work with it, considering the failure rate and costs associated with inappropriate tooling.

Advantages of Nickel Alloy

Nickel alloy, despite its challenges, remains an important element in machining due to its uniform strength across tension, shear, and compression-based forces. While each alloy has its own strength profile, nickel alloy offers a uniform one, meaning it doesn't have any weak points that will break during future use.

As Inconel 625, Nickel 200 and other nickel alloys are incredibly strong, the machining systems that work on them need to be run at slower feed rates and a lower RPM level. These slower processing times can lead to slower turnaround times, but a rushed machining job runs the risk of wasting the nickel-alloy material ruining the tools involved.

Nickel alloys offer a cost advantage. Despite their incredible strength, they aren't expensive, like many materials (titanium, for example). Businesses owners can order components and parts machined to their specifications without breaking the bank.

How to Machine Nickel Alloy

Nickel alloy requires the following considerations when milled:


  • Capacity—this material can be bored on almost any type of's the speed, feed, cutting depth, and tooling that will make the difference.
  • Drilling—insert drills need to be given special consideration for nickel alloy machining. Your feed rates should ideally be .002”/revolution. Cobalt drills are best, then high-speed steel—then twist drills (not recommended).
  • Lube and Coolants—for lighter work, water-miscible, oil-based fluids will suffice, but for heavy tapping and/or drilling you'll want a lighter viscosity oil.
  • Tooling—the incredible strength profile means that tools will wear and dull quickly, so you'll likely need to change tools regularly, sharpen them, and use c-grade inserts where possible.


The Digital Way

Digital Machining Systems understands the specific needs of nickel alloy and heavy-strength and heat-treated alloys like nickel. Our highly trained and experienced staff not only have the knowledge necessary, but also access to state-of-the-art technology that will get the job done effectively and correctly.

If you're in the Lafayette, Baton Rouge, New Iberia or Lake Charles area, contact us today for a free quote and we’ll discuss your needs for nickel-alloy machining components.


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