Micromachining Stainless Steel

Applications for micromachined stainless steel have grown tremendously in recent years, particularly in the medical device and life science industries. Stainless steel provides excellent machineability and is hence suitable for a variety of micro manufactured intricate features. In this article we take a deeper look into micromachining stainless steel and we explain why this is one of our top picks for micromachining.

Micromachining Stainless Steel under .010in
This machined part is under .010″ in diameter

Firstly, what is micromachining and why stainless steel is a great pick for micromachining?

Micromachining is the process of manufacturing very small parts and features, typically on the micro or even nanometer scale. Stainless steel is an excellent choice for micromachining due to its high strength, durability, and corrosion resistance. Micromachining stainless steel can be done in a variety of ways. Some of which include precision micro-milling and lathe, electron discharge machining (EDM), femtosecond laser machining, and more. These techniques hence allow for a high degree of control over the shape and size of the final product.

Stainless steel is ideal for micro machining due to its combination of several properties:

  • Hardness: Stainless steel is very hard and hence lends itself to machining complex and durable features.
  • Corrosion resistance: Stainless steel is corrosion resistant, making it a suitable choice for micro medical devices and other applications that require cleanliness.
  • Machinability: Stainless steel holds tight tolerances and smooth surface finishes, making it suitable for precise micro-machining operations.
  • Weldability: Stainless steel is easily welded, allowing for more complex assembly features.
  • Stability: Stainless steel is highly stable, allowing for high accuracy during machining operations.

What grades of stainless steel work well for micromachining?

A variety of stainless grades are suitable for micromachining, however the specific grade will depend on the properties required for the final product. Some of our favorite picks for micromachining include:

  1. Type 304: A widely used grade of stainless steel that has good corrosion resistance and excellent for micromachining.
  2. Type 316: Has excellent corrosion resistance and is often used in micro medical devices or other applications that require high levels of cleanliness.
  3. Type 17-4 PH: A precipitation-hardened stainless steel that has high strength and toughness. SS17-4 resists corrosion and hence another great choice for medical devices.

All of the above are widely available material grades that are well suited for micro machineability. Hence, these are great options for a wide array of projects involving micro machined parts.

In need of micromachined Stainless Steel?

We manufacture micro components and assemblies in accordance with Medical, Aerospace, and ISO regulations.

  • Extensive Quality Management Systems
  • ISO 13485 Certified
  • Class ISO-7 Clean Room

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