Know the Best Brass Machining Grades for your Project

When choosing an ideal metal for machining, there are key aspects to be considered for it to achieve the desired results.

Brass is one of the top preferences of most machinists owing to its suitable properties. Ideally, brass is made up of copper and zinc, and these two play an important role in determining the different types of brass machining grades.

What is Brass CNC Machining?

In simpler terms, CNC machining involves the use of software that is automated to direct the movement of tools and machines. The software can either direct the tools to cut, shape, or form different types of materials, including brass.

Since it’s a computerized process, the accuracy levels are always high, and as such, the final product is made with precision. Carbide inserts and computerized controls are some of the machine tools that are used to get rid of material layers from brass.

Not only does brass contain zinc and copper, but it can also feature other additional elements that influence its properties. Some of these elements include lead, phosphorus, aluminum, manganese, and silicon.

Factors that make Brass Suitable for CNC Machining

Brass Machining

Brass Machining

Several machinists prefer using brass owing to the following features:

· High Corrosion Resistance

As mentioned earlier, there are elements that can be added to brass that influence its properties. Aluminum and iron affect the corrosion resistance of brass. High contents of aluminum equate to a higher resistance to corrosion, and vice versa.

However, if the iron content is in large quantities, the corrosion rate will lower. Corrosion resistance in brass enhances the durability of CNC machining brass tools.

· High Tensile Strength

Despite brass being highly machinable, it’s also considered to have good strength. Aluminum, which is an alloy component in brass, is responsible for its strength through the formation of an aluminum oxide layer on brass.

· Easy to Machine

The lead component present in brass facilitates flexibility as well as ductility, thus allowing easy fabrication. This allows the easy manufacture of complex parts with precision.

· Malleability

Brass can easily take different shapes, and that’s what we mean by it being malleable. That said, manufacturing brass CNC machining grades becomes easier owing to the flexibility of the brass material.

The copper content in brass is a major determinant of its malleability. Brass containing large quantities of copper exhibits high malleability.

· Cost-effectiveness

Not only has technology made work easier and faster but also cheaper, and this also reflects on brass CNC machining. Through it, high-quality parts can be manufactured at a low cost. For that reason, most businesses prefer to adopt it to lower costs.

· Aesthetics

As compared to other metals, brass has a unique color and touch to it that makes it an ideal option for decorative functions.

· Electrical Conductivity

Not only does brass have good thermal but also electrical conductivity. This makes it an ideal option for applications that need heat or electrical conductivity.

Common Brass Graded for CNC Machining

Brass Grade for Machining Ease of Machinability Advantages Key Applications
C260 Excellent machinability · Cost-effective

· High ductility

· Good cold working properties

· Ammunition cases, rivets, radiators, hinges, cores, and tanks
C360 Excellent machinability · High resistance to corrosion

· Has greater strength to endure high stress and loads.

· Highly machinable

· Pipe fittings, fluid connectors, gears, and lock components.
C314 Excellent machinability · It has good resistance to corrosion

· Has good strength

· Wire and cable connectors, door knobs, screws, nuts, pickling fixtures, screw machine parts, pickling crates
C485 Good machinability · It’s highly resistant to corrosion.

· Has good strength

· It also has excellent hot-working characteristics.

· Admiralty brass, naval brass
C210 Good machinability · Has excellent cold-working characteristics.

· Exhibits good strength

· The corrosion resistance is good

· Electrical terminals, nuts, bolts, and threaded parts
C335 Improved machinability · Has good hot-working characteristics

· Highly resistant to corrosion

· It has good strength

· Architectural bronze, leaded Muntz
C330 Good machinability · Possess good hot-working characteristics.

·  It’s highly resistant to corrosion.

· It also has good strength.

· Ammunition primers, pumps, tubing, liners, and power cylinders
C230 Good machinability · Resistant to corrosion

· Highly machinable

· Aesthetically pleasing

· Sockets, steam and hydraulic castings, weather stripping, gears, conduits, and valves
C274 Excellent machinability · It has good resistance to corrosion.

· It has good strength

· Cold-headed parts, plumbing accessories, plumbing trap tubes, traps
C385 Good machinability · Has good strength and machinability

· also has excellent cold-working characteristics.

· exhibits good resistance to corrosion in non-marine conditions.

· Shower doors, valves, interior applications, fireplace lamps, bathroom partitions
C464 Good machinability · Highly resistant to corrosion

· Produces strong brass parts

· Has excellent hot-working characteristics.

· Fittings and fixtures for a boat deck, Admiralty brass, Naval brass
C770 Fair machinability compared to C360 · It’s highly resistant to wear

· Has good resistance to corrosion

· Has good strength

· Architectural projects, musical instrument components, high-quality cutlery, watch and clock parts, jewelry
C353 Good machinability · Resistant to wear

· Good machinability

·  A high return value for scrap

· Adapters, couplings, gears, wheels, valve stems, and watch components
C272 Excellent machinability · Has good resistance to corrosion

· Has good strength

· Architectural projects, hinges, door handles, and other hardware
C220 Good machinability · Excellent formability

·  Resistant to corrosion

· Great aesthetics

· It’s resistant to dezincification

· Making jewelry

· Used in the architecture industry

· Weather-stripping

C443 Good machinability · Resistant to corrosion

· Good strength

· Excellent conductivity

· Condenser tubes, heater equipment, evaporator and heat exchanger tubes, and distiller tubing in oil refineries
C365 Good machinability · Good strength

· Excellent cold-working characteristics

· Baffles, tube sheets for condensers and heat exchangers, support sheets
C400 Good machinability · Has great strength and hardness

· Has good machinability

· Good corrosion resistance

· Marine equipment, water meters and fittings, telecommunication equipment, condenser tubes, boiler components, reproduction, and antique hardware, pinions and worm drives, marine-grade electrical components, jewelry and accessories, sprinkler systems, condenser tubes
C200 Good machinability · Has excellent electrical conductivity

· Highly resistant to corrosion

· exhibits good ductility and formability.

· Decorative applications, plumbing fixtures, architectural applications, radiator cores, fire sprinkler systems, coins and medals, electrical and electronic components
C300 Good machinability · Have great strength and ductility.

· Possess good corrosion resistance.

· Locks and padlocks, musical instruments, industrial machinery parts, electrical connectors and parts, fasteners, gears and bearings, plumbing fixtures, coinage, consumer goods, art and sculpture, ammunition, industry machinery parts, molding, and extrusion


Brass machining is a technique employed in several industries for the automation of the fabrication process of brass parts. The desirable features that brass exhibits, such as machinability, corrosion resistance, and good aesthetics, make it an ideal choice for CNC machining. Even so, it’s important to consider other factors, like surface finish options and appropriate brass grade, as this can be a challenge.

More Resources:

Brass – Source: BRITANNICA