The Importance of Lubrication in Metalworking

Metalworking is an intricate process that involves various techniques, such as cutting, shaping, and molding metal into desired forms. One aspect that people often underestimate but is essential for the efficient execution of these tasks is lubrication. Failing to pay attention to lubrication can have negative consequences, both for the lifespan of your tools and the quality of your final products. Read on and discover the importance of lubrication in metalworking.

Reducing Friction

Lubrication plays a fundamental role in reducing the friction between metal surfaces and cutting tools. Without lubrication, the two surfaces in contact can generate excessive heat, leading to wear and tear. This not only reduces the lifespan of the tools but also affects the quality of the metal products, leading to costly repairs and wasted resources.

Enhancing Product Quality

Lubrication doesn't just help the tools; it also directly impacts the quality of the metal product. When lubrication is appropriately applied, it ensures smooth cutting and shaping processes. The result is a final product with better dimensional accuracy and surface finish, contributing to overall product quality and satisfying industry standards.

Extending Tool Life

Metalworking tools are expensive. However, effective lubrication can prolong their operational life. By minimizing friction and subsequent heat, lubricants can reduce the rate at which tools degrade. As a result, your investment in high-quality tools becomes more worthwhile, and you're not continuously spending on replacements.

Environmental Considerations

There’s also an environmental angle to lubrication. With advances in technology, eco-friendly lubricants have entered the market, designed to be biodegradable and non-toxic. These lubricants offer a sustainable alternative without compromising performance, allowing manufacturers to be responsible and efficient.

TCI Precision Metals is in full machining production mode virtually every day, producing ready-to-ship metal blanks. In order to produce these close tolerances pre-machined materials efficiently, we often mill multiple blanks at the same time optimized machines. The process has the potential to generate excessive friction and heat. To mitigate this, TCI utilizes a shop-wide lubrication/cooling reservoir that distributes, retrieves, and recycles the solution for every machine in use.

Now that you know the importance of lubrication in metalworking, it's clear that this element is far from trivial. TCI Precision Metals is well aware of the critical nature of lubrication.

Lubrication serves multiple purposes and is sure to be an essential aspect of metalworking even as the industry goes through changes and evolutions. Keep your tools in good condition and provide the best products possible. Keep lubricating!

How Temperature Affects the Metal Machining Process

Metal machining is a precise and intricate operation with a myriad of factors and influences. One pivotal factor is temperature. Even subtle fluctuations in temperature can significantly sway the outcome of the machining process. Read on to develop a better understanding of how temperature affects the metal machining process.

Material Expansion and Contraction

Metals, like many materials, expand when heated and contract when cooled. This fundamental property can affect machining tolerances. For high-precision projects, even a slight expansion or contraction can lead to an off-spec product. Therefore, ensuring stable temperatures becomes vital for maintaining the integrity of the final piece.

Tool Wear and Tear

Higher temperatures, especially those that exceed a tool’s heat threshold, can speed up the rate of tool wear. Dull or worn-out tools don’t just compromise the quality of machining; they also increase operational costs. By managing temperatures and using coolants appropriately, you can optimize a tool’s lifespan, which is essential for saving money in the long run.

Machine-Ready Blanks Advantages

Machine-ready blanks, precut materials prepared for immediate machining, come into play here. Since these blanks are precision-cut and ground to be close to the final dimensions, there’s less material to remove. This means reduced heat generation during machining, promoting consistent results and extended tool life.

Surface Finish Quality

The surface finish of machine-ready blanks is not just an aesthetic concern; it’s pivotal for the functionality and durability of the final product. Temperature influences the surface finish of the machined metal. Excessive heat can lead to undesirable effects like burnishing or surface hardening. On the other hand, a controlled temperature ensures a smoother finish, free from thermal-induced defects and abnormalities.

Now that you know how temperature affects the metal machining process, the importance of maintaining a controlled environment becomes evident. Whether you’re leveraging the advantages of machine-ready blanks or investing in high-quality coolants, keeping temperature in check ensures a top-notch finish and prolonged tool life.

Choosing Between 6061 vs. 2024 Aluminum Precision Blanks

Choosing the right material for your manufacturing project is critical. In the realm of aluminum precision blanks, two popular choices emerge—6061 and 2024. Though seemingly similar, these two aluminum alloys have distinct characteristics and applications that set them apart. Find out how to choose between 6061 and 2024 aluminum precision blanks.

What Are Precision Blanks?

Precision blanks refer to pre-machined block or plate materials, cut and ground to meet certain dimensions. The process eliminates waste and reduces machining time, saving manufacturers valuable resources. Precision blanks are often favored in high-volume production jobs, where accuracy and consistency are of paramount importance. Understanding the distinctions between various materials used for precision blanks is key to selecting the perfect fit for a given job.

How Are Blanks Made?

Creating precision blanks is a multi-step process that requires meticulous attention to detail. The journey begins with the selection of the appropriate raw material, which is then cut into rough, oversized parts. These parts are subsequently milled and ground down to precise dimensions, eliminating any variance or discrepancies. The edges are deburred to ensure a smooth finish, resulting in a precisely sized blank that’s ready for further machining or fabrication.

6061 Blanks

First, let’s take a look at 6061 aluminum blanks.

What Is 6061 Aluminum?

6061 aluminum is an alloy that sees widespread use due to its impressive blend of properties. It's renowned for its strength, corrosion resistance, and excellent formability. As a heat-treatable aluminum alloy, it provides manufacturers with the flexibility to strike a balance between hardness and malleability, making it a versatile choice for a variety of applications.

Corrosion Resistance

A standout attribute of 6061 aluminum is its resistance to corrosion. This trait makes it particularly well-suited for applications in environments where exposure to moisture and corrosive elements is a concern. The strong oxidation layer it forms when exposed to air further enhances its ability to withstand rusting and degradation over time.


Although it's categorized as a medium-strength alloy, the strength of 6061 aluminum can be significantly enhanced through heat treatment. This attribute, along with its good formability, offers manufacturers a degree of flexibility when it comes to balancing strength requirements with ease of fabrication.


One of the reasons behind the widespread use of 6061 aluminum is its affordability. This alloy provides an excellent cost-to-performance ratio, making it an economical choice for manufacturers who need a material that delivers reliable performance without breaking the bank.

Marine Applications

The excellent corrosion resistance of 6061 aluminum, coupled with its good strength-to-weight ratio, makes it a fitting choice for marine applications. It can withstand the corrosive effects of saltwater, making it ideal for building components of boats and other marine equipment.

Heat Treatability and Machinability

6061 aluminum is highly responsive to heat treatment, allowing manufacturers to manipulate its properties to meet specific requirements. Moreover, its machinability is superb. It can be easily cut, milled, or turned, which makes it a popular choice for a variety of applications.


While 6061 aluminum has numerous advantages, it's not without its drawbacks. Its welding characteristics, for instance, can be challenging to work with. On top of that, while it offers good strength, it may not be suitable for applications that demand the highest level of structural durability.

2024 Blanks

Now that you know a bit about 6061 aluminum, let’s discuss another fantastic option: 2024 aluminum blanks.

What Is 2024 Aluminum?

2024 aluminum is another popular alloy, well-known for its high strength and excellent fatigue resistance. Unlike 6061, however, it isn't as easily machinable or weldable, making it less versatile but more specialized for certain high-stress applications.

Electrical Conductivity

A substantial advantage of 2024 aluminum is its solid electrical conductivity. This property becomes crucial in industries that require the efficient transmission of electricity. Electronic devices and electrical wiring, for instance, can significantly benefit from this particular characteristic. While it may not match the electrical conductivity of copper, it's still quite efficient, especially when you factor in its lighter weight.


2024 aluminum's workability is somewhat limited when compared to 6061. It's not as formable and is often not the first choice for applications requiring complex shapes or extensive forming. However, its superior strength makes it suitable for applications where these limitations are not a concern.


One area where 2024 aluminum truly shines is its strength. This alloy is significantly stronger than 6061, making it an ideal choice for high-stress applications. It's particularly favored in the aerospace industry, where its high strength-to-weight ratio is highly valuable.

High-Temperature Applications

Unlike some materials that lose their strength under increased temperatures, 2024 aluminum's strength can increase when subjected to elevated temperatures. This trait makes it an excellent choice in sectors such as aerospace, where materials must endure intense temperature fluctuations without failing. The resilience of 2024 aluminum under heat contributes to its reliability and longevity, reducing maintenance costs and enhancing safety in the creation of various items, from aircraft parts to spacecraft components.

Automotive Applications

Given its high strength and fatigue resistance, 2024 aluminum is often chosen for automotive applications. This sector demands materials that can withstand extreme stress and harsh environments, and these ready-to-ship aluminum blanks fit the bill perfectly.


However, 2024 aluminum does have its shortcomings. It lacks the corrosion resistance of 6061, requiring a protective coating for many applications. It's also more challenging to work with due to its limited formability and machinability.

6061 vs. 2024: Key Differences

Ultimately, the choice between 6061 and 2024 aluminum precision blanks hinges on the specific needs of your project. If you prioritize formability, corrosion resistance, and affordability, 6061 might be the way to go. On the other hand, if your project demands a high-strength material capable of withstanding intense stress, 2024 could be the better fit. Understanding these key differences can help you make an informed choice and ensure the success of your manufacturing endeavors.

Now that you know how to choose between 6061 and 2024 aluminum precision blanks, you're equipped to make an informed decision for your specific needs. Both alloys have their unique strengths. 6061 offers excellent corrosion resistance and is an affordable, versatile choice, while 2024 provides superior strength and high-temperature resilience, making it ideal for demanding industries like aerospace.

Your selection ultimately depends on your project requirements, budget, and industry standards. Always remember that precision matters in manufacturing, and a suitable choice of materials can significantly impact the success and efficiency of your project.

Choosing Between 6061 vs. 2024 Aluminum Precision Blanks

The Difference Between Stainless Steel vs. Galvanized Steel

The options can sometimes seem overwhelming when it comes to selecting the best material for a project. Two materials frequently used in a variety of industries are stainless steel and galvanized steel. While similar in appearance, these two metals have different properties that make them ideal for specific applications. Read on and discover the differences between stainless and galvanized steel.


Stainless steel is an alloy composed primarily of iron, carbon, and a significant amount of chromium, which gives it its signature resistance to rust and corrosion. On the other hand, galvanized steel is standard steel that has undergone the galvanization process. This process involves coating the steel with a layer of zinc to protect it from rust and corrosion.


Many admire stainless steel for its strength, durability, and resistance to rust and corrosion, even in harsh environments. These features are a result of the chromium content that forms a protective oxide layer on the steel’s surface. Galvanized steel, while also durable and rust-resistant, owes these properties to its zinc coating. The underlying steel can corrode if something compromises this coating.


Stainless steel’s resistance to corrosion and staining makes it ideal for applications requiring sanitation, like kitchen and hospital equipment. Workers also use stainless steel extensively in the automotive and aerospace sectors. Galvanized steel is common in the construction industry, where workers use it to build structures exposed to outdoor elements. Its ability to withstand corrosion makes it ideal for outdoor or industrial applications.

Cost Considerations

Another essential factor when comparing stainless steel and galvanized steel is cost. Stainless steel is generally more expensive due to the inclusion of alloying elements like chromium and nickel, which add to its corrosion resistance and various mechanical properties.

Galvanized steel, or zinc-coated standard steel, is often a more cost-effective solution, especially for large-scale construction projects where budget considerations are paramount. However, it’s essential to remember to weigh the initial cost of a material against its longevity and durability in the intended application.

TCI Precision Metals has the materials you’re looking for, whether you need stainless steel or custom aluminum blanks.

Now that you know the differences between stainless and galvanized steel, you can make informed decisions about which material is best for your projects.