Stainless Steel: Endless Machinability

Metallurgists won’t stop presenting innovative techniques in metal engineering, in the endless effort to make stainless steel a more machining-friendly material.

Stainless steel alone is tough to the machine. Most stainless steels are made out of austenitic grades like 303, and these grades are generally tough to produce with a good surface finish, even though Advance Grinding does it wonderfully.

Metallurgists are constantly coming up with different ways to produce better machined and finished stainless steel. Engineering formulas are made to improve conventional cutting speeds so that feeds would perform well at high speed in high-temperature cutting conditions.

Aside from the formulation for cutting speeds, taking proper control of other alloying elements including nickel, nitrogen, carbon, and sulfur contribute to the improvements of steel machinability characteristics. With the addition of sulfur, for example, there comes great ease in machinability.

Advantages of Sulfur in Stainless Steel:

  • Reduces friction and extends tool life
  • Forms a lubricating layer on top of the cutting tool
  • Helps break stainless steel chip during machining

The formula of adding sulfur to stainless steel has expanded throughout the metalworking industry, giving rise to the machining of steel grades such as 303, 416, and 420F. However, while sulfur helps stainless steel with its machining ability, it also affects its good attributes. It comprises the corrosion resistance of the metal and makes it more prone to cracking.

Two of the best reasons for the enhancement of stainless steels production and machinability:


Though there have been findings that sulfur and other elements put limitations to stainless steel machining, adding these elements allows production to maximize efficiency. A lot of solutions are being created for the reformulation of stainless steel without sacrificing its good mechanical and physical properties.


Consistency is a prime factor in the metalworking industry and an important attribute in machining. Metalworkers have been developing methods to bring out the best steel products with consistency in fine finishes.

Metallurgy has never stopped finding ways to improve stainless steel machinability – all for better productions to meet customers’ operations. Moreover, different machining methods are explored, such as cutting speed and temperature adjustment. With careful exploration and innovation, no matter how hard a material is to machine, fine results will still be achieved!

Are you looking for stainless steel for your high-performance application? Advance Grinding has the capability for ultra fast turnaround rates and competitive pricing on any type of round bar. Get a quote today!


Related article: Stainless Steel from Advance Grinding

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