Manufacturing Materials

Choosing Materials

The tips below may help you determine what type of material is best suited for your parts:


 Metals yield higher tolerance parts than with plastics.
 Plastics can warp slightly over time due to moisture absorption and heat exposure but are typically less expensive to make parts with than metals.
 Sheet metal parts usually costs less than machining plates or rods.
  Materials that don’t require secondary finishing, such as stainless steel and aluminum, tend to be the most cost-effective options for prototyping and low-volume orders.

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Popular Materials Include:


Aluminum is one of the most popular manufacturing metals due to its machinability, low cost, and light weight. Often used in vehicles, construction applications, and consumer goods.


Titanium is a hard metal known for its corrosion resistance and high strength-to-weight ratio. Frequently used in engines, aerospace technology, and industrial equipment.


Steel is a metal available in numerous alloys, many of which are strong, inexpensive, and easy to machine. Commonly used in railways, buildings and household appliances.

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel is known for its shiny appearance, high corrosion resistance, and self-protective properties. Often used to make cookware and automotive parts.

Spring Steel

Spring Steel has high yield strength and is resistant to deformation. Ideal for manufacturing automotive springs and other suspension applications.

Sterling Silver

Sterling Silver has a pristine appearance, is easy to solder, and is less expensive than many other precious metals. It’s popular for making jewelry and kitchenware.


Copper is a metal known for its malleability, resistance to corrosion, and high electrical and thermal conductivity. It’s often used in wire, heat sinks and pipes.


Bronze is comprised of mostly copper and some tin. It’s ductile, corrosion resistant, and is commonly used to make bearings, springs, and award medals.


Brass is comprised of copper and zinc. This alloy features a gold appearance and is easy to machine. It’s often used to make musical instruments and appliance components.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon Fiber is a reinforced plastic featuring one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of any material. It’s used in aerospace technology, sports equipment and more.


Rubber is available in many organic and synthetic forms. Standard applications include tires, pencil erasers, gaskets, and seals.


Fiberglass is an incombustible, reinforced plastic that is cheaper and more flexible than carbon fiber. It’s often used in roofing, water tanks, and aerospace equipment.


Acrylic is a plastic known for its transparency, high dimensional stability, and weather resistance. It’s used to make exhibit enclosures, windows, furniture and more.


PTFE, also known as Teflon, is a plastic known for its stability in extreme temperatures and low coefficient of friction. Its widely used in rotating or sliding mechanisms.


Nylon is a synthetic plastic known for high tensile strength and heat resistance. Commercial applications include machine parts, cookware, seat belts and thread spools.


Polystyrene is a low-cost, non-toxic plastic known for its insulation properties and resistance to water, bacteria, and mildew. Used to make packaging and insulation.


Polypropylene is a chemically inert, low-density synthetic plastic known for its high melting point. It’s frequently used to make children’s toys and lab equipment.


PVC is flame-retardant and resistant to most inorganic chemicals. This synthetic plastic is widely used to make pipe systems, wire insulation, and credit cards.


ABS is a plastic known for its resistance to impact, acids, and oils. It’s often injection molded into parts used in pipe systems, kitchen appliances, and keyboards.


Stainless Steel is known for its shiny appearance, high corrosion resistance, and self-protective properties. Often used to make cookware and automotive parts.


Polycarbonate is a biologically inert plastic known for its natural transparency and high impact resistance. Often used in eyewear lenses, windows, and protective gear.

Free Materials Guide

eMachineShop’s Materials Guide contains valuable information that will help you determine which material is ideal for your design. See a side-by-side comparison of material types and read about factors including strength, conductivity, corrosion resistance, price and more.

Quality Assurance & Customer Satisfaction

You can trust eMachineShop to deliver quality parts that meet your specifications. In the unlikely event of a non-conformance just return the parts within 30 days and we will happily repair or remake the order.

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