We're here to help you make an informed decision about what material is best for your project.

We'll look at the advantages and applications of aluminum and Invar, two popular materials used in CNC machining.

By examining their strength, weight, machinability, and more, we can compare these two materials to determine which one is right for your project.

So let's get started!

Overview of Aluminum and Invar

Overview of Aluminum and Invar

We've got a quick overview of the contrasting properties of aluminum and invar, and how they can be used in various applications.

Aluminum is a lightweight, malleable metal with excellent machinability. It offers good strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and electrical conductivity.

Invar is an iron-nickel alloy known for its low thermal expansion coefficient and high tensile strength. It is commonly used in precision CNC machining for parts that require dimensional stability at variable temperatures.

Both materials are widely used in industries such as aerospace, automotive, electronics, medical equipment manufacturing services, and consumer goods production.

CNC milling and turning services are often employed to create intricate components from aluminum or invar depending on the specific application requirements.

Flying Precision provides precision machining services for both metals along with 3D printing, injection molding, and sheet metal fabrication capabilities to meet any custom component needs customers may have.

Comprehensive Comparison of Aluminum and Invar

We're going to compare aluminum and invar in terms of their chemical composition, strength, and hardness, thermal conductivity, electrical conductivity, and corrosion resistance.

Aluminum is primarily composed of aluminum with other elements, such as copper, manganese, magnesium, and silicon, added for strength or other characteristics. In comparison, Invar consists mainly of iron-nickel alloys with additions, such as chromium or cobalt, to improve its properties.

Both materials have good strength and hardness when compared to many metals, but aluminum is generally softer than invar. Aluminum has superior thermal conductivity, while invar has better electrical conductivity.

Finally, both materials provide excellent corrosion resistance, but aluminum may be more susceptible to oxidation in certain environments.

Chemical Composition

You may be surprised to know that aluminum and invar have quite different chemical compositions. For instance, aluminum contains 92.7% aluminum while invar has only 36-39% iron.

Here are the main differences in their composition:

  1. Aluminum: 92.7% Aluminum
  2. Iron: 0-3%
  3. Copper: 0-1%
  4. Other Elements: 4-5%

Invar, on the other hand, contains 36-39% iron and 61-64% nickel with small amounts of carbon and manganese (0.2%).

Both materials offer excellent strength and corrosion resistance but vary in weight, malleability, cost, machinability, and weldability.

Aluminum is lightweight yet strong with good thermal conductivity and electrical properties. It is also relatively inexpensive compared to invar, which offers greater strength at high temperatures but is more difficult to machine or weld due to its higher hardness than aluminum.

Strength and Hardness

We've got a detailed comparison between aluminum and Invar. Let's focus on their strength and hardness properties.

Both materials offer excellent strength and hardness, but they differ in their weight, malleability, cost, machinability, and weldability.

Aluminum is lightweight and has good malleability, while Invar is much heavier than aluminum and does not have that quality. Aluminum is also more affordable than Invar, making it cost-effective for large-scale production projects.

When it comes to machinability, aluminum offers better performance than Invar due to its higher ductility. Welding aluminum requires special care, whereas welding Invar can be done with standard techniques.

Overall, both materials offer great strength and hardness characteristics, depending on the application requirements of the project.

Thermal Conductivity

You'll find that aluminum and Invar both offer excellent thermal conductivity, but their heat-dispersing abilities vary greatly depending on the application. Aluminum is an efficient conductor of heat, making it a popular choice for applications that require rapid dispersal or transfer of heat.

On the other hand, Invar has a low thermal expansion coefficient, making it an ideal material for precision parts where dimensional stability is important. This makes it useful in applications such as electronics and optical devices. For instance, Invar can be used to construct metal frames for telescopes since its low thermal expansion rate ensures that its shape will remain unchanged over time.

Despite their differences in thermal conductivity, both aluminum and invar are widely used in CNC machining due to their strength and durability.

Electrical Conductivity

With their impressive electrical conductivity, aluminum and Invar offer a powerful combination of strength and durability for CNC machining applications. Aluminum is known for its excellent thermal and electrical conductivity, while Invar is an iron-nickel alloy that exhibits low coefficients of thermal expansion.

Both materials are ideal for use in electronics due to their ability to conduct electricity easily. Aluminum is particularly useful when creating parts with complex shapes as it can be manipulated into intricate designs without sacrificing strength or performance.

On the other hand, Invar offers superior corrosion resistance and is often used for components that require consistent dimensional accuracy over time. Overall, both aluminum and Invar provide valuable properties when it comes to electrical conductivity in CNC machining projects.

Corrosion Resistance

We understand that corrosion resistance is an important factor in CNC machining. Materials like stainless steel, brass, titanium, and copper offer excellent protection from rust or oxidation. For instance, stainless steel is often used in medical equipment due to its superior corrosion resistance and hygiene requirements.

When it comes to comparing aluminum and Invar in terms of corrosion resistance, aluminum offers good protection against most environmental conditions. However, Invar has a higher level of corrosion resistance than aluminum due to its chromium content, which gives it better strength and durability when exposed to harsh elements such as salt water.

Furthermore, Invar also has greater structural integrity than aluminum when exposed to severe temperature changes, which makes it more suitable for aerospace applications.

Advantages of Aluminum vs. Invar

We're going to discuss the advantages of aluminum compared to Invar in terms of accuracy and precision, versatility in materials, environmental factors, cost considerations, speed, and efficiency.

Aluminum is a strong yet lightweight material with excellent machinability and a good strength-to-weight ratio. It offers high levels of accuracy and repeatability for complex shapes while also being able to work with various materials.

Furthermore, it minimizes material waste by optimizing cutting paths and reducing human error, making CNC machining an environmentally friendly process.

Finally, although initial setup costs may be slightly higher for CNC machining operations with aluminum compared to Invar, it offers long-term cost benefits by reducing material waste, minimizing errors, and improving overall production efficiency.

Accuracy and Precision

You can rely on CNC machining for accurate and precise results, regardless of the material. When comparing aluminum and Invar, it's important to consider their accuracy and precision in relation to the job at hand.

Aluminum offers good machinability with excellent strength-to-weight ratio, making it an ideal choice for parts that require tight tolerances. Invar, on the other hand, offers higher dimensional stability and lower thermal expansion compared to aluminum, making it suitable for applications that require high repeatability.

Both materials are capable of producing intricate parts with tight tolerances when used in CNC machining processes such as milling, turning, drilling, or grinding. The use of precise cutting tools ensures reliable results every time while minimizing errors due to human error or environmental conditions.

Versatility In Materials

With CNC machining, you can work with a variety of materials to create the perfect part for your application. Can't think of anything this process can't do?

Aluminum and Invar are two widely used materials in CNC machining due to their distinct properties. Aluminum is known for its lightweight nature, excellent machinability, and good strength-to-weight ratio. It finds applications in aerospace, automotive, electronics, and consumer goods industries.

On the other hand, Invar is an iron-nickel alloy that offers superior dimensional stability over a wide temperature range. It's often used in precision instruments and clocks where low thermal expansion is desired.

Both aluminum and Invar offer great versatility when it comes to CNC machining as they provide different advantages depending on the specific application.

Environmental Factors

We understand that sustainability is a key factor in modern manufacturing. That's why our CNC machining services are designed to reduce material waste and human error, making it an environmentally-friendly process for achieving your sustainability goals.

By optimizing cutting paths and reducing errors, CNC machining helps minimize material waste which can otherwise contribute to air and water pollution due to improper disposal. Additionally, the high levels of accuracy achievable with CNC machining help reduce errors from manual production processes, which leads to fewer scrap parts that need to be disposed of or recycled.

With its environmental benefits, CNC machining is the perfect choice for businesses looking for sustainable manufacturing solutions.

Cost Considerations

We believe that CNC machining can initially seem expensive, but in the long run, it pays off with its cost-saving benefits. These benefits include reduced material waste, fewer errors, increased production efficiency, improved precision and accuracy, and enhanced product performance and aesthetics.

This makes CNC machining a real bargain for manufacturers. Compared to traditional manufacturing methods, CNC machining offers more precise dimensions with less waste, which means more savings over time. It also allows for faster turnaround times due to automated processes and efficient use of materials.

The resulting parts are durable and versatile, making them ideal for various industries where accuracy and reliability are of utmost importance.

Speed and Efficiency

You won't believe the speed and efficiency of CNC machining - it can create complex parts quickly, saving you both time and money!

Depending on the material used, CNC machines can be used to produce parts in a fraction of the time it would take with manual processes. For instance, aluminum is a lightweight yet strong material that lends itself well to quick and accurate machining.

In contrast, invar is a difficult-to-work-with metal alloy that requires more precise cutting techniques and longer production times. However, due to its low thermal expansion rate, it is often used for components that need to maintain dimensional stability over wide temperature ranges.

Therefore, while CNC machining offers great speed and efficiency benefits for some materials like aluminum, other materials like invar require more specialized techniques for effective results.

Specific Applications of Aluminum and Invar in Various Industries

We'll discuss the specific applications of aluminum and invar in various industries. These industries include aerospace, automotive, electronics, medical, industrial equipment, and consumer goods. Aluminum is known for its lightweight nature and good strength-to-weight ratio, while invar is a high-strength alloy known for its thermal stability. Both materials are used in these industries to produce components that require precise machining and tight tolerances.



CNC machining is essential for the aerospace industry, as it allows you to craft complex components from lightweight materials like aluminum and invar with precision and speed. These materials symbolically represent strength and durability that will help your aircraft reach new heights.

Aluminum is a lightweight metal alloy composed of copper and zinc, offering good machinability, corrosion resistance, and electrical conductivity. It is commonly used in CNC machining for applications such as fittings, valves, and decorative components.

Invar is an iron-nickel alloy known for its low thermal expansion rate and high dimensional stability. It finds applications in aerospace parts such as rocket nozzles, engine housings, fuel tanks, landing gear assemblies, heat shields, fairings, antenna supports, fins & wings.

Both aluminum and invar offer excellent performance when it comes to weight reduction while maintaining the structural integrity of the aircraft components.


We've now moved on from the aerospace industry to the automotive industry, which is yet another significant sector that relies heavily on CNC machining for its production requirements.

Both aluminum and Invar are widely used in the automotive industry due to their good strength-to-weight ratio and excellent machinability.

Aluminum offers good thermal and electrical conductivity as well as corrosion resistance, while Invar is known for its low coefficient of thermal expansion and superior dimensional stability at elevated temperatures.

Both materials are highly suitable for producing engine components, transmission parts, braking systems, suspension components, and various interior and exterior parts.

CNC machining allows manufacturers to produce these parts with precise accuracy, tight tolerances, lightweight materials, and cost-effectiveness.



With its ability to produce complex shapes and high precision, CNC machining is a must-have for the electronics industry. It helps manufacturers create electronic components, PCBs, connectors, heat sinks, and enclosures.

In this field, aluminum and invar are two of the most commonly used materials. Aluminum offers good strength-to-weight ratio and excellent machinability, while invar offers a low thermal expansion coefficient. Both materials have their own advantages depending on the application.

For example, aluminum is ideal for applications where weight reduction or increased strength is desired, such as heat sinks or electrical components. In contrast, invar is best suited for delicate parts in which thermal stability is important, like printed circuit boards (PCBs).

Both aluminum and invar provide excellent performance when machined with CNC machines. Therefore, the decision of which material to use should depend on the specific requirements of the application at hand.


surgical instruments

We at Flying Precision understand the importance of CNC machining in the medical industry. We've been producing surgical instruments, implants, prosthetics, and orthopedic devices for 21+ years using this technology. Our expertise is evident in our 72M finished parts and 2300+ satisfied clients worldwide.

Our capabilities include precision CNC machining, 3D printing, injection molding, and sheet metal fabrication. We excel at customizing plastic or metal parts from prototype to finished product, and our environmentally-friendly manufacturing process minimizes material waste.

We optimize cutting paths and minimize human error, resulting in cost-effective production processes that increase productivity and reduce production time.

Industrial Equipment

We understand how CNC machining plays an integral role in producing machinery parts, tooling, and custom components for industrial equipment. It offers efficient production with precise machining of complex geometries and tight tolerances that are critical for the optimal functioning of industrial machinery.

Two key materials used in CNC machining for such applications are aluminum and invar. Aluminum is lightweight yet strong, and its alloys offer excellent machinability, making it suitable for aerospace, automotive electronics, and consumer goods industries. On the other hand, invar is a nickel-iron alloy known for its low coefficient of thermal expansion, which makes it ideal for precision instruments like clocks or watches.

Invar also has superior corrosion resistance compared to aluminum. Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages, which must be carefully weighed when selecting them for an application.

Consumer Goods

We understand that when it comes to consumer goods, accurate and precise production is essential. That's why we provide CNC machining services for all your consumer goods needs!

Our CNC machines offer unparalleled accuracy and repeatability, allowing us to produce custom-designed parts with exact specifications. From appliances to sporting equipment, we can create intricate shapes and tight tolerances in any material required for your product.

Our highly advanced technology ensures fast production times and cost-effective manufacturing processes. With our 21+ years of experience and over 72M finished parts delivered worldwide, you can trust in the quality of our products!


We've come to the end of our comparison between aluminum and Invar. Both materials have their place in CNC machining, but depending on your specific project, one may be more advantageous than the other.

Aluminum is strong and lightweight, making it ideal for many applications where weight needs to be kept low. Invar, on the other hand, is more heat-resistant and can be used in temperature-sensitive environments.

Much like a Goldilocks situation, you need to find the material that's just right for your project. Ultimately, careful consideration should be taken when selecting the best material for your application.