Cast Iron vs. Steel: Understanding the Differences(galvanneal vs galvanized Tess)

  • Time:
  • Click:33
  • source:CLAREY CNC Machining


When it comes to choosing the right material for various applications, cast iron and steel are two commonly considered options. Both metals have their own unique properties and characteristics, making them suitable for specific purposes within CNC machining and other industries. In this article, we will delve into the differences between cast iron and steel, exploring their production processes, mechanical properties, and uses.

1. Production Process:
Cast Iron:
Cast iron is produced by melting iron along with a high amount of carbon content (usually between 2-4%) in a furnace. This molten mixture is then poured into molds or casts, which create solidified shapes that can be machined further into desired products.

Unlike cast iron, steel contains a lower percentage of carbon (less than 2%). It is produced by adding alloys such as manganese, chromium, and nickel to iron during the manufacturing process. To shape steel, it undergoes heat treatment, where precise temperatures and cooling rates determine its final strength and durability.

2. Mechanical Properties:
Cast Iron:
Due to its higher carbon content, cast iron offers excellent hardness and wear resistance. It is brittle, meaning it tends to crack rather than deform under stress. Cast iron also has low tensile strength, making it less ductile and more susceptible to breakage.

Steel provides superior strength, toughness, and flexibility compared to cast iron. Its lower carbon content allows for greater malleability, enabling the creation of intricate CNC-machined parts. The versatility of steel often makes it an ideal choice for structural components requiring high load-bearing capabilities.

3. Uses:
Cast Iron:
As a result of its high carbon content, cast iron is widely used in applications that require resistance to wear and abrasion. Common uses of cast iron include automotive engine blocks, pipes, cooking utensils, and even architectural elements. The damping properties of cast iron make it suitable for applications that require vibration reduction, such as machine bases.

Steel's strength and durability make it indispensable in various industries. From automotive parts and construction materials to machinery components and tools, steel is highly sought after due to its ability to withstand heavy loads and handle extreme conditions. Additionally, the different types of steel available allow for customization based on specific requirements.

4. Machinability:
Cast Iron:
Machining cast iron can be challenging due to its hardness and brittleness. Specialized cutting tools are often required to minimize edge wear and maintain consistent results. However, once proper techniques are employed, cast iron can offer superior machinability and dimensional stability.

While steel may not possess the same level of machinability as cast iron, it remains moderately easy to work with using appropriate cutting tools. The versatility of steel allows for CNC machining processes like milling, turning, and drilling, resulting in precise and intricate final products.


In summary, understanding the differences between cast iron and steel is crucial when selecting materials for CNC machining projects or other industrial applications. Cast iron offers hardness and wear resistance but lacks the mechanical strength and flexibility provided by steel. Both metals have their place in various industries, depending on the specific needs and requirements of a project. By considering factors such as production process, mechanical properties, and intended use, manufacturers can make informed decisions regarding the choice of material that aligns best with their desired outcomes. CNC Milling