Stock types / sizes to practice?

New to CNC and wondering what are some good types and sizes of material to play around with? I’m thinking alum vs steel. I was looking at some options from Metal Supermarkets but need some help with selection i.e. Flate bar, Square bar, size, etc.

I would recommend practicing on what you plan to use the most or a variety.

Also friend a local welding and machine shop find their supplier or try to buy from them. I would guess it’s cheaper than ordering online. Or a local scrap yard a lot of time they will let you look around then sell to you at scrap price.

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If you need to just test out some toolpaths, machinable wax can be helpful. While it’s not that cheap compared to aluminum on the first purchase, it can be re-melted with ease and machined over and over. Also super easy to cut and can be cut dry just fine which makes it a little easier to clean up.

Other than that, as suggested above, try to find a place that sells offcuts or scrap. My buddy lives next to a metal recycler with a huge section of Al for $3/lb and I have him stop by to grab me some every time he makes it up my way


buy scrap, most metal recycling places will sell to you at a steep discount, and normal local metal suppliers will also have cut offs for sale for a good price. And still with aluminum or even MDF until you get comfortable. I find alot of things don’t need much more than 1" thick material. But it really depends what kinds of things you are into.

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Great suggestions guys, thank you!

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