Keys to Machining Molybdenum and Molybdenum Alloy

You can use all the common metal machining processes to machine molybdenum and Machining molybdenummolybdenum alloys into everything from large simple parts to very complex and intricate smaller parts. Let’s take a closer look at how to properly machine molybdenum and molybdenum alloys.


When it comes to tooling, there are two general ways to go. Depending on your production quantities, your choices are high-speed steel and sintered carbide (C2 Grade). Whichever you pick, it is important to note that due to molybdenum’s abrasive nature and its tendency to chip, your tool life will be shorter. Because of this, you need to make sure of a few things:

  • Firmly chuck your work
  • Keep tools sharp and well supported
  • Ensure machines are rigid, sufficiently powerful, and free from backlash


Though the process can be done without lubrication, cutting fluids always help extend tool life. We suggest:

  • Soluble oils for saw cutting operations
  • Sulfur-base oils and highly chlorinated oils for drilling tapping and threat chasing

It is important to remember to always match the lubricant with the process you choose.

Sawing and Shearing

Molybdenum saws readily with high-speed band or hacksaws. If you choose to hand hacksaw, make sure you are only working with the light gauge of molybdenum.

Turning, Milling, and Shaping

In general, C2 carbide grade tools that are designed for cast iron work well for all three, though high-speed steel can be used during the roughing process. Once again, cutting fluids will help extend tool life.

Drilling, Reaming, and Threading

For drilling, two-lopped carbide drills are generally used. When it comes to drilling, make sure to keep your drills sharp and cool. Additionally, you need to take extra precautions for deeper holes due to the abrasive molybdenum chips. Reaming is difficult and will put tremendous stress on tool life. Finally, when it comes to threading single tool, grinding and roll threading are a good idea while die threading is not.

Grinding, Buffing, Honing

Molybdenum is easy to grind with conventional machinery and practices. Don’t forget to use plenty of coolant and keep your wheels sharply dressed.

Electropolishing and Photo-etching

Two of the most common solutions used for electropolishing are a combination of phosphoric and sulfuric acid and straight sulfuric acid. Photo-etching is accomplished by most conventional means.

While these are only quick looks at the machining process of molybdenum, it should be enough to get you started. Our molybdenum experts are here to help!

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