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The horsepower requirements to cut various metal alloys provide an indication of the relative ease and cost of machining, but several other important factors include cutting tool material, chip formation, cutting fluids, cutting tool wear, surface roughness, and surface integrity. This article reviews these general machining factors as well as specific cutting tool and cutting parameters for the six basic chip-forming processes of turning, shaping, milling, drilling, sawing, and broaching. Best practices for each of the six chip-forming processes are suggested for optimized machining of aluminum alloys. The article lists the inherent disadvantages of machining processes that involve compression/shear chip formation. It discusses the machining of aluminum metal-matrix composites and nontraditional machining of aluminum, such as abrasive jet, waterjet, electrodischarge, plasma arc, electrochemical, and chemical machining.

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