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The machinability of stainless steels varies from low to very high, depending on the final choice of the alloy. This article discusses general material and machining characteristics of stainless steel. It briefly describes the classes of stainless steel, such as ferritic, martensitic, austenitic, duplex, and precipitation-hardenable alloys. The article examines the role of additives, such as sulfur, selenium, tellurium, lead, bismuth, and certain oxides, in improving machining performance. It provides ways to minimize difficulties involved in the traditional machining of stainless steels. The article describes turning, drilling, tapping, milling, broaching, reaming, and grinding operations on stainless steel. It concludes with information on some of the nontraditional machining techniques, including abrasive jet machining, abrasive waterjet machining electrochemical machining, electron beam machining, and plasma arc machining.

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