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topic 9618

Machining magnesium alloy


I want to know what precautions I should be taking when machining magnesium alloy bar, with particular regard to fire risk?

Richard Williams
- Fareham, Hants, UK


Hello Richard!

The first thing you want to do is contact your magnesium supplier or producer- they have information on the topic, since they want people to machine magnesium, and unpleasant surprises lead to few additional sales. One of the big producers is Magnesium Elektron, in Manchester UK. Magnesium Elektron PO Box 23 Swinton Manchester M27 8DD Tel: +44 161 911 1000 Fax: +44 161 911 1010 Give them a call- it should be worth your while.

Good luck!

lee gearhart
Lee Gearhart


I have a few friends who have had mag fires. Tips to avoid this.

Small cuts are the worst to make the spark that starts the fire.

House keeping - keep the swarf bins as empty as you can so should the worst happen there is not a lot to burn.

Sand is the answer to the fire - carefully working from the edge smother with sand.

I have heard of shoveling burning mag swarf into metal trollies and dumping it in the car park to burn - not recommended.

Never add water to the fire.

As I said I know two people who have had mag fires one was over forty years cutting metal and only ever had the one. The other was over twenty years cutting metal and only had the one fire.

So they are not that common, but please bear in mind the sand and ensure who is doing the cutting knows what to do with it.

Martin Trigg-Hogarth
Martin Trigg-Hogarth
surface treatment shop - Stroud, Glos, England


Value your equipment and write down the cost of replacing and the income from machining this material.

Paul Carter
- Australia


I know this is long after the first posting of this question, but I really advise against sand unless you clearly know it has NO moisture at all. This is difficult because sand does a good job of holding moisture. Best advise contact International Magnesium Association,


Josh Deetz
- Berlin, Eastern Cape, South Africa

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