Category Archives: Manufacture

Carbide Cutting Tool

Carbide cutting tools are often used by manufacturers for machinery and forming various tools, products and prototypes of metal. Technically, cutting tools are tools used to remove material from workpieces with shear deformation. In manufacturing, carbide cutting tools are a key element of forming and machining metal tools, fasteners and molds, because they provide the cutting edge for lathes and equipment. Carbide cutting tools are used because carbides offer the strength, heat and chemical resistance needed to cut hard metal materials.

CARBIDEIn order for manufacturers to mass produce consumer products, they need a variety of precisely shaped metal tools, molds, castings and fasteners. Metal molds and castings for injection or blow molded plastic products; cutting tools for machining or shaping plastic or wood; specialty metal fasteners such as screws, nuts and bolds; these manufacturing tools are typically machined from metal workpieces on lathes or CNC machines. Carbide cutting tools are used as the “blade” of these lathes and forming machines.

Rather than forming an entire tool from carbide, which is costly and extremely brittle, manufacturers often equip their cutting machines with replaceable carbide tool tips. These tips, or inserts, can be easily replaced when they have worn down, saving manufacturers from the time and expense of removing and sharpening entire carbide tools. In many cases, carbide tool tips are “indexable”, meaning they can be rotated or flipped to provide a new, fresh cutting edge. Indexable carbide inserts allow manufacturers to get more cutting time from each insert, significantly cutting material costs.

The cutting tool must be harder than the cut material so that one material can cut the other. Cutting tools used to form metal workpieces must be harder than metal and able to withstand high friction and heat resulting from high speed machining. Carbide tool tips are made of carbon and tungsten compounds, also known as cemented carbides or tungsten carbides. Tungsten carbide, although quite fragile, is harder than most metals, but its chemical properties are equally important. Carbide is considered a “stable” material; it is not chemically altered by heat, like steel, which allows tungsten carbide inserts and tool tips to hold high speed metal engines.