If you’re a machinist or craftsman, then you know the importance of using quality tools. And if you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, then custom carbide tools are the way to go.
Carbide tools are designed to withstand high temperatures and wear, making them perfect for cutting and shaping tough metals. But like any other tool in your shop, carbide bits, end mills, and form cutters all need to be properly used and cared for if you want to avoid constant resharpening and replacement.
To that end, here are five tips to help you get the most out of your custom carbide tools.
CREATE THE RIGHT DESIGN
When it comes to custom carbide tools, the design is everything. The shape, geometry, and size of the cutting edge all play a role in how well the tool will perform and how long it will ultimately last. When designing your carbide tooling, make sure the piece is properly balanced and has enough support to prevent premature wear.
If you’re not sure what design is right for your project, consult with a Special Tools professional. We’ll be able to help you design and manufacture the best tool for the job at hand. To learn more, check out our recent guide on the five steps to expect when ordering custom cutting tools.
APPLY A PROTECTIVE COATING
Another way to protect your carbide tools from general wear and tear is to coat them with an additional protective layer. Many different coatings are available to use, each with its own set of benefits.
The most common type of coating for carbide tools is TiN (titanium nitride). This coating helps to increase the hardness of the tool, making it more resistant to wear. TiN-coated carbide tools can last up to four times longer than uncoated tools.
Other coatings that can be used on carbide tools include TiCN (titanium carbonitride), AlTiN (aluminum titanium nitride), and diamond-like carbon (DLC). These coatings all offer different levels of hardness and wear resistance, so it’s important to choose the right one for your project. Consult with a Special Tools representative to find out which coating is best for you.
CONTROL THE HEAT
Excessive heat is one of the biggest enemies of carbide tools. Too much heat can cause the tool to break down and wear out prematurely. So when using carbide tools, it’s important to keep them cool.
To avoid overheating your carbide tools, always use coolant when cutting or shaping. This will help keep both the material and the tool cooler, extending its life significantly.
AVOID CHIP BUILDUP
One of the main causes of carbide tool failure is excessive chip buildup. When bits of metal get caught in the flutes of the tool, they can cause it to overheat and break down. To prevent this from happening, always use a chip evacuation system when cutting with carbide tools.
A good chip evacuation system will remove chips quickly and efficiently, keeping them from damaging the tool. There are several different types of chip evacuation systems available, so talk to a Special Tools professional to determine which one is best for your operation.
Like all cutting tools, your arsenal of carbide tooling needs to be sharpened on a regular basis. The frequency of sharpening will depend on how often the tool is used and what material it’s being used to cut. In general, however, most carbide tools will need to be sharpened every few months. If you’re unsure if your carbide tool needs to be sharpened, check out these six signs you’re ready for a regrind.
When sharpening your carbide tools, it’s important to use the right type of grinder. Carbide is a very hard material, so it can only be effectively ground with diamond wheels or CBN (cubic boron nitride) wheels. Using other types of grinders will only damage the tool and shorten its lifespan.
It’s also important to use the correct grinding technique. The angle, pressure, and speed of the grinder all play a role in how well the tool is sharpened. To learn more, read our recent guide on how to use a CNC grinder to sharpen and refine your tools.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON CUSTOM CARBIDE TOOL CARE
By following these tips, you can significantly extend the life of your custom carbide tools. With proper care and maintenance, they’ll be able to stand up to even the most challenging projects. So, don’t hesitate to put them to good use—your carbide tools will thank you for it in the long run.
Of course, if you’re looking for someone to help with your sharpening and reconditioning needs, we encourage you to consider Special Tools. Our team of experienced sharpening professionals will help keep your carbide tools precisely tuned and highly accurate for years to come. Visit our website to get a FREE tool resharpening estimate.