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The Stregnth and Durability of Carbide

Updated on November 19, 2013

Carbide Taps

Carbide Tools

In the world of heavy machining, there are a number of tooling options that at first glance seem to be minor in nature. Small variables such as rotations per minute allowable, or a miniscule difference in diameter can mean a tremendously altered outcome in the way that the machined parts are able to function, and whether or not they are able to be used in accordance with the operation for which they were intended.

The coatings on a particular tool, though seemingly insignificant, can affect the profitability and reliability of a heavy machining company to a large degree. To illustrate this point, I’ll use the example of the coating results and applications when used on a machining saw.

The saw is a fairly typical machining tool, and a universally known tool, so it provides a clear example in the ways that different coating can affect the outcome of the process.

One of the more popular coatings on a tooling item is carbide. Carbide is especially popular because next to diamond, it is one of the hardest properties of any mineral. Carbide allows the saw to last longer, which of course has a great deal of appeal for a number of reasons. First, a blade that doesn’t need to be replaced as often will save money up front, but it also saves money in more hidden costs, such as downtime and the cost of labor needed to switch the machined parts. Carbide tools do have downsides, however. Solid carbide blades are quite expensive, so they are not beneficial for all processes. The other downside to solid carbide is the fact that it is very brittle, and therefore unsuitable for even slightly thick cuts.

A better choice for all but the most precision cuts is a carbide tipped blade. This type of coating combines the accuracy of carbide with the side-to-side strength of steel. This is a good choice for most applications, because the steel body lowers the overall cost of the blade while still retaining some of the life that is present in the carbide tip. The most common use of this type of blade is in the machining in moderate thickness parts.

The other choice for saws is a solid stainless steel body with no coating. This is a good choice in applications where no kind of precision is necessary. These are jobs when minimal cutting in needed and there is no hold up in the event that the saws must be switched out.


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