Cutting Tool Materials

Cutting tools are available in three basic material types. High-speed steel is one type of tool material. HSS is generally used on aluminum and other non-ferrous alloys. It has the following advantages and disadvantages.

  • HSS costs less than carbide or ceramic tooling.
  • HSS is less brittle and not likely to break during interrupted cuts.
  • HSS tools can be re-sharpened easily.
  • HSS is not as good as carbide or ceramic tools at high temperatures.
  • HSS does not cut hard materials.

Tungsten carbide (known as carbide) is another material often used for cutting tools. Carbide tools can be found in three basic types. Solid carbide tools are made from a solid piece of carbide. Brazed carbide tools use a carbide cutting tip brazed on a steel shank.

with special substances such as titanium nitride to improve \v\sevt. life- They can increase tool life by up to 20 times v^ben osed *\n accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended cutVvrvg condition. They have the following advantages and disadvantages.

  • Carbide tools work well at high temperatures
  • Carbide can cut hard materials
  • Solid carbide tools absorb workpiece vibration and reduce ttxe amount of chatter generated during machining
  • Carbide costs more than highspeed steel
  • Carbide is more brittle than HSS
Carbide requires diamond grinding wheels for re-sharpening.

Ceramic tooling has made significant advances in the last decade.

Ceramic inserts are used on hard steeis. Ceramic has foWcwtng advantages and disadvantages:

  • Ceramics is less expensive than carbide when used \r\ \r\sert tooling
  • Ceramic can cut harder materials at a faster rate and has superior heat hardness.


In the selection of cutting tools, the type of operation and hand of the cutting must always be taken into consideration.

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