Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Use The Right Carbide Inserts Or Watch Your Money Vanish

My appreciation for carbide inserts was dramatically increased recently. You see, I had to do some manual lathe work on an injection mold and needed a special tool bit for my project. As I looked through my box of lathe tool bits I came across a very old one I inherited from my grandfather.

Out of curiosity I set it up and tried to cut the contour in my H-13 core. Hmm.. there was a problem; it wouldn’t even cut the steel! Fortunately, I found the carbide inserts that I was looking for and was soon making all the chips I ever wanted.

Carbide cutting tools are such an important part of any injection mold making operation that the entire process would simply come to a screeching halt without them. Those old HSS cutters might have done the trick back in the day, but they just don’t cut it anymore.

Mold making and milling
Using Iscar Carbide Cutters

Carbide inserts are an absolute necessity in any 5 axis milling, CNC turning, 3 axis CNC milling, plus any manual milling or turning. Just try to imagine life without your carbide inserts!

Which carbide inserts are the best

The best carbide inserts are the ones that do the job best for your particular application. One reason there are so many excellent choices is because there are so many different requirements. One shop might specialize in high speed milling, while another needs carbide inserts for hogging off massive amounts of stock. There are many  good companies offering industrial supplies such as high quality carbide inserts.

Carbide Insert Suppliers

IscarSandvikSumitomo
IngersollValenite Mitsubishi
This brief list of carbide inserts manufacturers will quickly demonstrate what a range of cutters is available. Just thumb through a paper catalog sometime and you will be amazed at the enormous variety of geometry, substrates and coatings.

How to pick a supplier for carbide inserts

One of the best ways to find out what works for your need is to contact the supplier and ask for samples to try in your own shop. Most companies are more than willing to give you free carbide tooling to try in your machines. It is one thing to see a very convincing display at a tool show, yet quite another to see how things actually perform in house.

Try several different types of carbide inserts. The supplier most likely has a system in place to help you evaluate the performance of each type of carbide tooling. You would do well to make use of their expertise and experience, provided they have such an ability!

Mold making and Lean Mfg.
Mold Making And Lean Mfg.

One tendency is to constantly rely on what has worked in the past. This is very limiting and can cost you a great deal of money. There is simply no good reason to remain stuck on the past.

With all the continuous improvements taking place in the manufacture of carbide inserts, it only makes sense to keep up with the latest innovation or process. If you don’t you can be certain your competition will.

The coating of carbide inserts can dramatically affect the speeds and feeds of your cutting. With so much competition among the suppliers of carbide tooling, it is almost a given that there exists an ideal carbide insert for your application.

Some carbide insert coatings perform great in one steel, yet in another the performance is disappointing. Also, some coatings sound like the silver bullet that will solve all your cutting problems overnight, but, of course, they are not able to. Take the time to test and evaluate for your own unique needs and find what actually performs for your own needs.

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