How To Choose Carbide Inserts

Learning how to choose the right carbide inserts for cutting metal can be a complicated task. There are several questions that must be answered to find just the right carbide inserts for your cutting application.

Here is a partial list of some of the top global manufacturers of carbide inserts :

Primary considerations on how to choose the right carbide inserts

Metal cutting operation

  • Milling
  • Turning
  • Drilling

Material to be machined

  • Soft tool steel
  • Hardened tool steel
  • Aluminum
  • Brass or bronze
  • Any other alloy

Type of machine tool

  • 5 Axis
  • High speed machining center
  • Conventional VMC
  • Manual milling machine
  • Horizontal milling machine
  • CNC lathe
  • Engine lathe
  • Swiss type
  • Other machine tools

Type of tool holder

  • Shrink
  • Collet
  • HSK
  • CAT
  • BT
  • Boring head
  • Single bit
  • Other tool holder

Other considerations for choosing carbide inserts

  • Skill level of operator, machinist or toolmaker
  • Budget available for tool holders, vises and carbide inserts
  • Time schedule
  • Surface finish requirements
  • Capability of milling machine, lathe or other machine tool
  • Dimensional tolerance requirements

Finally, after gathering all this information, you are in a position to make an intelligent choice. All too often, the decision is made hastily, based on assumptions, traditions, and close-mindedness.

If you have the time, almost every carbide insert manufacturer will be more than happy to give you a trial run with their carbide inserts. Often this reveals much more than any chart or manual ever could. After all, everything looks good at the machine tool show or catalogue!

With this information you can begin the process of examining the recommendations of the various manufacturers. Over time, this process becomes very easy because you already know the answers to most of the above questions. It is, however, well worth taking some time to take a fresh look at exactly what considerations you have and what it is you want to accomplish.

Once you find a reliable source of technical information for picking your carbide inserts, whether in a catalogue or on the phone on on the internet, make good use of it and learn the best way to use it.