Know Your Cutting Tool Materials

In our last blog post, we discussed various tool coatings along with their benefits. This week, we want to take a closer look at our cutting tool materials. Here are three of the most common.

Tool Steel

This is a blanket term that refers to a wide variety of different carbon and alloy steels. The common factor is that each alloy is particularly good for making tooling equipment. This is in large part because of its overall hardness, heat resistance and the unlikelihood of damage.

The distinct quality of various tool steel is largely determined by the carbides, which in turn determines their best use. Overall, there are six largely recognized types of tool steel:

  • Water-hardening
  • Cold-work
  • Shock-resisting
  • High-speed
  • Hot-working
  • Special-purpose

As their names suggest, each alloy is developed to suit specific needs and environments.  

Cemented Carbide

This material’s primary use is cutting tools. Cemented carbide, as its name suggests, is made up of very fine particles of carbide binded by another composite material. Tungsten carbide is the most popular, but titanium and tantalum carbides also see a lot of use.

The benefits of cemented carbides include a cleaner surface finish and allowing for faster machining. Its resistance to abrasion makes it a much better option for harder materials. However, as it is more brittle than other tool materials, it is more susceptible to chipping over periods of long use.

Titanium Carbide

An example of cemented carbide, this is an extremely hard ceramic material. It can be used to place other elements such as tungsten. Titanium carbide enhances cutting speed as well as overall smoothness and the precision of the materials it’s used on. Furthermore, adding titanium carbide to an existing tungsten composition can yield impressive increases in resistance to the cutting tool’s longevity.

Titanium carbide is most commonly used in cutting tools used for manufacturing other kinds of machine steel. Because it is so hard and more resistant to wear and tear, this material can handle the toughest materials. Fun fact: Titanium carbide can also be used as a heat shield and is employed on many spacecraft for reentering the atmosphere.   

Custom Tool Uses the Very Best Cutting Tool Materials

No matter the material, coating or purpose, Custom Tool has the experience and expertise to deliver your operation’s ideal tooling solutions. Request a quote to learn how we can help your business.