Should You Use a Carbide Indexable End Mill?

When you use an indexable end mill, you have several advantages in the shop. For example, you can use the same tool for more than one application. It’s a simple matter of adjusting the size. However, you can choose HSS (high-speed steel), or carbide tipped tools, but which one should you buy? Let’s look closer at this tool issue and see.

High-speed Steel

High-speed steel is not standard carbon steel. It is specifically developed for cutting applications which take a lot of wear and tear. HSS is often alloyed with hard materials like molybdenum or tungsten. This gives it excellent properties for high-speed cutting applications. HSS is an excellent tool material. It stays sharp and is very durable. High-speed steel is cheaper than solid carbide, or carbide tipped tools too. If you have to buy a lot of tools, this is an important thing to consider.

Carbide Indexable End Mill

Carbide refers to tungsten carbide, and it’s created by mixing carbon and tungsten. Tungsten is extremely hard, and this makes it good for cutting hard and soft metals. For example, when cutting or milling aluminum, the chips can easily collect, and when you don’t use an extremely sharp and hard cutting tool, it can gum up the cutting surfaces.

Tungsten works well for hard metals because is harder than the metal and doesn’t wear down as easily as high-speed steel. Tungsten is not as hard as diamonds but is a good choice for many difficult to work with materials.

Tungsten Costs

You pay for more tungsten carbide than HSS because it’s a rare metal. However, by choosing indexable end mill tools coated or tipped with tungsten carbide, you save a lot of money over solid carbide tools. When you need superior cutting tools, tungsten is well worth the cost.

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    Author: Greene Connor

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