Carbide cutting tools are used when your regular high speed steel cutting tools are not removing enough material in the time allowed for the job. Carbide cutting tools are a bit more expensive then regular steel cutting tools, but make up that by lasting longer and removing more material per cut. Making a carbide cutting tool strictly from carbide is prohibitively expensive. The usual method is to braze carbide onto the steel cutting surface. Carbide is harder than steel and holds an edge longer under harder use than plain steel.
An example of a carbide cutting tool is the blade on your circular saw. Most saw blades for circular saws are carbide tipped for more cutting capacity and for longevity purposes. A carbide cutting tool just lasts longer than plain steel. Carbide cutting tools cut through the material you are cutting so much faster that ordinary high speed steel cutting tools do, that most cutting tools today come with carbide tips on them. if high speed steel will cut the material you are handling, then a carbide cutting tool will cut it faster and more economically. A carbide cutting tool does not need to be sharpened as often as high speed steel does.
In the metal machining industry carbide cutting tools have become the standard for most cutting situations. The hardness of a carbide cutting tool and the longevity that it brings to the cutting surface simply makes it more economical to use than the high speed steel cutting tools. Productivity is the key to successful business and the time saved in not changing cutters or in resharpening cutters more than makes up for the higher cost of carbide cutting tools. Also being able to carry a smaller inventory of cutting tools due to the longevity of carbide cutting tools means a lessor investment in the overhead of a metal machining business.
When cutting a very hard material with a carbide cutting tool, a cooling system is used to keep the temperature of the blade and material lower. This keeps the material being cut from warping or in the case of heat treatable material, it keeps it from hardening and possibly changing the temper of the material. It also prolongs the life of the carbide cutting tool by retaining the carbide tips. When a carbide cutting tool starts to remove less material or otherwise shows signs of dullness, it is very easy to sharpen. Sharpening is just a matter of removing a very slight amount the carbide to return the carbide cutting tool to it's former shape and cutting ability.
When you go to the store to get replacements for your cutting machine, be it a saw or a complex milling machine, your first choice should be a carbide cutting tool. The slightly higher expense over a high speed steel cutting tool will, in the long run, turn out to make the carbide cutting tool less expensive both because or the greater productivity and the longer lifespan of the carbide cutting tool over an ordinary high speed steel version.
Logan is a published author of a popular online furniture making magazine. In his free time he enjoys refurnishing old furniture and remodeling his home. Needless to say, he is an expert on a large variety of power tools and he will share his list of essential tools needed for over 100 projects at http://www.mtakata.com . Visit the ridgid power tools website to learn more.