Tungsten carbide


All our end mills are made from the highest quality Tungsten carbide. If you are unsure whether Tungsten carbide cutting tools are for you, have a think about the information below.


The material the cutting tool is made from is an important consideration as different tools possess different characteristics when applied in the milling process.


High speed steel (HSS) is a common machine tool material, and is typically used in basic machining applications such as home production, or small job shops.


HSS is a cost effective option when production rates and times are flexible, basic lathes are being used, or where the cutting tool will not be subject to high demands.


A more advanced cutting tool material is Cobalt. Cobalt, when compared with HSS, not only has better wear resistance, but the capability of running ten percent faster.


One of the most advanced cutting tool materials used in common use is tungsten carbide. Tungsten carbide is typically used in high intensity production applications.


Tungsten carbide is otherwise known as cemented carbide on account of the process wherein tungsten carbide powder (70-97%) is cemented with a binder material; cobalt or nickel.


Tungsten carbide is a cost effective option when operating high quality milling machines, optimum efficiency is a requisite, and where tools are subject to high demands.


Because of the high hardness of carbide, it tends to compete with advanced ceramics as a premium tooling and engineering material.


Hardness is the most important characteristic when it comes to abrasion resistance, measured on the Rockwell Hardness scale; it is a characteristic which defines the value of carbide.


Tungsten carbide has many desirable qualities and is highly resistant to abrasion, erosion, wear, compression, and heat; it exhibits longevity where other materials fail.



Tungsten carbide grades depend largely on the difference in grain size and cobalt content - in addition to other elements of the carbide composition.


Typically speaking, where grain size (μm) decreases the carbide displays lower wear resistance, and increased mechanical strength.

The mechanical strength is known as the Transverse Rupture Strength (TRS) - where TRS values (mechanical strength) increase, wear resistance decreases.


Where the ratio of cobalt (wt%) in the carbide is increased, the carbide will display positive gains in impact strength and tensile strength.

Below are a number of different carbide grades, their variable content, hardness, TRS, and cutting applications.