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What is the most common material used for CNC tooling?

July 14, 2023

The most common material used for CNC tooling is carbide. Carbide tools are widely used in CNC machining due to their excellent hardness, wear resistance, and high heat resistance. Carbide is a composite material made of tungsten carbide particles (WC) bonded together with a metallic binder, typically cobalt (Co).

Carbide tools are preferred for CNC machining because they can withstand high cutting speeds, provide excellent surface finish, and have a longer tool life compared to other materials. They are capable of machining a wide range of materials, including steels, stainless steels, cast iron, aluminum, and composites.

Carbide tooling is available in various forms, such as end mills, drills, inserts, and reamers, making it versatile for different machining operations. The hardness and toughness of carbide allow for high-speed machining, reducing production time and improving efficiency. Additionally, carbide tools can maintain their cutting performance even under high temperatures generated during the machining process.

While carbide is the most common material used for CNC tooling, other materials like high-speed steel (HSS), ceramic, and polycrystalline diamond (PCD) are also used for specific applications where their unique properties are advantageous. However, carbide remains the go-to choice for most CNC machining operations due to its overall performance and versatility.

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