Carbide Grade Selection 230

This class describes the common forms of carbide available in cutting tools.

Class Details

Class Name:
Carbide Grade Selection 230
This class describes the common forms of carbide available in cutting tools.
Number of Lessons:
Additional Language:
Related 2.0 Class:
Carbide Grade Selection 331

Class Outline

  • Objectives
  • The Importance of Carbide Tools
  • What Is Carbide?
  • Common Uses
  • Types of Carbide Materials
  • Sintering Process
  • Carbide Coatings
  • Insert Shapes
  • Carbide Grade Classification
  • ANSI Classification System
  • ISO Classification System
  • Classification System Comparisons
  • Economics of Machining
  • Summary


  • Describe the relative hardness and toughness of carbides.
  • Describe a carbide.
  • Describe the advantages of carbide tools.
  • Identify common types of carbides.
  • Describe the sintering process.
  • Describe carbide coatings.
  • Describe the strength of insert shapes.
  • Describe carbide grade classifications.
  • Describe the ANSI classification system.
  • Describe the ISO classification system.
  • Compare carbide classification systems.
  • Identify machining advantages provided by carbide.



Vocabulary Term Definition
aluminum oxide Al2O3. A common coating element for carbide tools because it reduces abrasive wear of the tool.
ANSI American National Standards Institute. A private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates voluntary standards and systems. The C-system is an ANSI classification system for carbide tool materials.
binder A material acting as the medium that holds together the particles of a sintered material. Cobalt is the most common binder for sintered carbide tools.
brazing A joining process that is used to combine dissimilar metals at temperatures lower than welding.
carbide A compound developed by the combination of carbon with usually tungsten, titanium, or tantalum that is used in metal cutting tools for its hardness and wear resistance.
ceramic A hard, brittle material that can withstand high temperatures. Cemented carbide tools contain very fine ceramic particles.
chemical vapor deposition A special process that uses chemical reactions at high temperatures to coat a cutting tool with fine layers of coating material. Carbide tools are coated by chemical vapor deposition.
chipbreaker A feature designed to prevent chips from forming into long pieces. Most chipbreakers are grooves or indentations that are part of the actual design and dimensions of the cutting insert.
CNC machine A machine controlled by a computer that runs special programs driven by numerical data. CNC machines are very rigid and are capable of fast cutting speeds.
cobalt A shiny, grayish metal that is brittle and hard, with magnetic properties similar to iron. Cobalt is a common binder for carbide cutting tools.
composite A material combining other materials from two or more of the following groups: metals, plastics, and ceramics. Carbide tools are composites that combine metals and ceramics.
crater A depression that forms on the face of a cutting tool above the cutting edge during machining. A crater is typically caused by diffusion as the chip works its way up the face of the tool.
cubic boron nitride A type of cutting tool material offering a hardness that is second only to diamond. CBN tools are very effective at machining most steels and cast irons, but they are also very expensive.
hardness The ability of a metal to resist penetration and scratching.
high-speed steel A common cutting tool material that is relatively inexpensive and that offers excellent toughness. Many HSS tools are coated.
indexable insert A cutting bit that has multiple cutting edges. Once a cutting edge is excessively worn, it can be indexed to another edge, or the insert can be replaced.
insert angle The angle formed by the two sides of the insert that join together at the cutting point.
ISO The International Organization for Standardization. ISO establishes documented standards, rules, and guidelines to ensure that products, processes, and services are fit for their purpose.
K grade An ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining cast irons and nonferrous metals and alloys.
M grade An ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining ductile irons, harder steels, stainless steels, and high-temperature alloys.
nonferrous alloy A metal alloy that does not intentionally contain iron.
P grade An ISO category that includes carbide cutting tools best suited for machining a variety of steels.
physical vapor deposition A special process that bombards the surface with coating material to produce fine layers of coating. Carbide tools are coated by physical vapor deposition.
precipitate To separate as either a solid from a liquid solution, or a liquid from a gaseous solution.
sintering The heating and pressing of powdered metal to create a solid shape. Sintered metals create very uniform contents.
tantalum carbide A more recent material used in carbide cutting tools that offers improved hot hardness and reduced thermal deformation.
titanium carbide TiC. A material used to make carbide cutting tools that offers improved chemical stability and crater resistance.
titanium nitride TiN. A common coating element for high-speed steel and carbide tools because it reduces friction.
toughness The ability of a metal to absorb energy without breaking or fracturing.
tungsten carbide The original carbide tool material. Tungsten carbide offers excellent hardness. However, it is somewhat expensive and tends to crater when machining steel.
wear resistance The ability of a metal to resist the gradual wearing away caused by abrasion and friction.