Kodiak Cutting Tools® Speeds and Feeds Blog

Cutting Tool Talk, Tips and News for Machinist, Metalworkers and Fabricators of All Kinds

End Mills - High Speed Steel vs Carbide

End Mill Selection has Evolved and Materials Have Improved

   It used to be that carbide end mills were much less prevalent than they are today. Some time ago high speed steel and cobalt tools were much more widely used and less expensive. As time has gone on carbide tools have become more competitively priced and have become the preferred end mill by many machinists. The advantages of carbide endmills are numerous. They are much more rigid and produce tighter tolerances for machining precision parts. Carbide is also much more wear resistant. However, although carbide is tough and wear resistant, it can also be brittle. For this reason many older machine setups that are not as rigid prefer to still run high speed steel and cobalt tools for the additional forgiveness they provide.

   At Kodiak cutting tools our solid carbide endmills are made from ultra-micrograin carbide. This means that the structure of the molecules in the carbide are smaller and more consistent than and lesser grades of carbide. This grain structure allows the carbide to wear in a more even pattern and provide better tool life. Other tools, such as carbide burs which are not as precise, may be manufactured with a carbide that has a larger grain size. Some inferior manufacturers of carbide end mills use a lesser grade carbide with a larger grain structure, which makes the tools less expensive, but it also makes them less durable and more difficult to grind to exacting tolerances. That is why, although our tools might cost slightly more, in the long run better quality will save you money and increase your productivity through longer tool life and precision performance.

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