The Use of Carbide Inserts in Injection Mold Making

My appreciation for carbide inserts was dramatically increased recently. You see, I had to do some manual lathe work and needed a special tool bit for my project. As I looked through my box of lathe tool bits I came across a very old one I inherited from my grandfather.

Out of curiosity I set it up and tried to cut the contour in my H-13 core. Hmm… there was a problem; it wouldn’t even cut the steel! Fortunately, I found the carbide inserts that I was looking for and was soon making all the chips I ever wanted.

Besides the rather slow process I was involved in on the manual lathe, carbide tooling is such an important part of any injection mold making operation that the entire process would simply come to a screeching halt without it.

Carbide tooling is an absolute necessity in any 5-axis milling operation, CNC turning operation, 3 axis milling, and any manual milling or turning. Just try to imagine life without your carbide inserts!

What kind of carbide inserts are the best?

The best carbide inserts are the ones that do the job best for your particular application. One reason there are so many excellent choices is because there are so many different requirements. One shop might specialize in high speed milling, while another needs carbide tooling for hogging off massive amounts of stock. There are many very good companies offering high quality carbide.

Who are some of the leading suppliers for mold making?

A very quick list of suppliers would include Sandvik carbide, Valenite carbide, Iscar carbide, Ingersoll carbide, and Kennametal carbide. Each of these companies offer a wide range of carbide tooling with an amazing array of choices.

How to pick a supplier for carbide inserts

One of the best ways to find out what works for your need is to contact the supplier and ask for samples to try in your own shop. Most companies are more than willing to give you free carbide tooling to try in your machines. It is one thing to see a very convincing display at a tool show, yet quite another to see how things actually perform in house.

Try several different types of inserts. The supplier most likely has a system in place to help you evaluate the performance of each type of carbide tooling. You would do well to make use of their expertise and experience, provided they have such an ability!

One tendency is to constantly rely on what has worked in the past. This is very limiting and can cost you a great deal of money. There is simply no good reason to remain stuck on the past. With all the continuous improvements taking place in the manufacture of modern cutting tools, it only makes sense to keep up with what is new and better.

What about coatings?

The coating of carbide inserts can dramatically affect the speeds and feeds of your cutting. With so much competition among the suppliers of carbide tooling, you can count on there being a coating that suits your needs quite well.

Some coatings perform great in one steel, yet in another the performance is disappointing. Also, some coatings sound like the silver bullet that will solve all your cutting problems overnight, but, of course, they are not able to. Take the time to test and evaluate for your own unique needs and you will be glad you did.


Post time: 05-27-2017