In the world of cutting tools, two of the preeminent options for most applications are cutting tools made of HSS, or high-speed steel, and cutting tools made of carbide.
Each of them has advantages and disadvantages, and there are some professionals that will hotly debate the matter of one’s superiority over the other.
Here’s what you should know before you begin looking for solid carbide end mills for sale.
What Is HSS? Carbide?
HSS, or high-speed steel, is an alloy of steel that has improved characteristics over classic high-carbon alloys and so can cut at higher speeds (hence the name).
HSS typically contains high concentrations of molybdenum, tungsten, and carbon, and a specific heat-treatment process is applied to the alloy, making it harder and stronger. Usually, HSS alloys are in the area of about 64HRC.
Carbides, like tungsten carbide, are a class of compounds made from metals like tungsten or cobalt and carbon. Carbides are stiffer, denser, and harder than steel, which consists chiefly of iron and carbon.
The Draw of HSS
Fans of high-speed steel tools are quick to point out the price. It’s undeniable that HSS tools are much more affordable than solid carbide cutting tools.
Also, compared to traditional alloys (though not carbide tools), high-speed steel is harder, tougher, and stronger, and it can also cut much faster.
That, however, is where the advantages of HSS seem to end.
The Draw of Solid Carbide
Despite the higher upfront cost, solid carbide cutting tools offer a lot of advantages that justify the expense.
We can start with hardness. Solid carbide cutting tools are typically harder than 65HRC, making them harder than the hardest HSS alternatives.
The fact that carbide-cutting tools are harder means they last much longer. This makes a huge difference in machining when the sharpness of a tool’s cutting edge will have such an impact on the finish. (Some might argue that HSS is easy to resharpen whereas carbide is not. This is technically true but hardly relevant in the realm of machining.)
Carbide tools are extremely tough and stiff, with much higher torsional strength than steel tools. An important component of this is high-heat resistance. Carbide has HSS beaten soundly on this front. Additionally, high heat generated using HSS tools can damage both the tool and workpiece.
That’s less of a concern with solid carbide cutting tools, and moreover, many carbide cutting tools are given advanced finishes that help further protect against heat. Carbide tools are also chemically inert, making them highly corrosion-resistant.
Another advantage of the hardness of carbide tools is that they wear more slowly and last much longer. This offsets the higher upfront cost because even though they may cost several times more than HSS drills or mills, with proper care and conscientious operation, you will be able to use them for much longer.
Where Can You Find High-Quality Solid Carbide End Mills for Sale?
Looking for high-quality solid carbide end mills for sale? Visit Online Carbide at OnlineCarbide.com. They carry a wide range of high-performance carbide end mills and drills that are made in America and they offer them at excellent prices. Check out their website via the previous link to learn more.