What is the difference between HSS and carbide tools?

High-speed steel (HSS) is the standard for metal cutting tools since the nineteen-thirties. It is often used as a starting point for comparison because of its toughness, wear resistance, and sufficient hardness for general-purpose metal cutting, making them a solid baseline for comparison. High-Speed Steels have a typical Rockwell hardness range of 62-64. Such tools are readily available, and cost-effective.

Advantages of carbide

The use of carbide in cutting tools began development in nineteen-twenty-five. Tungsten Carbide particles, which are much smaller than a grain of sand, are combined with cobalt to create a solid mass. Cobalt acts as the binder to "cement" the particles together. This compound revolutionized the metal-cutting world by enabling faster speeds and feeds and providing longer tool life.

It also retains its hardness at higher temperatures than HSS, so it can be worked harder to cut faster.

Carbide-tipped tools improve surface finish and hold its size far longer for better quality.

Although carbide tools are more costly, the overall cost is substantially less because only the thick cutting edge is carbide. 

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