Carbide Brazed Blanks: A Comprehensive Guide

Overview of Carbide Brazed Blanks

Carbide brazed blanks are an innovative type of cutting tool substrate made by brazing a carbide alloy onto a steel shank. They combine the hardness and wear resistance of carbide with the toughness and machinability of steel.

Some key features of carbide brazed blanks:

  • Hard carbide alloy providing wear resistance is brazed to tough and machinable steel shank.
  • Allows complex tool geometries to be machined into the steel shank.
  • Wide range of carbide grades and coatings available.
  • Simpler manufacturing than solid carbide tools.
  • Lower cost alternative to solid carbide tools.
  • Used for high production machining applications.

Carbide brazed tools are ideal for hard milling, turning, drilling and other cutting operations on steels, high temperature alloys, and hard-to-machine materials. They are commonly used in automotive, aerospace, die & mold, oil & gas industries.

Types of Carbide Brazed Blanks

There are two main types of carbide brazed blank configurations:

Tip Brazed Blanks

  • Carbide tip is brazed to front end of steel shank.
  • Provides wear resistance only at cutting tip.
  • Simpler brazing method.
  • Lower cost than full carbide tools.
  • Used for light machining applications.

Full Face Brazed Blanks

  • Entire front face is brazed with carbide.
  • Maximizes wear resistance.
  • Withstands heavy machining.
  • Allows complex geometries.
  • Higher cost than tip brazed tools.
  • Used for heavy duty machining.
Tip Brazed BlanksFull Face Brazed Blanks
Carbide tip onlyFull carbide brazed face
Light machiningHeavy machining
Lower costHigher cost
Simple brazingComplex brazing

Characteristics of Carbide Brazed Blanks

Key characteristics and design considerations for carbide brazed blanks:

  • Carbide grade – Varies from fine grain grades for high hardness to more fracture resistant grades. Controls wear resistance and toughness.
  • Carbide thickness – Thicker carbide layer improves wear life but can reduce toughness. Typical thickness 0.8mm to 3mm.
  • Braze material – Nickel based alloy with high temperature brazing. Crucial for carbide-steel bond strength.
  • Shank material – Medium/high carbon steel provides strength and machinability. Can be heat treated.
  • Shank diameter – Available in standard sizes from 3mm to 32mm dia. Match to toolholder.
  • Shank geometry – Cylindrical, square or hexagonal. Impacts stiffness and machining access.
  • Coatings – TiAlN, TiN, TiCN, AlCrN used for higher hardness, heat resistance and friction reduction.
ParameterOptions
Carbide gradeFine, medium, coarse grain
Carbide thickness0.8mm to 3mm typically
Braze materialNickel based high temp alloy
Shank materialMedium/high carbon steel
Shank diameter3mm to 32mm standard sizes
Shank geometryRound, square, hexagonal
CoatingsTiAlN, TiN, TiCN, AlCrN

Applications of Carbide Brazed Tools

Carbide brazed blank tools are designed for the following machining applications:

  • Turning – Excellent for high production turning of steel and alloy parts. Used for roughing, finishing, grooving, threading.
  • Milling – For face milling, slotting, side & face milling of steels, titanium and nickel alloys.
  • Drilling – Provides good hole quality and tool life for deep hole drilling in alloy steels.
  • Threading – Carbide tipped blanks ideal for high volume tapping applications.
  • Reaming – Finish reamers made from full face brazed blanks for steel components.
  • Boring – Better boring accuracy in steel parts versus high speed steel.
ApplicationUses
TurningRoughing, finishing, grooving, threading
MillingFace, slot, side & face milling
DrillingDeep hole drilling in steels
TappingHigh volume tapping
ReamingFinish reaming in steels
BoringBoring in alloy steels

Specifications of Carbide Brazed Blanks

Typical specifications and design standards for carbide brazed blank tools:

ParameterSpecifications
Carbide gradesISO K, P, M, H10-H40
Carbide thickness0.8-3mm
Braze materialISO 3613 Ni alloy
Shank hardnessUp to 60 HRC
Shank tolerancesISO 2768
Shank diameter3-32mm
Shank geometryISO 698, 13399
CoatingsISO 2316, 3325, 3326
  • Carbide grade follows ISO 513 classifications from fine micrograin (K) to coarse (H).
  • Shank production tolerances per ISO 2768 medium tolerance class.
  • Shank dimensions and fits follow ISO 698 and 13399 standards.
  • Coatings conform to ISO coating standards.

Suppliers and Cost of Carbide Brazed Blanks

Carbide brazed blanks are available from tooling manufacturers and tool suppliers. Here are some sample suppliers and prices:

SupplierShank SizeCarbide GradeCost
Kennametal1/2″ dia x 4″KC725M$45
Mitsubishi20mm dia x 75mmVP15TF$60
Sandvik Coromant16mm sq x 100mmGC4215$75
Walter Tools3/4″ sq x 5″H10F$55
WIDIA25mm dia x 150mmKC5500$90
  • Cost range is approximately $45 to $100 per blank depending on size and grade.
  • Economical versus solid carbide costing 2X to 5X more.

Installation of Carbide Brazed Tools

Steps for installing and using carbide brazed blank tooling:

1. Inspect – Check carbide edge, braze joint, shank condition.

2. Measure – Confirm shank is within tolerance for tool holder bore.

3. Clean – Remove any debris, grease from holder bore, shank.

**4. Insert – Place coated shank into cleaned holder. Avoid touching brazed edge.

5. Tighten – Tighten holder even and firmly per manufacturer torque setting.

6. Check – Verify secure tool clamping, no movement in holder.

7. Set heights – Set working heights, lengths per application. Account for brazed edge.

8. Check runout – Test runout to ensure tool concentricity.

StepProcedure
1Inspect tool
2Measure shank size
3Clean holder & shank
4Insert into holder
5Tighten holder
6Check clamping
7Set working heights
8Check runout

Operation and Maintenance

Follow these carbide brazed blank best practices:

  • Choose suitable carbide grade and coating for workpiece material. Harder carbide for harder metals.
  • Reduce speeds/feeds if carbide edge chips or cracks form. Maintain sharp cutting edge.
  • Use heavy depths of cut that suit rigid shank and thick carbide. Reduce for small diameters.
  • Apply correct insert geometries for turning, facing, boring based on operation.
  • Ensure holder and machine have sufficient rigidity to avoid edge chipping.
  • Replace worn inserts promptly. Re-sharpening not typically done.
  • Avoid rubbing on workpiece, especially with coated edge. Prevent edge buildup.
  • Clean chips from tool regularly to minimize carbide temperature. Use coolant if possible.
PracticeDescription
Proper carbide gradeMatch grade to work material
Adjust speeds/feedsPrevent carbide chipping
Use heavy depths of cutSuit thick carbide and rigid shank
Correct insert geometryPer turning, milling, boring etc.
Rigid setupPrevent brazed edge chipping
Replace worn insertsDon’t re-sharpen
Avoid rubbing workpiecePrevent edge buildup
Clean chips regularlyControl carbide temperature

How to Select Carbide Brazed Tool Suppliers

Follow these guidelines for choosing carbide brazed blank suppliers:

  • Select established tooling manufacturers with proven brazing methods.
  • Ensure supplier has suitable carbide grades and coatings for your applications.
  • Consider custom blank engineering services for optimal tool design.
  • Choose suppliers able to produce complex carbide geometries if required.
  • Request samples to test tool performance before full purchase orders.
  • Review technical data sheets for accurate tool specifications and tolerances.
  • Compare prices from multiple vendors to get competitive quotes.
  • Consider total value – service, delivery, quality rather than just lowest cost.
  • Seek suppliers able to meet potential high volume production demands.
  • Confirm braze joint warranty and insert replacement policy.
GuidelineDescription
Proven manufacturersUse reliable brazing methods
Suitable materialsGrades and coatings for your needs
Custom engineeringOptimize tool design
Complex geometriesIf required for your parts
Test samples firstValidate performance before full purchase
Review technical dataConfirm specifications
Compare pricesGet quotes from multiple vendors
Consider total valueNot just lowest cost
Meet volume demandsScale up production
Warranty on braze jointInsert replacement policy

Pros and Cons of Carbide Brazed Tools

Advantages of Carbide Brazed Blanks:

  • Low cost alternative to solid carbide tools.
  • Tailorable carbide grades and coatings for specific applications.
  • Complex cutting geometries can be ground into steel shank.
  • Productivity benefits of carbide at lower price point.
  • Consistent quality from advanced brazing methods.
  • Good performance in high production environments.
  • Easier to clamp and index versus small solid carbide tools.

Limitations of Carbide Brazed Blanks:

  • Not as robust as solid carbide tools for extreme machining.
  • Limited edge toughness and thicker cutting geometry versus solid carbide.
  • Brazed edge integrity subject to quality control of brazing process.
  • Still more expensive than high speed or tool steel tools.
  • Re-sharpening not practical. Worn inserts must be replaced.
  • Small diameters have size and geometry limitations.
AdvantagesDisadvantages
Lower cost than solid carbideLess robust than solid carbide
Tailorable grades and coatingsThicker geometry than solid carbide
Complex cutting geometriesBraze quality dependent on process control
Productivity of carbideMore costly than steel tools
Consistent braze qualityNo re-sharpening
Good for high productionSize limits at small diameters

Carbide Grades for Brazed Tools

Carbide alloys used in brazed tools offer a range of hardness, wear resistance, toughness and temperature properties. Key carbide grades include:

  • K grades – Very fine micrograin with highest hardness and wear resistance. Brittle, used for light finishing cuts.
  • P grades – Fine grain with good hardness and toughness balance. For steel machining.
  • M grades – Medium grain for versatility across materials, suitable for roughing.
  • H grades – Coarse grain grades from H10 to H40. Tougher for intermittent cuts.
GradeHardnessWear ResistanceToughnessBest Uses
KVery highExcellentLowFinishing steels
PHighVery goodModerateSteels
MMediumGoodHigherRoughing, steels, alloys
HLow-mediumFairBestInterrupted cuts

The choice of carbide grade depends on workpiece material, cutting pressures, and whether an application is continuous or interrupted cutting. A reputable carbide brazed tool supplier can recommend the optimal grade for specific applications.

Carbide Coatings for Brazed Blanks

A range of coatings are applied to the carbide tip and edge via PVD or CVD deposition processes. Common options include:

  • TiAlN – Titanium aluminum nitride. Provides high hardness up to 3500 HV and heat resistance to 1000°C. Good general purpose coating.
  • TiN – Titanium nitride. Imparts a gold color. Hardness around 2000 HV. Good corrosion and adhesion resistance.
  • TiCN – Titanium carbon nitride. Hardness of 3000 HV. Excellent abrasion resistance. Used for high production machining of steels and cast irons.
  • AlCrN – Aluminum chromium nitride. Temperature resistance over 1000°C. Oxidation and adhesion resistant. Used for high feed milling and drilling.
CoatingHardness HVTemperatureKey Features
TiAlN35001000°CHigh hardness and heat resistance
TiN2000800°CCorrosion resistant, lubricious
TiCN3000800°CAbrasion resistant
AlCrN28001000°C+Oxidation resistant

Coatings enhance wear life, lubricity, and heat resistance. Multiple coats are sometimes applied. The coating choice depends on work material and cutting conditions.

Carbide Brazed End Mills

Carbide brazed end mills provide an economical option for face milling, slotting, side milling, and contouring operations on steels and alloys. Some examples include:

  • Face mills – Full face carbide brazed for heavy milling. Helical flute design preferred.
  • Square end mills – For slot and pocket milling. Available in various lengths and carbide grades.
  • Ball nose end mills – For 3D contour profiling with smaller corner radii available.
  • Chamfer mills – Angled cutting edge to mill chamfers and angled faces.
TypeUsesFeatures
Face millsHeavy facingFull carbide face, helical flute
Square end millsSlot/pocket millingLengths up to 8x diameter
Ball nose mills3D contouringSmall corner radii
Chamfer millsChamfers, anglesAngled cutting edge

Brazed end mills provide cost-effective tool life relative to high speed steel, with better performance in alloy steels. Proper speeds, feeds, depths must be applied.

Carbide Brazed Turning Inserts

Indexable carbide inserts made from brazed blanks have advantages for high production CNC turning of steels and alloys. Some options are:

  • External Turning – Positive rake inserts for facing, straight turning, profiling.
  • Internal Turning – Negative rake inserts with thicker centerline for boring bars.
  • Threading – Ground chipbreaker geometries for tapping and thread turning.
  • Grooving – Inserts with sharper cutting edge, radiused corner.
  • Parting – Narrow inserts to optimize parting off process. Thin profile inserts also.
Turning OperationInsert Features
External turningPositive rake, sharp edges
Internal turningNegative rake, stronger core
ThreadingGround chipbreakers
GroovingSharp edge, radiused corner
PartingNarrow width, thin profile

Indexable inserts allow multiple cutting edges to be used cost effectively. Tool holders properly position and secure the inserts during turning operations.

FAQ

Q: Are carbide brazed tools as strong as solid carbide tools?

A: No. Solid carbide tools are typically stronger in terms of edge toughness and resistance to chipping. However, modern carbide brazed tools can approach solid carbide performance while being more cost effective. Proper selection of carbide grade and application is key.

Q: Can carbide brazed tools be sharpened?

A: Typically no. The hard brazed carbide edge does not allow re-sharpening by grinding. The benefit is that inserts are simply replaced when worn, returning the tool to like-new condition.

Q: What causes carbide edges to chip or break?

A: Excessive cutting forces, speeds/feeds, or depths for a given carbide grade can cause fracturing. Insufficient workpiece rigidity or tool clamping can also contribute to edge chipping. Proper selection of cutting parameters and tool/work setup is critical.

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