Carbide Button Inserts

Carbide button inserts refer to round indexable inserts with hemispherical contact profiles made of cemented carbides or cermets for interrupted machining applications. Featuring multi-functional cutting edges, button inserts possess optimized geometries for grooving, parting and recessing operations demanding superior wear resistance, strength and shock damping.

Overview of carbide button inserts

Carbide button inserts offer:

  • Extreme hardness supporting abrasion resistance
  • Toughness and strength for resistance to chipping
  • Thermal shock stability preventing crack propagation
  • Positive geometries minimizing cutting forces
  • Multi-directional tool forces accommodation
  • Custom edge preparations and chip breakers
  • Ease of indexability through rotational clamping
  • Flatter contact promoting surface finish

These well-rounded cutting tool advantages drive uptake spanning automotive, aerospace, die-mold, medical, and general machining sectors. Button inserts support reliable, cost-effective interrupted and ramping cuts minimizing untimely tool failures or damage even under demanding regimes.

carbide button inserts

Types of Carbide Button Inserts

Major button insert varieties include:

Cemented carbide94% tungsten carbide (WC) with 6% cobalt binderBroadest application range
Cermet75% titanium carbonitride (Ti(C,N)) ceramic with 25% nickel/molybdenum binderSuperior high speed capability
Cubic boron nitride (CBN)60-90% CBN with ceramic/carbide binderExceptional wear resistance across hardness ranges
Polycrystalline diamond (PCD)80-95% synthetic diamond with cobalt binderUltimate low wear option for non-ferrous alloys

These material choices span cost vs cutting performance considerations, allowing optimal selection.

Composition of carbide button inserts

Typical composition of common carbide button insert types:

MaterialMajor ConstituentsRole
Cemented carbide88-94% tungsten carbide (WC)<br>6-12% cobalt binderHard constituent providing wear resistance<br>Ductile binder imparting fracture strength
Cermet65-80% titanium carbonitride (Ti(C<sub>0.5</sub>N<sub>0.5</sub>)) <br> 20-35% nickel/molybdenum binderHard ceramic carbide phase <br> Toughening metallic binder
PCBN80-90% CBN, 10-20% ceramic binderAbrasive CBN material along with carbide/ceramic binder
PCD80-90% diamond, 10-20% cobalt binderHard diamond grains providing cutting capability <br> Metallic cobalt binder affording thermal resistance

These compositions promote tailored hardness, strength and shock resistance.

Properties of carbide button inserts

Well-designed button inserts offer a useful balance across attributes:

Physical Properties

Density12-15 g/cm<sup>3</sup>5.3-5.7 g/cm<sup>3</sup>3.45-3.55 g/cm<sup>3</sup>3.15-3.50 g/cm<sup>3</sup>
Hardness1600-2200 HV1600-2100 HV4000-5000 HV8000 HV
Transverse Rupture Strength350-600 MPa100-350 MPa600-1200 MPa500-1350 MPa
Fracture Toughness9-12 MPa√m7-15 MPa√m6-9 MPa√m∼15 MPa√m

Cemented carbides offer balanced hardness and fracture resistance while advanced cermet, CBN and PCD boast extreme hardness levels.

Cutting Performance

Relative tool material behavior during machining:

Abrasion Wear ResistanceGoodBetterBestExcellent
Chemical/Diffusive Wear ResistanceGoodBetterExcellentExcellent
Thermal Shock ResistanceGoodSuperiorFairPoor
Toughness and Impact StrengthGoodFairPoorPoor
High Speed Machining CapabilityGoodExcellentVery GoodFair

Cermets and PCBN boast temperature and wear performance critical for high productivity button turning and grooving. PCD suits lower cutting speeds better.

Design and Geometry of carbide button inserts

Salient button insert features contributing to reliable function:

Contact profilePrecision hemispherical contact curvePoint contact generates low cutting forces; flatness control supports finish requirements
Nose radiusSharp for parting, larger for turning/groovingBalance of strength and contained cutting forces through edge radius; positive cutting action
Clearance anglesTypically 7° side relief below contactDeflects chips and lubricant access while resisting edge breakdown
Wiper flatsSmall facets interrupting curvatureFacilitate surface finish control and stabilize insert against vibration

Positive geometry coupled with clamping flexibility minimizes damaging loads and deflection.

Tool Holders of carbide button inserts

Special fixtures accurately present inserts onto the workpiece:

HolderDescriptionMounting Method
Solid styleSimple bars with machined pockets contacting half of insertFixture clamping into tool block; limited positioning flexibility
Cartridge styleIndexable carbide cartridges with precision insert seatsScrew clamping provides better rigidity and depth control
Tool block systemMini tool block holding multiple inserts, cartridges or fixed toolsLathe turret or block tool holder interface; high accuracy

Dedicated holders limit runout below 0.01 mm helping execute precision grooves, slots and part profiles.

carbide button inserts Manufacturing

Button insert production steps:

1. Milling powders – Carbides, ceramics and binder constituents undergo wet ball milling

2. Spray drying – Granulation builds flowability and consistency

3. Compaction – Uniaxial followed by isostatic pressing generates green density

4. Presintering – Initial 1400°C cycle imparts strength for grinding

5. Edge grinding – Diamond dressing creates finished geometries and edge condition

6. Final sintering – Controlled heat treatment densifies microstructure

7. Brazing – Carbide plates are induction brazed onto steel shanks for assembled inserts

8. Coating – Special PVD, CVD coatings are applied to contact surfaces

9. Packaging – Protective packaging prevents edge or surface damage

Such extensive processing culminates in indexable inserts boasting complex cutting edge contours impossible through other means.

carbide button inserts Applications

Typical applications benefitting from carbide button insert capability:


Grooving valve guide bores; cylinder head, block, crank and cam machining; engine component external turning


Rotor slotting, blade root profiling; frame and bulkhead recessing; missile motor case tapering

Medical and dental

Machining implants from tough stainless steels and Ti/CoCr alloys; orthodontic bracket shaping

Die and mold

Steel mold cavity plunging; graphite electrode profiling; H13 tool steel grooving

General machining

Parting-off stock; recessing and shouldering across materials; wide component grooving

Grades of carbide button inserts

Carbide buttons carry standardized ISO material designations:

Cemented carbide
P20-P50WC-Co medium coarseGeneral machining steels/stainless
M10-M40WC-Co micrograinHigh hardness, wear resistance
K20Mixed ceramics in WC-CoHigh edge strength and temperature resistance
T15-T50TiCN-NiMoHigh speed steels and hardened metals
MT10-MT50TiCN-NiMo micrograinSuperior wear resistance

Additionally, unique suffixes get appended indicating special characteristics like edge treatments.

Dimensions of carbide button inserts

Typical metric range spans:

Inscribed Circle3 mm to 25 mm
Insert Heights2 mm to 6 mm
Edge RadiiSharp; 0.4 mm; 0.8 mm; 1.2 mm
Thicknesses1.5 mm to 4 mm

Larger American ANSI and fractional sizes also available. Custom geometries possible based on application needs.

carbide button inserts Standards

Important specifications include:

  • ISO 1832:2012 – Inserts for cutting tools
  • ANSI B212.4 – Carbide Inserts, Hardened Steel
  • JIS B4104 – Carbide Inserts for Machine Tools

carbide button inserts Suppliers

Leading global button insert manufacturers:

Walter ToolsGermany
KorloySouth Korea

These technology leaders shape evolving tool material and edge preparations advancing button insert utility across industry applications.

carbide button inserts

Cost Analysis

Representative costs for common varieties:

Insert TypeIndicative Pricing
Carbide Button, Grade P20$12-18 per piece
Micrograin Carbide Button, Grade M20$15-22 per piece
TiCN Cermet Button, Grade T30$35-60 per piece
PCD Button, 2 mm height$45-75 per piece
PCBN Button, 3 mm height$65-95 per piece

Larger sizes, special geometries and premium grades fetch higher prices. Savings result from insert indexability spreading costs over multiple cutting edges.

Pros and Cons


  • Extreme hardness supports wear resistance in roughing
  • Can withstand high cutting speeds and feeds
  • Positive geometry minimizes cutting forces
  • Round shape diffuses concentrated stresses
  • Facilitates light and interrupted cuts
  • Allows multi-directional machining
  • Enables precision slotting/grooving
  • Simplifies indexable tooling logistics
  • Coatings boost productivity and edge strength


  • Not suitable for continuous turning of longer lengths
  • Lower edge strength than triangular inserts
  • Prone to vibration under certain regimes
  • Requires rigid setups preserving alignment
  • Orientation needs indexing fixtures or tool blocks
  • More expensive than replaceable tips per edge
  • Finishing passes may show shoulder marks of diameter transitions

Recognizing applicability strengths and manageable limitations ensures optimal tool selection matching capability to needs.


What are carbide button inserts?Round indexable inserts with shaped contact profiles made of cemented carbides/cermets for light/interrupted cutting
What materials are button inserts made of?Mainly cemented carbides of WC-Co composition; also advanced cermets, PCBN, PCD options
What operations use button style inserts?Grooving, parting-off, recessing, plunging, slotting, profiling etc in turns, mills, drills
What are the benefits of carbide buttons?Extreme wear resistance; positive geometry gives lower forces; multi-directed cutting; precision profiles
What dimensions are available?Metric buttons of 3 mm to 25 mm sizes; also inch sizes. Heights of 2 to 6 mm typical
How are inserts designated?Common ISO grades like P20, M25 etc denote composition. Suffixes indicate special features like chamfers or coatings
What causes inserts to fail prematurely?Inadequate rigidity, built-up edge, poor coolant access, excessive feeds/speeds, edge chipping due to interrupted cuts
How can button life be maximized?Choose size suiting rigidity demands; optimize feed/speed combo; ensure positive lead angles clearing chips effectively


Button-style carbide inserts represent vital productivity tools turning challenging grooving, recessing and slotting operations into reliable, simplified tasks across application sectors. Carefully engineered geometries balancing strength against cutting forces unlock lighter regimes previously unfeasible while avoiding edge breakdown, enabling micron-level accuracy even on high-hardness materials.

As manufacturers demand solutions tackling shorter production runs, custom components and minimizing inventory, indexable button inserts facilitate just-in-time capability across niche to high-volume domains cost-effectively while pushing performance boundaries. With ongoing advances in indexable tooling platforms and ultra-wear resistant material science, hemispherical carbide technology stays poised to tackle ever-expanding aperture needs precisely.

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