CNC Cutting Tool Materials: 6 Major Types

CNC cutting tool materials

CNC Cutting Tool Materials: 6 Major Types


Why CNC cutting tool materials are critical for productive machining

Metal cutting machine tools provide a great platform and guarantee for mechanical manufacturing. Good cutting tools should have high hardness and flexibility, especially with the application of high-speed machining technology, dry cutting, and other technologies, the requirements for cutting tools are becoming higher and higher.

The choice of tool material has a great influence on tool life, machining efficiency, machining quality, and machining cost. Cutting tools are subject to high pressure, high temperature, friction, shock, and vibration. Therefore, CNC cutting tool materials should have the following basic properties:

  • Hardness and wear resistance: The hardness of the tool material must be higher than that of the workpiece material, generally above 60HRC. The higher the hardness of the tool material, the better the wear resistance.
  • Strength and toughness: The tool material should have high strength and toughness to withstand cutting forces, shocks, and vibrations, and prevent brittle fracture and chipping of the tool.
  • Heat resistance: The tool material has better heat resistance, can withstand high cutting temperatures, and has good oxidation resistance.
  • Process performance and economy: The tool material should have good forging performance, heat treatment performance, welding performance, grinding performance, etc., and should pursue a high-cost performance.

Types of CNC Cutting Tool Materials

What are the most common CNC cutting tool materials, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of different materials?

1. Diamond

Diamond is an allotrope of carbon, the hardest material that has been found in nature, characterized by high hardness, high wear resistance, and high thermal conductivity, and is widely used in the processing of non-ferrous and non-metallic materials. Especially in the high-speed cutting of aluminum and silicon-aluminum alloys, diamond tools are the types of cutting tools that are difficult to replace. Diamond tools that can achieve high efficiency, high stability, and long life are indispensable tools in modern CNC machining.

diamond cutting tool2. Cubic Boron Nitride Tool

The second super hard material, cubic boron nitride (CBN), synthesized by a method like the diamond manufacturing method, is second only to diamond in terms of hardness and thermal conductivity and has excellent thermal stability. It can be heated to 10000C in the atmosphere. Oxidation does not occur. CBN has extremely stable chemical properties for ferrous metals and can be widely used in the processing of steel products.

CBN cuttign tools3. Ceramic Tool

Ceramic tools have the characteristics of high hardness, good wear resistance, excellent heat resistance, and chemical stability, and are not easy to bond with metals. Ceramic tools occupy an important position in CNC machining, and ceramic tools have become one of the tools for high-speed cutting and difficult-to-machine materials processing.

Ceramic tools are widely used in high-speed cutting, dry cutting, hard cutting, and cutting of difficult-to-machine materials. The optimal cutting speed of the ceramic tool can be 2 to 10 times higher than that of the carbide tool, thus improving the cutting production efficiency.

The raw materials used in ceramic tool materials are the most abundant elements in the earth’s crust. The popularization and application of ceramic tools can improve productivity, reduce processing costs, and promote the advancement of cutting technology.

ceramic cutting tools

4. Coated Tools

About 80% of the cutting tools used in CNC machine tools use coated tools.

Coating the tool is one of the important ways to improve the tool’s performance. The coated tool is coated with one or more layers of the refractory compound with good wear resistance on the tool body with good toughness, which combines the tool matrix with the hard coating so that the performance of the tool is improved. Coated tools can improve machining efficiency, improve machining accuracy, extend tool life, and reduce machining costs.

5. Carbide Tool

Carbide tools, especially indexable carbide tools, are the leading products of CNC machining tools. The varieties of integral and indexable carbide tools or inserts have been extended to various cutting tool fields, among which indexable carbide tools have been expanded from simple turning tools and face milling cutters to various precision, complex, and forming tools.

6. High-Speed Steel Tool

High-Speed Steel (HSS) is a high alloy tool steel with more alloying elements such as W, Mo, Cr, and V added to allow it to have excellent comprehensive performance in terms of strength, toughness, and manufacturability. In complex tools, especially hole-making tools, milling cutters, threading tools, broaches, gear-cutting tools, and other complex cutting tools, high-speed steel still occupies a major position. High-speed steel knives are easy to sharpen cutting edges.

According to different uses, high-speed steel can be divided into general-purpose high-speed steel and high-performance high-speed steel.


At TDB Hanoi, we have an experienced and qualified team of engineers and CNC operators who will help you save costs with the most suitable CNC cutting tools for your parts machining requirements. Leave us an RFQ now to get a quick Quotation.

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