For new and seasoned machinists alike, carbide end mill sets are a popular way to get a wide range of cutting tools at a discounted price. The exact number and style of tools can vary widely from set to set but they all typically include various sizes of square end mills and other solid carbide tools for milling applications. Today we will be looking at the pros and cons of these end mill sets from a general perspective to give machinists a better understanding of what they are purchasing.
One of the main reasons that these sets are so appealing to machinists is the fact that carbide tools are built to last. While these tools may look metallic, they are actually constructed from a composite of ceramic carbide and a metal binding material. The ceramic content makes these tools extremely durable, even when operating at high temperatures. Compared to steel tools, carbide end mill sets will retain their cutting edges and provide a longer tool life.
One of the biggest advantages to buying a set of carbide milling tools is the fact that they will provide a lot of variety. Most end mills sets feature several sizes of one specific type of tool. Having multiple sizes makes it easy to perform a range of different cuts, which can be especially helpful if you are prototyping or milling a lot of mixed components. The boxes or stands that are often paired with these tools also makes the organization of your cutters a simple process.
Sadly all cutting tools will suffer some level of fatigue over time, even tools manufactured from solid carbide. If you are buying cheap sets of cutting tools, then you might notice that your end mills will lose their sharp edges faster than you might expect. There is also going to be the issue of use. In many cases, there are going to be a few tools in every set that almost never gets used. This means that you are essentially paying for tools to just take up space in your shop.
One of the best ways to invest in the right tools is to take a look at the exact cutters that you are using in your shop. If you already have a few sets of end mills, take a look at the most fatigued cutters in those sets. This is the best way to create a list of cutters that you are using regularly so you can invest in high quality end mills in those specific configurations and sizes. This way you will know that you can rely on the tools you need, while also keeping a variety of additional sizes as backups for the occasional odd job.
Finding Quality End Mills
When you are trying to find the best end mills for your shop, the best choice is to find a domestic tool manufacturer. Tools from overseas might be affordable, but they often lack the same QA processes used by domestic tool manufacturers. These businesses can also be reached during regular business hours if you encounter any difficulties with your tools.
One great resource for shops looking for great prices on well made carbide tools is www.onlinecarbide.com. As an American manufacturer of end mills and driss bits, they have plenty of tools for machinists in need of replacements for their carbide end mill sets. If you have any questions about the tools they offer, you can reach out to a member of their team by sending an email to [email protected]