The first time we try carbide tools is different for everyone. Not everybody starts with the same tools or jumps into a composite for the same reasons. Some of us hear carbide is better for hardwoods and we want to put that to the test. Others want to switch from high-speed steel because they want to see how hard their machines can go. And there are some, like me, who just want to increase their shop´s efficiency and increase the stack of finished parts at the end of the day.
Regardless of your reason, you need to start somewhere. Maybe you heard of a certain tool that is good for a very specific task, say a carbide spotter or a chamfer mill. However, going for a single mill or bit will only give you a small taste of what these amazing tools can make. Even if the bulk of your projects require you only drive holes, you will want to try out a carbide end mill set that allows you to do some countersinking with various angles.
Getting a full carbide end mill set will allow you to try different approaches to your project and discover how differently they behave when compared to the much slower High-Speed steel tools.
Drills or Mills?
Drills are mostly used to plunge into the material, especially for punching holes. End mills are traditionally used for horizontal cutting, deburring, beveling, chamfering, slotting, contouring, and reaming. However, it is not unusual to see carbide end mills being used for punching holes. This is because carbide is especially good at withstanding compressive stresses and rigid enough to provide increased accuracy and prevent walk-off movements caused by deflection. A pointed end mill produces a nicely angled countersunk hole that can later be followed by a drill of your choice without fear of driving a misaligned hole. So a carbide end mill set offers you a better start.
Which End Mills Should I Get?
Well, in this industry, “one of each” is never a good thing. That would be the best way to end up with a bunch of tools that will never see any use. That’s why getting pre-packed carbide end mill sets from big stores is never a good idea. They tend to lump together fairly useful mills with low-demand mills so you get stuck with bits nobody wants. You should instead put your own set together so you are sure your money is not going into something that will end up in the back of the last drawer.
Your best bet is to directly contact a carbide tools manufacturer that can help you put a carbide end mill set together according to your current needs, but also offers manufacturer-direct prices. I have dealt with Online Carbide in the past and they always offer reliable guidance and incredible deals when I´m looking for something exotic. They are located here in the U.S. and offer free shipping for orders over $250, making them my go-to supplier for carbide tools. Contact them today and find out how their tools will change the way you machine.