Over the past few years there has been a lot of controversy over whether to use a carbide graver over a steel graver. Often the incorrect grade of tungsten carbide is used when manufacturing carbide gravers and therefore their quality is undermined. Should the correct grade of carbide be chosen there is no reason you should ever have to use a steel graver again.
Tungsten Carbide has proven over many years to be a reliable and effective material to manufacture cutting tools. The main reasons for its superior performance is that extreme hardness can be achieved and Tungsten Carbides ability to continue to retain its properties, even when glowing red hot. Some knowledge of the material is required in order to select the correct grade for the application required. Tungsten Carbide is a brittle material and care must be taken to avoid damaging the cutting edge by chipping – this is where the correct grade selection is most important to offer a material that will perform well in the task and resist wear for repeated operations. A great deal of time needs to be taken in testing various grades of Tungsten Carbide to obtain the optimum grade for use with carbide gravers.
In the main, performance is subject to the material hardness/toughness relationship and this can be varied by adjusting the materials used for the powder production of tungsten carbide. Hard particles of Tungsten Carbide can be produced in a range of grain sizes the smaller the grain size the harder the TC alloy will be. The other main constituent part is the cement that holds the TC particles within the structure and this is usually the metal cobalt, by adjusting the amount of cobalt in the structure this can have an effect of increasing the toughness as the cobalt amount increases.
Summing up tungsten carbide can be adjusted in hardness, toughness by varying the amount of cobalt and the grain size of the TC particles. This will give a wide range of adjustment in hardness, from about 800 vickers hardness up to in excess of 2,500 vickers hardness. With this large variation in hardness/toughness available it can be seen that there is plenty of scope for an inappropriate grade of carbide to be supplied for use as a carbide graver.
If the correct grade is chose of tungsten carbide then here are the top five benefits of carbide gravers achieved over steel gravers:
1. Carbide Gravers will last 100 times longer. This means they work out being cheaper over the long run.
2. Carbide Gravers cut even the hardest materials. You are not limited with what you can cut, even high grade watch staffs, French clock arbors etc which steel gravers cannot touch
3. Far superior finish transferred on to your work. Maintains a much higher level of polish which is transferred onto your work.
4. Carbide Gravers stay sharper longer. Resulting in more time working and less in resharpening.
5. Cut Quicker with less effort. Some people have described as cuts like “a knife through butter”
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Source by Lucy A Brookes
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