How to Improve the Lifespan of a PCD Cutting Tool

Manufacturers are wary of the fact that managing manufacturing costs is imperative to thrive in the ever-increasing competition. One of the primary solutions to this issue is to prolong the life of your cutting tools.

To minimize tool degradation, most R&D in cutting tools is about prolonging the cutting tool's lifespan. While you cannot avoid replacing the cutting tool eventually, you can learn some engineering tips to extend the general lifespan of a PCD cutting tool.

Tips to Prolong the Life of a PCD Cutting Tool

Here are some tips that you can follow to prolong the lifespan of a PCD cutting tool and avoid significant degradation:

1. Pick the Appropriate Cutting Tool 

With the advancing technological innovations, the product offers are also booming in the cutting tool market. Your machining process' strategy must get formulated accurately before you pick the appropriate cutting tools.

Your selection choices must depend upon parameters such as the machine limitations, the choice of materials, as well as the cutting conditions (cut depth, feed, and speed benchmarks).

Some of the best cutting tool materials include polycrystalline diamond, cubic boron nitride, and more. It is imperative to choose the appropriate grades, tool holders, clearance angles, and a high-grade coolant.

2.  Drain the Excessive Heat

Uncontrolled heating will lead to the rapid plummet of the tool life and cause build-up-edge formations. The final red flag of overheating is deformation. However, you cannot avoid heat produced during the machining process, which results from the transformation of energy during the cutting process.

However, proper temperature regulation can help curtail the negative aftereffects of heat on the PCD cutting tool. Under certain conditions, you must run the tools dry and use a coolant in other cases. You must pick the appropriate type and amount of coolant, be it oil-based, water, synthetics or semi-synthetics, or even compressed air.

3. Cost-Per-Second Race or Reasonable Cycle Time?

Some manufacturers set high speeds on their lathe machines when time is of the essence during machining. Cutting tools or CNC machines pushed to the limit can lead to inferior quality of the final product and even tool failure.

On the other hand, sensibly implemented high-speed machining offers an extensive range of perks for several applications. Therefore, operating the cutting tool at modest speeds in each case is pivotal and helps render the finest quality products. 

4. Tool Designing

The design of a cutting tool significantly affects its life. Cutting tools must be competent enough to yield higher metal removal rates and exert minimal stress on the spindle.

Tools must be designed to operate in several secondary spindle applications where rigidity and horsepower are critical.

With the advent of five-axis machining, the cutting tool and cutting edge must withstand the added stress of simultaneous, multi-directional movements.

Novel geometries that use both sides of an insert and comprise several cutting edges are the two approaches employed by cutting tool manufacturers to prolong tool life.

5. Control the Chip Flow

Controlling the chip flow during cutting helps alleviate tool failure. Cutting tool manufacturers are addressing this in two ways -

  1. By way of through-the-tool coolant designs
  2. Specific designing of chipformers or chipbreakers for specific cutting processes.

Chipformers or chipbreakers direct chips to shift away from the cutting edge, which can significantly prolong tool life. Owing to their specific design, chipbreakers keep the heat in the chips and not on the insert, thus helping prolong tool life.

6. Account for Different Wear Types

Everyday use of the cutting tool leads to its gradual wear and degradation. Different wear types demand different approaches.

  1. Flank Wear: Flank wear is due to prolonged exposure to pressure. However, it is repairable as per the extent of wear. It is also viable to re-sharpen or re-tip CBN, PCD, and carbide cutting tools since tools repairs are economically reasonable.
  2. Chipping: Chipping of the edge is a damage type that can lead to re-sharpening or re-tipping, as per the extent of the damage (microchipping is preferred).
  3. Thermal Cracks: Rapid thermal changes can cause thermal cracks, further manifesting into a fracture. Therefore, it is advisable to take preemptive action and learn all about prolonging the life of PCD cutting tools.

7. Application of Coating

While all materials demand different heat levels, too much heat can damage your cutting tool and lead to deformation. Manufacturers often combat the heat by applying certain coatings on tooling, with CVD and PVD being the two most popular choices.

CVD coatings are denser than PVD coatings and safeguard the carbide substrate from excessive heat while offering decent wear resistance. However, being thicker, they do not adhere well to sharp edges.

Therefore, CVD-coated inserts must get honed for better edge prep. These coatings are thinner, making them convenient to apply to the sharpest edges and adhere perfectly to sharp corners relative to CVD coatings.

Final Words

While cutting tool degradation is inevitable and occurs gradually, you cannot learn the tips to halt it but rather slow it down and ensure a prolonged tool life. It is crucial to pick the appropriate materials, choose operation-specific tools, use coating, and much more to avoid deformation or bending.

Besides being vigilant, it is also advisable to pick modest tools and machines as the build quality plays a pivotal role in extending the average life of that tool. Follow the tips mentioned above to learn all about prolonging the lifespan of a PCD cutting tool.



Vincent Hua

Vincent Hua

Vincent Hua is the Marketing Manager at TSINFA. He is passionate about helping people understand high-end and complex manufacturing processes. Besides writing and contributing his insights, Vincent is very keen on technological innovation that helps build highly precise and stable CNC Machinery.

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