Helpful Information

High Speed Steel, Carbide and TiCN Coating

Download & Print
It’s a fact that cutting tools made from carbide last longer than tools made from high speed steel. Carbide can be run at higher spindle speeds, with faster cycle times; being harder than high speed steel, it lasts longer as well.

The downside of carbide is it’s more expensive, requires rigid machinery and closely controlled feedrates. Unless feeds and speeds are optimized, it’s sometimes difficult to achieve satisfactory surface finishes with carbide. That said, many shops specializing in high production have found it worthwhile to invest in the machinery needed to use carbide tooling successfully.

High speed steel, on the other hand, is less expensive and won’t shatter into pieces if dropped on your shop floor. Further, it’s more forgiving of less-than-optimum feeds and speeds—a good finish is easier to produce with high speed steel. High speed steel has distinct advantages for the individual ‘smith, as well as the low-to-medium volume manufacturer, but it would be nice if the tools could be made to last longer. This is where TiCN coating comes in.

Titanium CarboNitride (TiCN) coating is a process that infuses a very thin (.0001”-.0002”) layer of TiCN into the surface of high speed steel tools. The coating is extremely hard and “slippery”. Because of these characteristics, it offers better surface finishes and at least twice the tool life of uncoated high speed steel.

Titanium Nitride (TiN), “gold” coating, has also been used for years in this role, but isn’t as useful for cutting tools as TiCN. TiCN is a light-to-dark grey coating, sometimes with a pink tint.

We offer TiCN coating of individual reamers, with discounts available for higher volumes.

Doubling the life of a reamer for fraction of the cost seems a good bargain to us, but may not be appropriate if you’ll only use a reamer a few times. If, however, you cut a lot of, say, 308 Win chambers, the extra cost begins to make sense. Let us know if you’d like your next reamer TiCN coated and we’ll be happy to oblige.