Woodworking Technologies: A Programmer's Perspective #2: Introduction to Carbide

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Blog entry by pmcwood posted 06-26-2012 04:36 AM 1542 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Technology and Wood: My first thoughts of a new horizon. Part 2 of Woodworking Technologies: A Programmer's Perspective series no next part
Carbide, is often a single word misnomer referring to one or more specific carbide mixtures depending on the context in which it is used. A carbide compound is simply the presence of Carbon and one or more other electronegative materials such as:
  • Titanium (Ti)
  • Tungsten (W)
  • Cobalt (Co)
  • Aluminum (Al)
  • Silicon (Si)

Why Carbide is so popular is its distinct characteristic that, when mixed with other components such as Cobalt (Co) and Nickel (Ni), allow its structure to be changed to various hardness, thus allowing a wider selection of working materials like steel, natural woods and man made woods to be cut with the same degree of accuracy while also prolonging cutting life of the tool.

Carbide Production for bits and tools is achieved through a process similar to smelting known as Sintering. The process of sintering, described in its simplest terms, involves bringing a mixture of often smaller-than-sand sized granules of different element and compound to a specific temperature below their melting point. The excited atoms move rapidly from the heating process allowing them to naturally fuse with the other materials forming a solid structure as the final product.

Precision amounts of Titanium, Tungsten, Carbon, Cobalt and sometimes Aluminum and Nickel along with carefully controlled heating and cooling of the raw materials are required to produce quality carbides for use in woodworking. Carbides that are in excess of or deficient in any one element become brittle and weak, rendering them useless for their intended application but, are still able to be reprocessed and used again.

Common carbides found in the woodworking, wood turning and contracting industries are the ever popular Titanium Carbide, and Tungsten Carbide. These two compounds are found throughout many different products such as drill bits, router bits, shaper cutters, and saw blades just to name a few.

Certain companies in the industry such as Freud Tools have made a large place for themselves by creating proprietary blends of high density carbide called (TiCo) for their line of Diablo Saw Blades

In conclusion carbide-based products have made a great impact on the work we do and the lives we live.
I hope you all find the pursuit of better craftsmanship through science as fascinating as I do.

-- PMC Router Bits, - Hammond, Louisiana

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