5 Types of Cutting Tool Materials of Machine Tool

There are five main materials commonly used for cutting tools on machine tools.

Let’s analyze why the tools made of the following five materials would cut clean through iron as though it were mud.

See also:

High speed steel

High speed steel

High speed steel is a tool steel with a high hardness, high wear resistance and high heat resistance by adding more alloy elements such as tungsten, molybdenum, chromium, and vanadium.

Also known as high-speed tool steel or front steel, commonly known as white steel.

Therefore, it is mainly used to make complex light cut and impact-resistant metal cutting tools.

The manufacturing process of high-speed steel tools is simple and easy to sharpen into sharp cutting tools.

Therefore, despite the emergence of various new tool materials, high-speed steel tools still account for a large proportion in metal cutting.

Cemented carbide

Cemented carbide

Cemented carbide is an alloy material made of hard compounds of refractory metals and bonded metals through P/M metallurgic techniques.

Because it has a series of excellent properties such as high hardness, wear resistance, good strength and toughness, heat resistance and corrosion resistance.

In particular, its high hardness and wear resistance remain basically unchanged even at a temperature of 500°C, and it still has a high hardness at 1000°C.

Therefore, the cutting performance of cemented carbide is much higher than that of high-speed steel, and the durability of the tool can be improved several times to dozens of times.

When the durability is the same, the cutting speed can be increased by 4-10 times.

Cemented carbide is widely used as a tool material, and it can also be used to cut difficult-to-machine materials such as heat-resistant steel, stainless steel, high manganese steel as well as tool steel.



Diamond is currently the hardest substance with the best thermal conductivity among known mineral materials.

The wear amount of friction with various metal and non-metal materials is only 1/50-1/800 of cemented carbide, which is the most ideal material for cutting tools.

However, the tools are mostly made of artificial single crystal diamond.

The cutting edge of the diamond tool is very sharp (this is important for cutting chips with very small sections).

The roughness of the cutting edge is very small, and the friction coefficient is low.

It is not easy to produce chipping during cutting, so the quality of the machining surface can be high.

There are three types of diamond cutting tools: natural single crystal diamond tools, solid synthetic single crystal diamond tools, and diamond compound tools.

Natural diamond tools are rarely used in actual production due to high costs.

Cubic boron nitride

Cubic boron nitride

It is a new type of artificially synthesized material developed in the 1950s which is sintered by CBN dice powder and a small amount of binder (Co.Ni or TiC、TiN、A1203) under high temperature and high pressure as well as the effect of the catalyst.

It has high hardness, good abrasion resistance, excellent chemical stability, much higher thermal stability than diamond tools.

It will not react with iron group metals at 1200-1300°C, and can be used for processing steel.

Therefore, PCBW cutting tools are mainly used for efficient machining and difficult-to-machine materials, and have a wide range of applications in the machining industry.



The main advantages of ceramic tool materials are: high hardness and abrasion resistance, minimal reduction in bending strength and bending resistance at high temperatures.

Ceramics have high chemical stability, low affinity with metals, and good oxidation resistance at high temperatures.

It does not interact with steel even at melting temperatures.

Therefore, the tool has less adhesion, diffusion, and oxidative wear; it has a lower coefficient of friction, the chips are less likely to stick to the cutting tools, and it is hard to produce chippings.

But the disadvantages of ceramic tools are: high brittleness, low strength and toughness, and weaker bending strength than cemented carbide.


These five materials basically have the characteristics of high hardness, high wear resistance, high heat resistance and so on.

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1 thought on “5 Types of Cutting Tool Materials of Machine Tool”

  1. Prasenjit Mukherjee

    _______ tool material is good for cutting non metallic material?
    A. Carbon steel
    B. High speed steel
    C. Stalite
    D. All the above

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