Why Special Carbide Shapes Are so Expensive
Why Special Carbide Shapes Are So Expensive
Ordinarily tungsten carbide shapes are made by pressing powder in a die. Once you get the die built you can process a lot of parts pretty cheaply.
If you don’t have a die for your special shape then you start with a standard shape and machine it into your special shape. This is done in the green state between the step where the wax is melted out and the final sintering step. At this stage the carbide is softer than sidewalk chalk so it is pretty easy to machine. However each part still has to be machined individually.
Attached is a quote from Kennametal for some special parts. This quote is six years old so I don’t think I’m giving anything away.
In order to make 500 parts from rectangular blanks they want $6.10 each or $3050 for 500 little saw tips. If we pay for the multi cavity tooling we can get 25,000 saw tips at $.18 each. However the multi cavity tooling cost $9600 six years ago.
This is why it is always best to stick with some sort of shape that is already being made. Second best is to try a shape for which the tooling exists but which is not in production currently. There is probably a minimum and it may be a 4 to 6 week leadtime but you don’t have to buy a die. Or it may be a better idea to buy some standard parts that are close in shape and grind them into the final shape.
We do a pretty good business cutting STB’s or standard tool blanks into the shapes the customer wants.
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