The use of carbide in metal cutting has undergone a slew of milestones since carbide was first developed in the 1920s. But truly, it was the development of the carbide plate saw for cutting steel plates almost 60 years ago at Ingersoll Milling Machine Co. when the technology took its biggest leap.
And tungsten, one of the first carbide metals developed for cutting, is still in play today. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, tungsten has the highest melting point of all metals, is also the densest, but more importantly, when it is combined with carbon, it is as hard as diamond.
This “hard as diamond” aspect of tungsten is not lost on the team at DoAll Saws, a Minnesota-based company that offers a variety of industrial sawing machines, coolants and saw blades. The company sells five distinct lines of tungsten carbide blades for almost every possible metal cutting application, from aluminum and nickel to superalloys.
Cherie DeBrule, marketing content manager at DoAll Saws, says the company has made and sold top-of-the-line tungsten carbide blades for decades.
“We were initially driven to produce tungsten carbide blades due to customer requests for a more robust and reliable option,” she explains. “We are continuously innovating and striving to create the best products for our customers, and our tungsten carbide blades are a testament to that. With these blades, you are getting the best performance and reliability that the market has to offer.”
Tungsten, sometimes referred to (mostly in Europe) as wolfram because it is derived from a mineral called wolframite, has a melting point of 6,152 degrees F. It has the highest tensile strength at temperatures of more than 3,000 degrees F. These properties make it the perfect material for filaments in incandescent lightbulbs, where they glow white hot.
Thomas Edison is said to have tested thousands of materials to use as filament but didn’t have the tools in 1880 to work with tungsten. It wasn’t until 1905 when William D. Coolidge had the technology to create tungsten filaments that they became the standard for light bulbs.
And while incandescent lighting is nearly a thing of the past, tungsten continues to be used in the industrial sector for a variety of cutting tools, from dies to milling cutters to circular saw blades. DeBrule says tungsten carbide is a superior choice for saw blades because it is not only incredibly tough, but also highly resistant to abrasion and heat.
“The superior hardness and durability of tungsten carbide makes it an ideal choice for bandsaw blades,” she says. “It gives the user an incredibly sharp and long-lasting cutting edge.”
The tungsten carbide line of saw blades is designed to work in the most demanding applications, providing maximum performance and reliability. For example, set tooth tungsten carbide (STC) blades are built for cutting through highly abrasive materials such as cast aluminum and graphite. The T3P (tungsten triple rake positive) blades
have a triple chip positive rake that provide tough cutting power for superalloys like nickel and titanium. The T3N (tungsten triple negative rake) blades feature a triple chip negative rake for cutting case-hardened rods. The T7P (tungsten seven grind pattern positive rake) blades are built for enhanced penetration, which is important on large-diameter superalloys, high-nickel alloys and titanium.
“Our tungsten carbide blades produce superior finishes and clean cuts,” DeBrule says. “Plus, the design of the blade reduces the load put on the tool while it is cutting.”
Most bandsaw blades require a break-in period where operators begin cutting with low feed and slow speed rates and then slowly ramp up to the optimal rates. However, with tungsten carbide, users need to take their time and use a slow, steady cutting pressure to avoid overheating the teeth on brand-new blades.
“This method differs from breaking in other types of blades where you can increase the speed and pressure as you go,” DeBrule says. “With tungsten carbide blades, you can be confident that you will get peak performance from your saw with the assurance that your blade is properly broken in.”
The strict engineering and manufacturing process for the saw blades ensures that they are a perfect match for jobs that can quickly dull conventional blades, as tungsten carbide stays sharper for longer. They also have a longer lifespan than traditional steel blades, which adds to their return on investment. Engineered for thermal resistance, they perform well even at high heat. The blade design also helps reduce the load put on the tooth while cutting, which adds to the blade’s lifespan.
“Our tungsten carbide bandsaw blades are designed to work in the most demanding applications,” DeBrule says, “providing maximum performance and reliability. From STC blades for cutting abrasive materials to T3N and T7P blades for working with case-hardened and high-nickel alloys, DoAll has the perfect blade for your needs.”
She adds that customers have reported “improved output, increased cutting speed, and optimization of projects with longer lasting and more precise blades. They’re also seeing cost savings over the long run with these durable blades.”
DeBrule concludes by noting the ideal customer for tungsten carbide blades is one looking to meet fast production goals while not sacrificing a clean, quality finish.
“The DoAll tungsten carbide blade is designed to cut through any type of metal you can imagine, from hard metals to tubing,” she says. “It is built to be exceptionally precise and powerful, making it ideal for solid and tube cutting. The tungsten alloy construction ensures the blade will last through the toughest jobs, while the precision-ground teeth guarantee a smooth and clean cut. With the tungsten carbide blade, you can trust that your cutting job will be done quickly and accurately with minimal effort.”