6 Types of Cutting Tool Materials and Their Special Properties

Cutting tools are an essential part of manufacturing processes.

They are used in a variety of industries, including metalworking and woodworking.

However, there are different types of cutting tool materials that vary in terms of their properties, including strength and wear resistance.

Each type has its strengths and weaknesses depending on the application.

So, it’s important to know what each material is capable of before choosing which one you want to use for your project.

Types of Cutting Tool Materials


Carbon is one of the most common cutting tool materials, and for good reason.

It is easy to machine and is relatively inexpensive.

Moreover, carbon is tough, but not as tough as tungsten carbide or diamond.

However, carbon’s main drawback is its brittleness.

If not properly heat treated after machining, carbon can crack easily under stress or sudden impact loads.

High-speed steel (HSS)

High-speed steel (HSS) is a type of tool steel that has been hardened through the use of alloying elements.

The main alloying element in HSS is tungsten, which increases the cutting speed and strength of the steel.

Hence, high-speed steels are ideal for creating cutting tools that are used under high pressure, high temperature, and high-speed conditions.

6 Types of Cutting Tool Materials and Their Special Properties

Cemented carbide cutting tool materials

Cemented carbide is a metal alloy made up of tungsten, tantalum, and titanium carbide with cobalt as the binder.

It is suitable to use in applications where extreme durability, wear resistance, and high strength are needed.

It is also resistant to corrosion at high temperatures and is perfect for use in extreme environments like aerospace applications or oil refineries.


Ceramics are strong and durable, but they can also be brittle.

They are very good at withstanding high temperatures, which makes them ideal for cutting tools used in metalworking processes like welding or brazing.

Furthermore, their low thermal expansion coefficient makes them a good choice for use in extreme temperatures.

When it comes to wear resistance, ceramics tend to be less durable than metal or polymers.

But they are still one of the best materials for cutting tools because they are resistant to corrosion.

Cubic boron nitrate (CBN)

Cubic boron nitrate (CBN) is the second hardest material to diamond.

It is one of the most popular materials in the tool industry.

The reason is that it has a high hardness rating and is perfect to create cutting tools that are hard, but also brittle.

This means that it is difficult to create a sharp edge on these tools, but they will last for a long time before needing to be replaced.

6 Types of Cutting Tool Materials and Their Special Properties

Diamond cutting tool materials

Diamond is the hardest material and the most expensive.

It has very high thermal conductivity, a high melting point, and offers excellent abrasion resistance, low friction coefficient, and low thermal expansion.

Diamond is ideal for machining very hard materials such as carbides, nitrides, and glass.

Moreover, diamond cutting tools give a good surface finish and dimensional accuracy.

However, they are not so recommended for machining steel.

Custom Cutting Tools for Your Machining Requirements

The performance, longevity, and accuracy of a cutting tool are directly dependent on the quality and its materials.

At ASIME, we supply a wide range of cutting tools to meet the requirements of a variety of different industries including automotive, aerospace, manufacturing, and more.

ASIME is the leading provider of high-quality CNC machining services.

We can assist you in creating custom cutting tools that meet your every specification.

Are you ready to make your own custom cutting tools? Contact us right away!

Suggested read: 5 Best CNC Cutting Tools For Precision Metal Cutting

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