Tungsten Carbide Burrs

Which Tungsten Carbide Burr Shape & Cut Type Do I Need?

Step 1: Choose the shape of our Tungsten Carbide Burrs (also known as rotary files or die grinder bits) that will do the job.

Step 2: Select the correct cutting edge for excellent carbide burr performance. To keep it simple we only supply the premium performance carbide burr forms.

  • Fluted Cut Carbide Burrs - for non-ferrous metals and plastics. These are identified as Code 3 ( /3) at the end of our part number (SKU)
  • Diamond Cut Carbide Burrs - for hard metals such as stainless steel and titanium. Diamond cut tungsten carbide burrs are identified as Code 6 ( /6) at the end of our part (SKU) number.

Abrasive Finishing Systems Carbide Burr Catalogue:

What's inside? A guide on how to choose the best cutting shape for you. Recommendations for use. Cutting speed tables.  And our full range of 80+ burrs organised by shape and size. Available here.

What are Tungsten Carbide Burrs?

Dependent on the size of the burr, premium quality carbide burrs are either fully machined from a solid piece of tungsten carbide or the cutting head of the burr is made from a 'blank' of tungsten carbide which is soldered onto a tool hardened steel shaft to create the burr head.

The machine profile of the carbide burr is important for it's application.  There are many older styles of cut profile but at AFS we took the decision to focus on the best options for all applications.  We therefore have two cut profiles available as standard.

Diamond Cut Burrs = This is a finer tooth head which has a knurled appearance on the surface which creates a large number of smaller cutting faces.  Ideal for harder metals including steels, stainless steel and aerospace metals.  The finer burr cut profile also improves the quality of finish from the burr.

Fluted Cut Burrs = Softer metals and soft plastics tend to heat up quickly when grinding into the material surface.  For this reason we supply the fluted cut profile on all our carbide burrs designed for aluminium.  Fluted cut carbide burrs have long curved cutting profile which allows for efficient removal of the grinding swarf and also allows for more air to get near the cutting surface in order to keep the workpiece cool.

What Type of Tungsten Carbide Burr Should I Buy?

This is the most common question we get asked.  

If it is a hard surface (including hard plastics) - Choose a Diamond Cut burr.  The fine tooth structure will ensure a rapid cut and a finer finish.

For a softer surface  - Choose the Fluted Cut burrs.  The open fluted structure allows the swarf to be removed quickly without clogging up the surface and generating more heat.

The Shape of burr is entirely down to your application:

  • Cleaning out the inside of a bowl?  Use a ball shaped burr.
  • Chamfering edges?  Then a straight sided are angled burr may be the right choice.

Still not sure?

  • Why not buy one of our carbide burr kits which should cover most of your application needs.
How Can I tell if a Carbide Burr is Good Quality?

Looking at a carbide burr in a box it is very difficult to tell one burr from another.  Here are three tips which might help you to separate the sheep from the goats (so to speak)...

  1. Although there are exceptions to the rule look for a premium cutting profile such as the diamond cut or fluted cut profile of the burr head.  In normal use single cut burrs add no real benefit to the end user but they are cheaper to make and will not last as long as a diamond cut burr on steel.
  2. Have you considered inspecting a burr under a microscope?  That might seem a little odd but it is at the microscopic level that quality really begins to show.  Look for a good clean profile on the burr head with no micro-particles or chips being visible in the cut profile.  Lots of swarf or chips in the surface of a new burr might indicate that the head was machined out using poor quality or worn cutting tools.
  3. Does the head fall off?  Really?  Sadly we hear all to often that some burrs supplied in the market place have a habit of losing their heads!!  It can happen, but it shouldn't.  We are so confident in the stability of our burrs that we offer a no quibble money back guarantee against all our burrs.  

Helpful Guides

A range of long reach carbide burrs. Ideal for sculptural work
When should I use a carbide burr? Which burr shape is best?
How to choose the right speed for tungsten carbide burrs

Tungsten Carbide Burrs FAQs