How to Grind Tungsten Carbide

Tungsten carbide is a very hard material made from tungsten and carbon. It is commonly used for the tips of tools, especially cutting tools. While this material is very hard, it does become worn over time and may require grinding or sharpening. Carbide tools and tips can be ground with a diamond grinding wheel, but grinding a tool evenly requires skill and practice.

Things You'll Need

  • Bench grinder

  • Diamond wheel, 320 grit

Step 1

Attach the diamond wheel to your bench grinder. Refer to your manual to ensure that the wheel is properly attached and the grinder itself is appropriately mounted.

Step 2

Hold your tungsten carbide tool against the rest beneath the wheel. Touch the tip to the wheel, but do not turn on the grinder yet. Adjust the rest as needed so that you achieve the necessary grinding angle for your particular tool. Many rests will allow you to adjust both the height and the angle of the rest.

Step 3

Remove the tool from the rest, then turn on the grinder. Touch the tip of the tool to the moving wheel, just as you did before when determining the angle, and use the rest to guide the angle of the grinding. Carbide may emit short red sparks during grinding. These are normal. The carbide tool may also become very hot. Work in short intervals and do not burn yourself, overheat the tool or touch the tool immediately after grinding. Continue grinding until the tool is sharpened.

Tip

If you have a grinder with a jig rest that allows you to angle the tool prior to grinding and holds it while the machine is operating, this is the best option because there will be no human error during the grinding process.

Warning

Wear eye protection and a mask. Tungsten carbide is hard, but somewhat brittle and it is possible for small piece to fly off.

Tungsten carbide is made largely from carbon and tungsten, but it may contain other materials that are hazardous when inhaled. Wash off any dust after grinding carbide tools.

Some carbide tools are very small. You may require another tool to hold the carbide tool to the grinding wheel so that your fingers are not in danger.

References & Resources