What Are Carbide Burrs?
Carbide burrs are rotary tools made with carbide, a material known for its hardness and durability. These tools are attached to a rotary tool or die grinder to remove material, smooth rough edges, shape, and carve. The burrs can be used on a variety of materials, including steel, aluminum, cast iron, copper, bronze, and more.
Why Carbide Burrs
Tungsten Carbide Burrs are used for cutting, grinding, deburring, removal of sharp edges, and shaping the workpiece. Carbide burrs are used on a variety of materials including aluminum, metals, steel, cast iron, fiberglass, wood, acrylics, and plastics. Carbide burrs are ideal on soft metals such as silver, gold and platinum because they resist chipping or breaking and have a long tool life. Allow the tool do the work when using burrs, apply minimum pressure. Applying too much pressure can result in shortening the life of your burr, in addition to potential chipping/eroding of the flutes.
Carbide burrs are widely used for metalworking, chamfering, casting, deburring, and grinding. They’re also used in a variety of industries including welding, tool making, engineering, woodworking, jewelry making, aerospace, automotive, dental, metal sculpting, and many more! Carbide burrs are typically used in die grinders, rotary tools, high speed engravers, dremels, pendant drills, and flexible shaft grinders.
Key Features to Consider
Types of Carbide Burrs
Carbide burrs come in different shapes, each designed for a specific job:
- Cylinder Burrs: These are perfect for removing flat surfaces and contour finishing.
- Ball Burrs: Ideal for machining round edges and prepping for a weld.
- Tree Burrs: These are great for rounding edges and making concave cuts.
- Flame Burrs: Used for contouring and shaping in hard-to-reach places.
- Cone Burrs: These are great for smoothing and shaping hard-to-reach angles.
- High-Speed Steel vs. Carbide Burrs: High-speed steel (HSS) burrs are cheaper but wear out faster than carbide burrs. Carbide burrs, while more expensive, last longer and can handle harder materials.
- Coated vs. Uncoated Burrs: Coated burrs have a layer of titanium nitride or other materials to increase their lifespan and improve their performance. Uncoated burrs are cheaper but may not last as long.
The size of the carbide burr you need will depend on the work you're doing. For more detailed work, you'll need smaller burrs, while larger burrs are used for removing larger amounts of material.
The shank is the part of the burr that's inserted into the rotary tool. Common shank sizes are 1/8", 1/4", and 1/2". Your burr's shank size should match the collet or chuck of your rotary tool.
Carbide burrs come in either single cut or double cut form:
- Single Cut Burrs: These are suitable for lower material removal rates. They provide a smooth finish and are used for non-ferrous metals, plastics, and hardwoods.
- Double Cut Burrs: These offer higher material removal rates. They create a rougher finish and are used for ferrous metals, stainless steel, and alloys.
Always ensure you use the right speed for the burr and material you're working with. Excessive speeds can cause the burr to break. Also, always wear safety equipment, including protective glasses, gloves, and a dust mask.
There are many manufacturers of carbide burrs, and the quality can vary. Some reliable brands include Dremel, Bosch, and Makita. Always check reviews before purchasing.
While it might be tempting to go for the cheapest option, remember that you often get what you pay for. Investing in a high-quality carbide burr can save you money in the long run as it will likely last longer and perform better.
What material can Carbide Burrs be used on?
Carbide burrs can be used on many materials. Metals including steel, aluminum and cast iron, all types of wood, acrylics, fibreglass and plastics. When used on soft metals such as gold, platinum and silver, carbide burrs are ideal as they will last a long time with no chipping or breaking.
- Steel, Carbon Steel & Stainless Steel
- Cast Iron
- Gold, Platinum & Silver
- Plastic, Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic (CRP), Glass Fibre Reinforced Plastic (GRP)
- Brass, Copper & Bronze
Different cuts of carbide burrs will be best suited to certain materials, see the next point below to find out about the different cuts.
Tungsten carbide vs HSS
Generally a metal burr is made from either Tungsten Carbide or High Strength Steel (HSS). Tungsten carbide burrs are preferred when working with metal. Due to their extreme hardness they can be used on much more demanding jobs and won't wear out, unlike HSS. What's more, HSS has less tolerance for heat and will start to soften under high temperatures. Tungsten carbide burrs set will last longer and perform better under higher temperatures.
Why we recommend Tungsten carbide burrs?
- High stock removal
- Great for deburring, shaping, smoothing welds, enlarging holes, carving and finishing
- Last longer
- Perform at high temperatures
- Ideal for all metals
Where tungsten carbide burrs can be used on any metal, there are different cuts available to suit different metals, see below.
Types of cut
Metal burrs come in either a single/aluminium (Alumin Range Burrs) cut, or a double/diamond cut. Large single/aluminium cut carbide metal burrs have a single right cut spiral flute and are used with cast iron, steel, copper, brass, and other ferrous materials such as aluminium. Single cut burrs will provide faster stock removal with no clogging (clogging is common with aluminium), however they will not provide as smooth finish as double cut carbide burrs. Double/diamond cut have both a right and left hand cut providing a faster and finer finish. These are commonly used on steel, stainless steel and other hard metals.
Used on ferrous and non ferrous metals, aluminium, soft steel and also for all non-metal materials such as stone, plastics, hard wood and ceramic. Double cut have more cutting edges and will remove material much faster. Double cut will leave a smoother finish than single cut due to producing smaller chips as they cut away the material. Use for medium-light stock removal, deburring, finishing and cleaning.
Designed for medium- light removal of material, deburring, fine finishing, cleaning, smooth finish, and creating small chips.
Usually used with stainless steel, hardened steel, copper, cast iron, and ferrous metals and will remove material quickly with a smooth finish. Use for heavy stock removal, milling, deburring and cleaning.
Designed for heavy removal of material, milling, deburring, cleaning, and creating long chips.
Non-ferrous are exactly what you would expect them to be. Use our cutting tools on non-ferrous materials such as aluminum, copper and magnesium.
- Always ensure your burr shank is well inserted into your collet and clamped down tightly
- Keep pressure light and keep the bur moving, focusing on the highest material first
- Ensure your work is secured tightly to your work bench
- Don't snag or jam your burr into your work
- Wear eye protection as a minimum, but better still use a full shield for your face