3 Things To Keep In Mind During The Tungsten Fabrication Process

Posted on: 12 February 2021

Tungsten is a valuable metal used in objects that need to be very tough, such as counterweights, drill bits, golf clubs, and radiation shields. Since tungsten is so dense and abrasive, machinists can run into a few challenges during the fabrication process. The job can be quite complex because the extreme hardness of tungsten often makes it difficult to cut and shape it into useful parts. If your shop manufactures items with tungsten alloys, it's important to keep these 3 things in mind while working with this special material.

1) Be sure to use the right tools.

Tungsten is a tricky metal to machine. Without the correct tools that can adequately handle the metal's strength, tungsten can easily break. When sawing, for example, bi-metal blades should be used to give the blade some flexibility and prevent breakage. If you are drilling, you'll prolong the lifespan of your tools if you use carbide-tipped drills. Use high-speed wheels for cutting, and check that the clearances are small. Always confirm that the cutting edges of your tools are sharp and in good shape. If your tools start to become dull, it's essential to regrind them to maintain their sharpness. You should also ensure that your tools and machines account for sufficient chip control.

2) Utilize the proper machining techniques.

To get the best results and help the job proceed smoothly, you'll need to employ the appropriate machining techniques. Tungsten alloys can be fabricated through various methods, including cutting, sawing, drilling, grinding, and joining. Choose the approach that will produce the result you need with the least amount of stress. For instance, joining is best if you want to connect tungsten to other metals like iron or nickel. Grinding, on the other hand, is ideal when you are shaping the final form of the part. Additionally, tungsten must be cut or shaped at substantially high temperatures. Otherwise, the materials and parts could break or crack at any point during the machining process. Have some chlorinated oil on hand to act as a coolant as well.

3) The size of the grain is important.

The grain size of the tungsten is a crucial factor to remember too. In general, larger grain sizes lead to greater difficulty during machining, but bigger grains also improve the strength of the resulting material. For this reason, you must consider the size of the grain as you move forward. All sizes have their own advantages and drawbacks. Smaller grains are much simpler to manipulate and machine. However, fine grains do not withstand high impact forces as effortlessly as other grains do. Larger grains create a more resistant material, but they are tough to cut and form, even with very powerful tools. Take the time to weigh out the grain size options before you start your project.

Tungsten is a unique and durable metal that has significant purposes in applications and industries all over the world. As you continue working with it in your shop, be sure to utilize the tips described above to make your machining processes easier every day.

To learn more, contact a resource like Special Metals Machining, Inc.