If you’re doing much CNC work at all, you’ll have lots of broken and used carbide hanging around and you’re probably wondering if Carbide Recycling is worth it.
Here’s the short story:
- Your carbide is ideal for recycling. Plenty of folks out there want to help.
- You can get $5 to $10 per pound for scrap carbide.
- You will need to separate the carbide from other metals.
Some Things to Know
Carbide is really Tungsten Carbide, but you probably already knew that. But did you also know that only about 10% of the world’s tungsten is found here? That means the US is importing tons of it, and that also means prices are subject to fluctuation and manipulation.
Interestingly, Sandvik Coromant claims most of the carbide it uses to make their solid carbide tools is recycled carbide. Evidently a large number of CNC’ers are recycling and the results are high quality solid carbide tooling that Sandvik are willing to put their name on.
The folks at Kennametal estimate it takes 10 CNC Machines about 2 weeks to fill a one-gallon bucket with tungsten carbide for recycling.
Now, when you recycle carbide, it takes 70% less energy than making carbide from raw materials. That’s a big savings right there you can feel good about, and it means 40% less carbon dioxide is emitted when a new carbide tool is manufactured from recycled carbide.
As far as separating out the Tungsten Carbide, just make it a point to toss used inserts, carbide endmills, and other carbide toolling into designated scrap buckets that are never used for anything else. That makes it easy.
Roll the Video!
Here’s a quick video for more info on carbide recycling:
Who Are the Recyclers?
They’re not hard to find. Here’s a Google query that lists a bunch:
[ Google for Carbide Recycling ]
Each has a slightly different approach, so decide which works best for your recycling needs.
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Bob is responsible for the development and implementation of the popular G-Wizard CNC Software. Bob is also the founder of CNCCookbook, the largest CNC-related blog on the Internet.
Hi I have a small business that I run from my home. Ive built a system from which I reuse “O” flute end mills for the CNC routers that cut plastics. I inspect them on my microscope to determine the length of usable blade left. I mark the worthy ones to be cut down to the mark, then grind the tip back onto it.
It sounds like alot work but Ive refined it to a point that I now am semi retired and I am proud to say evey bit of carbide I deal with gets reused or recycled.
My end mills were tested 7yrs ago and I averaged 70% against a new one, I’m certain that its inproved since.
I have loads of respect for you Bob as I have just recently discovered your site and very much enjoy your shared knowledge!
Brant Phillips living the dream in Muskoka Ont Can.
PS Belin “O”fute end mills I found to be best on the market. 30yrs experience in the plastic industry.