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Shars Carbide Tipped Tools Bits - Comments & Reviews

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DavidMTL

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#1
Hi Everyone,

I'm looking for some comments and reviews on the Shars carbide tipped lathe tools. I searched the forum but didn't find much that's recent.

The maker space where I volunteer is getting ready to start a fresh session of training classes so this would principally be aimed at people who've never used a metal lathe before or who only have very limited experience. We'd like to offer a small starter pack of tools which are affordable but also fairly functional. Basic turning with cold rolled, aluminum, brass, but probably not stainless. The idea is functional but also affordable. We want to keep the barrier to entry low but still get the job done.

I mostly use similar style tools from KBC but they run two to three times more expensive. If the Shars stuff is pretty much the same why pay more.

And while we're at it, I might as well ask about their HSS endmill sets.

Thanks for the help.

David
 

BaronJ

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#2
Hi David,

I would start by giving each student a piece of say 3/8" square M42 HSS tool steel and teaching them how to properly grind a lathe tool ! Forget carbide tipped tools. They will create unnecessary problems for the students without them understanding why.
 

bhigdog

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#3
My question is why, for entry level lathe instruction, carbide would even be part of the curriculum. You and they would be FAR better served by teaching why and how a lathe bit removes material and basic tool grinding using readily available and inexpensive HSS bits. Carbide is basically a special purpose or production tool it's not "lathe 101".....................Bob
 

mikey

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#5
I would also question the value of inserted tools in the hands of a neophyte. I agree with the HSS tool thing but learning to grind may not be in the cards. A very good and reasonable alternative is brazed carbide tooling. If I wanted cheap, that is the way I would go. Buy a few credit card diamond hones and sharpen them and have at it. Brazed tools are far tougher, will cut almost anything your students are likely to see.
 

BaronJ

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#6
Hi Mikey,

I beg to disagree, in your own words "I would also question the value of inserted tools in the hands of a neophyte". I don't see that carbide would be "A very good and reasonable alternative" to teaching a neophyte how to grind a lathe tool properly.

The only reason that I can see based on the original post is having something that can be sold to someone that is effectively ignorant of the purpose and correct use of carbide tooling is profit !

In addition those neophytes will go away thinking that carbide is the best thing since sliced bread, which as you and I know that it isn't. Because they have been sold a kit of tools and told this is what you use. Then when they start having issues, and both you and I and others have seen the questions that arise on this forum about carbide tooling use.
 

DavidMTL

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#7
Hi everyone,

I might not have phrased this right.

Brazed carbide tip tooling - the cheap $ 2 ( or the 38 piece set for $ 40 ) stuff not insert tooling.

Grinding your own tools is nice ( we'll be including some literature and video links in the course package) we'd like people to be able to do some basic work as part of the course and having a basic starter kit would be handy.
 

Mitch Alsup

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#8
Brazed carbide tip tooling - the cheap $ 2 ( or the 38 piece set for $ 40 ) stuff not insert tooling.
The brazed on stuff has sharp noses (corners) that the competent operator will shape with a diamond file so that it has a nice radius, the a trip to the honing stones to polish up the rounded nose. If you want more of this, I have 36 left, the only 2 I am currently using are the ones with the 90º nose and the only thing I use them for is beveling the edge.

Insert tooling allows one to choose the insert with the proper (or desired) nose radius.
Insert tooling is probably not a good investment for machines with less than 2 HP.
 

BaronJ

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#9
Hi David,

I think you are missing the point ! The brazed carbide lathe tools are rubbish. If the students don't have the knowledge and the skill, never mind the equipment, to be able to regrind them correctly, they are never going to be able to produce satisfying work.

All that will happen is that they will spend time trying to understand why what they are trying to achieve is not happening. Having purchased, from you, the tools that you said are for the lathe and are now having problems with ! How are you going to look in their eyes when you said that this was what is they needed.
 

bhigdog

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#10
I'm trying to get my head around why one would attempt to teach lathe basics by using specialty tooling that requires special equipment to form or sharpen correctly, breaks easily, requires higher than usual SFPM speeds, is expensive, not versatile, requires different grades for different materials, etc etc. when one could take a single HSS blank tool bit and teach his students how that one bit can be used to do pretty much anything the machine is capable of both inexpensively and efficiently with a nice helping of cutter theory and practice thrown in as a bonus..............Bob
 
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mikey

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#11
The brazed carbide lathe tools are rubbish.
Pretty strong position to take, Baron, and I suspect you might get some push back on this one. There are guys who love these brazed lathe tools and they have been used quite effectively on lathes as small as little Sherlines to large industrial lathes. They are cheap to buy, easy to condition and hone and will get you cutting very quickly, which is what I suspect David is trying to do. Moreover, they will cut effectively at speeds slower than inserted carbide provided the edges are sharp and they finish quite well if you put a small nose radius on them, too.

Brazed tools are not ideal, not by a long shot, but if I were in David's shoes I would be doing exactly what he is doing.
 

ttabbal

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#12
If time is the issue and you have a nice grinder available, just grinding up a bunch of HSS square tools is pretty fast. Maybe make the students hone them.. And maybe you can include "The Book of Mikey" with the bits and diamond hones.

Could also have them hone the brazed carbide I suppose.
 

mikey

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#13

bill70j

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#15
David, I had a quick look at the Shar's set and I don't think I would go for that one. There are a few types of tools that you will actually use and this one is cheap and has multiple copies of the ones you will use most often: https://allindustrial.com/all-indus...ipped-lathe-tool-bit-set-brazed-single-point/

A few sets will supply multiple guys for not much money.
I have that set, and it is quite adequate. But like most imports you will probably have to grind back the (mild) steel shank supporting the carbide in order to provide relief for the carbide. You will also have to take a green wheel to the carbide to get the angles, then hone with a diamond wheel.

Like most folks, I use HSS, carbide inserts, and brazed carbide bits. They all work, in my opinion.

However, what I would definitely stay away from are the carbide tipped boring bars that SHARS sells. Those are not good.
 

Doubleeboy

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#17
Pretty strong position to take, Baron, and I suspect you might get some push back on this one. There are guys who love these brazed lathe tools and they have been used quite effectively on lathes as small as little Sherlines to large industrial lathes. They are cheap to buy, easy to condition and hone and will get you cutting very quickly, which is what I suspect David is trying to do. Moreover, they will cut effectively at speeds slower than inserted carbide provided the edges are sharp and they finish quite well if you put a small nose radius on them, too.

Brazed tools are not ideal, not by a long shot, but if I were in David's shoes I would be doing exactly what he is doing.

Here is the pushback ....... Micro 100 brazed carbide tools are ready to use out of the box, are not very expensive when compared to quality M42 bits and are tough enough carbide to handle modest mistakes and interrupted cuts. The cheap o brazed carbide tools that come from Asia can be used if one is careful and makes no mistakes. The mistake I see newbies make most often with carbide is to periodically dribble oil or coolant on the tool when in use thinking this is helpful. It most certainly is not and the temperature shock of cooling a hot bit will often fracture the bit very quickly. my rule for carbide is if you can not flood, or continuously mist it, or run continuous air then run dry and take lighter cuts with quicker feed to keep temps down.

I use Micro 100 bits on all 3 of my lathes, a flimsy little China machine that gets rare use, my Taiwanese 1640 and a 10EE , no problem running it on any of em. I will go so far as to say if you have not run Micro 100 bits you don't know what brazed carbide is capable of, its that dramatic. For sharpening I use a diamond hone, if it is really buggered I use a green wheel and then hone, no spendy tooling required.
 

mikey

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#19
+1 for Micro 100 bits - tough as hell, stay sharp for a very long time and will cut almost anything. Not nearly as fragile as typical brazed bits, either. All my current brazed bits are from Micro 100, too.
 

mikey

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#20
Yup, we got "The Book of Mikey"! Now you're going to have to do something else amazing!
Yeah, I'm not likely to repeat that one. I wish Chris Poulsen stuck around - he was a brazed carbide guy that would have put this whole thing to rest.
 
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DavidMTL

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#21
Hi everyone,

thanks for the input.

After reading a few comments I might actually get everyone to grind at least one tool. Handy skill to have and it should give them something to do for 20 minutes while I do 1 on 1 with someone on the lathe.

I agree brazed might not be the best or even perfect option but it is efficient from a time perspective. Thanks for the tip on the Micro 100's DB. They're kind of pricey up here but I'll keep my eyes open if they pop up on Black Friday. Thanks for the link Mikey. One of our members orders alot of stuff of Ali, I'll get him to check that out.
 

8mpg

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#22
This is some great learning for me. Im have a lathe that Im fixing but have never used one before and all I have is carbide tooling that I have purchased. My dad has some old HSS pieces from back in the day of gunsmithing. I guess I'll need to get those from him and learn about HSS
 

BaronJ

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#23
Hi Guys,

Ok ! I do have strong views on this ! Most of you guys are looking at it from the experienced point of view ! We are talking here about newbies, people that have signed up to learn about how to use a lathe and what is required in order to do so.

Giving, selling, or what ever, a set of carbide tools is not going to teach them why the work that they are producing is not what they are expecting !

Yes carbide and insert tooling has a place to fill and does it very well. But ask yourself the question from a newbie point of view, "I've three choices, what do I do with them, why do I need to use carbide."

Just look at and read the threads on these forums. Look at the questions from the people that come here looking for help and advice ! Its the experienced hands that are providing the information that is teaching them. I agree that it is their choice whether they take that information, and listen to the voices of experience or not.
 
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Tozguy

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#24
We'd like to offer a small starter pack of tools which are affordable but also fairly functional.
We want to keep the barrier to entry low but still get the job done.
David, depending on the objective and scope of the course, I would expect that a small set of HSS tools already ground to basic profiles would be the most pleasant option. Learners are usually very hard on tools and HSS can be reground many times so it is cost effective. Touching up a tool is a basic chore that is unavoidable so needs to be learned early on.

Grinding tools from a blank is important to learn eventually but it should be a course of its own. It will have more meaning if the student has some turning experience. Starting an introductory course by having a student grind a few HSS blanks to shape might become a barrier and dampen interest before they have even made a chip.

Avoiding carbide tools at the freshman level is not anti-carbide. Carbide tools have their place but there is a learning curve involved which is best left to a more advanced level.
 
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projectnut

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#25
I would have to agree with those that suggest starting out with HSS tool blanks. Back n the dark ages when I got into the business the first instructor in the first course I ever took started by handing out tool blanks to be sharpened. He had about a dozen models of different profiles made from 2x4s. They were large enough that everyone could see the profile that was needed to make decent cuts.

Each student was required to grind the blank and use it on upcoming projects. The instructor would inspect each tool as the process progressed and point out what needed to be done to get the proper geometry. Along with having the pride in making the tool to do the job the students also learned what profile was necessary for different materials and operations. Over the length of the course the tooling was used on dozens of occasions. Should something happen that a students tool wasn't getting a good cut or a good finish they could now recognize that the tool had worn or been damaged and would be able to correct the profile.

Starting with premade tooling eliminates this part of the learning process. The student will be less likely to understand why the tool needs to have a certain profile and why it won't cut properly. In addition they will have no idea how to correct the situation.

Grinding the tools up front does take some time and patience. It does however pay off down the road. Once a student learns what will cut and what won't they will better understand what speeds and feeds will work without damaging the tooling or the part. Even if the tooling does get damaged the student will know how to restore it to working order. Once the grinding technique is perfected the student can make just about any profile desired.

Don't get me wrong I do use all kinds of tooling as the job requires. I do use HSS, Inserts, and Brazed Carbide. The vast majority of the time HSS is the preferred tooling for the reasons mentioned above. It works well on almost any material from tool steel to brass. It's inexpensive and easy to resharpen or reprofile once you learn how. Rather than needing a dozen different tools to make an individual part a single tool can be reprofiled. A brazed carbide tool has a working edge from about 1/4" to 1/2" long depending on the size of the shank. A HSS too can be resharpened and reprofiled until it's so short it can't reach the work piece when inserted in the tool holder.

To me the advantages of carbide are that it will cut at higher speeds reducing the time needed to make a part. It can also be purchased in just about any profile desired. These are big plusses when time is money. All the time previously spent running at lower speeds and making tooling can now be used to produce more parts and generate more income. To me it's more important for the hobbyist to learn "how to" than the "how fast".
 
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Tozguy

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#26
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projectnut

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#27
David, could you elaborate on the context of these courses? Are the prospective students heading for a career in machining or are they looking for a pleasant pastime or something else?
How many students for how many grinders?

In the meantime I submit this for your consideration

https://www.travers.com/8-piece-high-speed-steel-lathe-tool-sets/p/82833/
Looking at the above mentioned tool sets the 1/4" set of 8 retails for $77.99, the 5/16" set retails for $89.60 , and the 3/8" set retails for $130.91.

By comparison 8 of the 1/4" M35 blanks retail for $17.60 @ $2.20 ea., 8 of the 5/16 M35 blanks retail for $17.60 @ $2.20 ea., and 8 of the 3/8" tool blanks retail for $31.20 @ $3.90 ea.

https://www.victornet.com/category/Regular-Length-HS-Square-Tool-Bits/534.html

You could purchase over 34, 1/4" blanks for the price of a single preground tool set, over 30, 5/16" blanks for the price of a single preground tool set, and over 33, 3/8" blanks for a single set of preground tools.

Each student could practice grinding anywhere from 30 t0 34 blanks (depending on size) to create 8 working pieces of tooling for the price of an 8 piece preground set
 
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mikey

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#28
My limited understanding of maker spaces is that you pay a fee and go in there to use the machines. You must be proficient/safe on any machine you use. If you are not then you must take a course to learn, and then demonstrate, basic safety and proficiency skills before you're allowed to use the machine. The instructors are almost always volunteers. Fees are supposed to go toward paying the rent and utilities, not profit.

The instructor typically makes up the course curriculum and determines what adequate proficiency looks like. This is not only to protect the student but to make damned sure they don't wreck the machine, which is usually donated to the space. In the space I visited, the goal of the instructor I saw was not to turn you into a machinist; it was to make sure you knew enough about the machine to be safe enough to turn his back on and that you wouldn't crash the saddle into the chuck. What I saw was very fundamental but adequate to the purpose of the space. Much was left for the student to learn on their own, including grinding lathe tools. For the class, the instructor provided brazed carbide tools that were used on the lathe during instruction; he did not provide them to each student. Students typically are required to provide their own consumables.

I'm sure David will be along to illuminate us but from what little I know of maker spaces, vocational training is not the goal. Again, they are not trying to turn you into a machinist; they are trying to make sure you are safe enough to not kill yourself (liability) and to also be sure you don't damage the machines while you're in there.
 
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projectnut

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#29
What Mikey describes is an almost exact duplicate of an evening class that has been offered by our local technical college. In our case the instructor is a journeyman or higher machinist and is an employee of the school. At the beginning of each semester the class is held students take both a written and hands on test for each machine they would like to operate. If the instructor feels they are proficient the student is allowed to operate the machine with minimal supervision. If the student is new to machining the instructor will do hands on demonstrations then allow each student to attempt the same procedure with close supervision.

I took one of these evening classes several years ago when looking for a new surface grinder for my shop. There were so many machines on the market it was difficult to make a choice. One of the vendors suggested I take the course to try out the machines. The school had over a dozen different brands and models that on the shop floors. It made choosing a new machine easier in some ways and harder in others. Of course I gravitated to the fanciest most automated one in the shop. Unfortunately the pocket book couldn't afford all the bells and whistles. I ended up settling for a more basic machine. At least now I have something to look for in the future.

This particular course was intended to give prospective students a basic look at what was involved in the profession in their spare time without committing a pile of money to something they might not be interested in once they knew what the expectations were. The class is usually offered the second semester of each school year. I'm not sure if it will be offered next semester due to the huge increase in the number of students in the machining program. Since there is a waiting list to get into the program the school is expanding to late afternoon and evening classes for those enrolled in the curriculum. On one hand it would be a bit of a disappointment if it wasn't offered, while on the other hand I'm glad to see there is a renewed interest in the profession
 

NCjeeper

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#30
Hi David,

I would start by giving each student a piece of say 3/8" square M42 HSS tool steel and teaching them how to properly grind a lathe tool !
That's what my shop teacher did back in 1985. We used the bit we ground on the lathe and we also had to make our own set of parallels to use on the mill.
 
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