2 Signs It's Time To Replace Your Machine Shop's Polishing Carbide Inserts

If you work in your factory's machine shop, you may use metal polishing equipment that utilizes carbide inserts for the tips. However, if you have been using the same inserts for a while, you may wonder if it may be time to replace them. If so, look for the following signs that it is time to change out the carbide inserts for new ones.

One Side Is Jagged

One sign that your carbide inserts are ready for replacement is when one side becomes jagged. Especially if you work with steel or other hard metals, constant usage will start to dig into the carbide, creating small gouges in the material.

Before using the tip, look closely at the insert to see if you find one side that looks as though it has a saw-toothed edge. Even if you do not see the jagged edge, you will most likely notice that the tips is digging into the metal you are trying to polish. Instead of a smooth, even finish, you will have areas that are scratched where the insert has gouged out small bits of metal. 

While you may be tempted to take a file and try to smooth the jagged edge, doing so will create an imbalance in the tip that may damage the metal even more. Instead of smoothing out the edge, replace it with a new one to keep this from happening.

Insert Becomes Dull

On the flip side of having a jagged edge, another sign that your carbide inserts should be replaced is when they become too dull to polish even the softest of metals. Normally, an insert has a roughened edge that works the same way as sandpaper to smooth and polish metal.

However, after many uses, this roughened edge starts to wear down. Especially if you are working with steel or iron, this edge can wear down fairly quickly. Eventually, the carbide insert becomes too smooth to efficiently clean or polish any metal.

Before using the tip, run your finger along the insert. If you feel some roughened areas mixed in with smooth ones, or you only feel a smooth surface, it is time to replace it.

If you notice any of the above signs either before or during your metal polishing tasks, your inserts should be replaced. Contact your industrial supplier, like Olson Carbide, to find out your options and how to order custom carbide inserts that will fit your machine polishing equipment.