Grinding Carbide Cutters

Carbide is carcinogenic as well as hard, so take appropriate precautions. February 14, 2006

I made a call today asking about wheel speed for my first time grinding carbide. I was amazed at the dangers and precautions. Anyone who is thinking about stepping up their grinding operation should be careful. Any thoughts?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
As carbide is highly carcinogenic, extra care must be taken to properly handle the grinding particulate in the grinder and the airborne grinding mist you'll be coming into contact with. Safety is key for grinding carbide.

Wear proper facial protection. Assure you have adequate ventilation in the grinding area to ensure that grinding contaminates are effectively drawn away at the grinding area. More frequent changes of grinder fluid may be needed to minimize cobalt concentrations. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

A couple of things that need to be considered:
1. Do not eat or drink in the tool room, especially around carbide.
2. Do not smoke in the tool room.
3. Always wash your hands before eating, drinking or smoking after handling carbide.
4. The coolant used can leach out the cobalt in the carbide, so use the correct coolant.
5. Coolant must be disposed of correctly and when grinding carbide, special concerns need to be addressed.

6. Clean the super-abrasive at a slower speed than you use for grinding.
7. Use plenty of coolant, making sure that the coolant is safe.
There are some other things to consider, but the above listed ones are sometimes overlooked.