Cutter life

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Cutters are running at very high speeds cutting into tough materials, so their lifetime is naturally limited. However, a good cutter used correctly will still last longer, and you definitely don’t want to stress out your cutter so much that it breaks mid job!

The factors that can affect cutter life are:

  • Quality of cutter material

  • Any specialist coatings applied to the surface of the cutter

  • Heat produced during cutting

The most common cause of cutter wear is heat. The choice of feeds and speed will determine the amount of heat generated during a job. Click here to learn more about setting feed rates and spindle RPM for SmartBench.

Excessive spindle RPM and too slow a feed rate will lead to tool overheating, and (as a consequence) reduction of its life expectancy.


If adjusting your feeds and speeds has not resolved issues with overheating, you may need to consider a different cutter for your application.  Click here to learn more about cutter flutes, and click here to learn more about cutter types. 

Even without overheating, cutters will still naturally become blunt over time. This is why it’s important to check your cutters in between jobs. We’ll cover how to do this in the next article. 

How can I see if my cutter is overheating?

The discoloration of the cutter surface is the main visual sign.

A: Cutter in original good condition.

B: Cutter has been exposed to high temperatures and overheated.

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