Tool wear is an important limiting factor in machining hardened steel. Plane milling of H13 hot work tool steel (42–46 HRC) was conducted on a three-axis machine to obtain flank wear data with the objective of finding operating parameters providing extended tool life. Microgram carbide and PCBN tipped carbide round inserts in an off-center ball nose end mill with a single cutting edge were considered. Tool life was longer for the micrograin carbide inserts when cutting speeds were near 150 m/min. The PCBN grades performed best at the highest speed tested. A limited radial and axial depth of cut with a larger maximum chip thickness provided the best tool life over the parameters tested.

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