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Precorp Engineers Cutting Tools Specifically for Carbon Fiber Reinforced Plastic Composites

Precorp Offers Diverse Carbide, Coated Carbide and PCD Solutions

The most widely used advanced composite is now carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). Due to the wide array of applications for this composite, no two CFRP materials are exactly alike. Each composite can take on different characteristics by changing the matrix formulation, fiber type, content, orientation, build-up, and the method of forming.

Case Study

Series 85

The Precorp Series 85 was designed specifically for new-age CFRPs. It is a sharp, PCD-veined tool that maintains a keen edge even in the most abrasive CFRPs. It is built with a durable 4 facet point, conventional split gash, and has a 24⁰ helix. Customers report success drilling at over 10,000 RPMs.

  1. Upsharp Cutting Edge
  2. Highly Polished Flutes
  3. Coolant through
  4. Precorp “Chip Blocker”
  5. Can be sharpened multiple times

Additional Info

Common Applications (click to expand)
Understanding the construction of CFRP is crucial to the machining process. High strength carbon fibers are woven into thin sheets and combined with resins to form “prepregs”. The composite skin section of an aircraft is normally produced by placing multiple layers of this prepreg in molds and then using pressure and heat to cure the CFRP into a complex wing surface.
Carbon fibers can also be chopped and blended with resins to form structural parts and then processed by compression molding or resin-transfer molding.
Drilling CFRP (click to expand)
The reinforcing fiber most widely used in aircraft structures is a carbon fiber produced by thermal decomposition of polyacrylonitrile (PAN). This process yields fibers that are highly abrasive yet very strong. Unlike the easily machined aluminum it most often replaces, the low melting point of the resin systems in CFRP restricts temperatures of any machining operation to no more than a few hundred degrees Fahrenheit. Keeping the cutting edge cool is made difficult by the low thermal conductivity of the resin matrix. Unlike aluminum chips, the cutting swath of advanced composites carry away very little of the heat generated by the machining process.
Heat build-up in the cutting zone is very likely and must be avoided to prevent the resin from oxidizing and being degraded. This changes how a tool wears and performs and must be considered during tool design. Slight dulling of tool cutting edges can cause separation and fiber pullout. Even modest cutting forces can separate layers causing delamination or leave residual stresses. The difficulty of producing quality holes in CFRP makes this an ideal application of Precorp’s PCD tools.

Failure mode caused by excess heat and tool wear

Failure mode caused by excess heat and tool wear


Failure mode caused by excess heat and tool wear