Additive manufacturing of cutting tools from tungsten carbide-cobalt.

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Laser Powder Bed Fusion (LPBF) is an additive manufacturing process (AM) for the production of complex shaped metallic components. The machining of metallic and non-metallic materials is largely based on high-performance tools made of tungsten carbide-cobalt-carbide (WC-Co). Up to now, only a few basic investigations have been carried out on the production of WC-Co tools using LPBF. However, the LPBF process offers attractive advantages in terms of near-net-shape production and geometrical freedom. In particular, the possible realization of internal, contour-adapted cooling channels allows higher cutting speeds and thus a significant increase in the productivity of the machining process.


  • Development of an LPBF process for the production of crack-free and dense (≥ 99 %) WC-Co components with a cobalt content between 8 and 12 wt% and a carbide grain size of 0.8 - 1.3 μm (Class: Fine).
  • Determination of the influence of the individual LPBF process parameters on the material structure and the resulting strength parameters to identify the best possible process control.
  • Investigation of the performance with regard to the cutting durability and the fracture behaviour of additive manufactured WC-Co carbide tools and investigation of the wear mechanisms of additive produced tools in comparison to conventional tools.

Project content

  • Process development LPBF for WC-Co
  • Characterization of the microstructure and mechanical properties
  • Post-treatment of the tools
  • Cutting tests



Grant Number 20805 N