Carbide Rotary Burrs are used for cutting, shaping, grinding and for the removal of sharp edges, burrs and excess material. For drilling holes or cutting a hole in metal then a carbide drillor a carbide end mill /slot drill or carbide router is required rather than a carbide burr.

1. Carbide burrs can be used on many materials

Tungsten Carbide burrs can be used on most hard materials: metals including steel, aluminum and cast iron, stone, ceramic, porcelain, hard wood, acrylics, fibreglass and reinforced plastics.

Different cuts of carbide burs will be best suited to certain materials, see the next point below to find out about the different cuts.

2. Carbide burrs commonly come in two cuts; single cut and double cut

Single cut (one flute) carbide burrs have a right handed (Up cut) spiral flute. These tend to be used with steel, copper, cast iron and ferrous metals and will remove material quickly with a smooth finish.

Double cut or Cross cut carbide burrs tend to be used on non ferrous metals, aluminium, soft steel, plastics and hard wood. Double cut or cross cut (2 flutes cut across each other) will leave a slightly smoother finish than single cut due to producing smaller chips as they cut away the material.

Shank sizes of your carbide burrs

The shank is the end of your bur that fits into your rotary tool. These are usually found in the following shank sizes:

  • 1.6mm (1/16")
  • 2.35mm (3/32")
  • 3mm (1/8")
  • 6mm (1/4")

3. Carbide Burrs and the different shapes to choose from

Making a decision on what shape to use will depend on the profile or cut you are looking to achieve.

These different shaped burs will get into many a nook and cranny and produce some interesting profiles.

Ball Burrs

Use a ball shaped burr to create concave cuts in your material or to shape and hollow out an area. Small carbide ball burrs from as tiny as 0.5mm are ideal for intricate carving projects. Many wood carvers, stone carvers and metal engravers use these.

Cone/Taper/Tree/Inverted Cone Burrs

Use for rounding off edges and making concave cuts. Use the pointed end for cutting in hard to reach areas. Use inverted cones for making v-cuts.

Cylinder Burrs. Round Nose/Ball nose/End Cut

Choose from an end cut cylinder (flat on the end) or a round nose/ball nose shape which is a cylinder but with a rounded head.

Oval Burrs

Flame Burrs

Oblate Spheroid

A wheel shaped burr with a smooth top and fluted sides. Great for channel work and shaping.

Countersink Burrs

Choose from 60 degree or 90 degree angle countersink burs.

4. The speed to use your Carbide Burr's at will depend on a few factors

The speed at which you use your carbide bur in your rotary tool will depend on the material you're using it on and the contour being produced but it's safe to say you do not need to exceed speeds of 35,000 rpm.

If the burs are chipping easily this could be due to the speed being too slow. However, it's ideal to start the bur off slow, increasing the speed as you go along. High speeds will prevent clogging in the flutes of your burs.

5. Do not apply too much pressure

As with all drill bits and burrs, let the bur do the work and apply only a little pressure otherwise the cutting edges of the flutes will chip away or become smooth too quickly, reducing the life of your burr.

6. Carbide burs are harder than HSS burrs

Our Carbide Burrs are machine ground from a specially chosen grade of carbide. Due to the extreme hardness of the Tungsten Carbide they can be used on much more demanding jobs than HSS (High Speed Steel).

Carbide Burs also perform better at higher temperatures than HSS so you can run them hotter and for longer.

HSS burrs will start to soften at higher temperatures so carbide is always a better choice for long term performance.

7. Keep the bur on the move

When using your burr try not to keep it still for too long this will prevent the bur from digging and jabbing into your material causing unsightly marks and roughness. End on an 'up' stroke for a smoother finish to your work.

Helpful note: Using a carbide burr on Soft Cast iron is a great way to de-clog them.


I hope you now feel better informed as to how you should use your carbide burrs, why you should use them and what you should use them on.

Stay Safe:

  • Always ensure your burr shank is well inserted into your collet and clamped down tightly
  • Keep pressure light and keep the bur moving focusing on the highest material first
  • Ensure your work is secured tightly to your work bench
  • Don't snag or jam your burr into your work
  • Wear eye protection as a minimum but better still use a full shield for your face