We often refer to speeds and feeds in reference to tool bit life, and ease of cutting pipe. One of the most important things related to tool bit life is the cutting speed. Cutting speeds are measured as surface inches per minute (sipm) and vary greatly depending on the material being cut. The high speed tool steel of a tool bit can cut most carbon steels at 300 sipm, stainless steel speeds are best around 200 sipm, while Inconel®, Hastelloy® and titanium should be cut around 100 to 120 sipm.
One of the easiest ways to tell if you are going too fast is to watch the chip. If it starts to change color, you are probably going too fast. You should also observe chip thickness. This is where feeds come into the formula. You need to keep a nice even curl. If you are getting a tight curl, you are feeding too heavy. If your chip is loose and wispy, you are not feeding heavy enough. The next consideration is coolant. While there are several that will work, you will be happiest with a water- soluble coolant for easy clean up.
Eventually, with practice, you can tell by the sound of the machine, what you need to do to get the most out of your Tri Tool bits.