Stellite Alloy 3 is a family of completely non-magnetic and corrosion-resistant cobalt alloys of various compositions that have been optimised for different uses. The alloy currently most suited for cutting tools, for example, is Stellite 100, because this alloy is quite hard, maintains a good cutting edge even at high temperature, and resists hardening and annealing. Other alloys are formulated to maximize combinations of wear resistance, corrosion resistance, or ability to withstand extreme temperatures.
Typically, a Stellite part is precisely cast so that only minimal machining is necessary. Stellite is more often machined by grinding, rather than by cutting. The alloys also tend to have extremely high melting points due to the cobalt and chromium content.
Typical applications include saw teeth, hardfacing, and acid-resistant machine parts.
Stellite has also been used in the manufacture of turning tools for lathes. With the introduction and improvements in tipped tools it is not used as often, but it was found to have superior cutting properties compared to the early carbon steel tools and even some high speed steel tools, especially against difficult materials such as stainless steel. Care was needed in grinding the blanks and these were marked at one end to show the correct orientation, without which the cutting edge could chip prematurely.
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