I just acquired an Electro Arc Carbide Impregnator. It is used for depositing a very thin layer of tungsten carbide on edges and wear surfaces. Electro Arc has the consumables, but they get $8 for a 3/16 by 1-1/2 inch rod. Does anybody know if you can use carbide from an alternate, cheaper supplier?
I've no direct experience of this but an ancient reference that I have show that this originated in Russia during the second world war when they were experimenting with spark erosion. They called it electrospark toughening and used a low voltage capacitor discharge system with a vibrating electrode.
They tried both normal tooling grades of tungsten and titanium carbide and also pure graphite. The carbides gave the best wear resistance but graphite came close and gave a better surface finish.
From this I would expect that carbide tooltips would work fine. Another possibility is the tungsten carbide cored arc welding rods normally used used for carbide hard facing.
Thanks for the info, the unit does indeed use a vibrating electrode and a capacitive discharge system. The few sticks I got with it look like some kind of graphite. Electro Arc is still manufacturing the unit and selling it for $3,750. I didn't pay quite that much.