Best Tungsten Carbide Drag Knife

Disclaimer: All claims are strictly my personal opinion. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases.

There is no need for harping the fact that CNC projects require optimal precision, rather absolute precision. Therefore, every part of your CNC machine should be versatile and practical.

You can’t make cleaner cuts unless your CNC machine has an efficient cutting knife blade.

Let us suppose that your CNC project involves cutting thin materials such as vinyl or cardboard, etc.; then, the drag knife is just exactly what you need for cutting.

A drag knife can cut deeply through a material to create an intricate design or pattern.

Choosing the right and the best knife blade is difficult only when you don’t possess certain things. But once you know the nature and density of cutting material, things start sorting out.


Here are my recommended products picked out through amazon you would be interested in depending on your budget…

D3 Drag Knife
D3 Drag Knife
Knife Cutting attachment for CNC Routers; 1/4in shank; Maximum cutting depth: 1/16in (1.6mm)
Donek Tools D2 Drag Knife
Donek Tools D2 Drag Knife
Knife Cutting attachment for CNC Routers; 1/2in shank; Maximum cutting depth: 1/4 in. (6.3mm)

6 Best Tungsten Carbide Drag Knife Reviews

Here is my list of the Best Tungsten Carbide Drag Knife in 2021;

1. Dog River Drag Knife Cutter for CNC

  • Collect size: ¼”
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Maximum depth of cut: ¼”
  • Radius: 1/8″

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Anodized aluminum body.
  • 2 blade depth settings.
  • Compatible with any standard CNC router or spindle.
  • Worth the money.
Things to Consider!
  • Doesn’t cut vinyl.


this drag knife stands apart from its counterparts since it can cut materials to two different depths. Kill the two birds with one stone.

This drag knife is a good investment, too. You don’t have to buy a different version of drag knife to achieve different cutting levels as it allows you to set the cut to ¼” or 1/8″. With that said, It is relatively more versatile and flexible than other drag knives in the market.

What if a drag knife can’t make engravings. Worry not. This won’t disappoint you. Not only this allows you to engrave aluminum or brass trophies and name tags, but it also cuts sharp corners on paper, wood, vinyl, plastic, and cardboard planes. Productivity is at its fullest with this tool.

Now comes the main feature, its collet size. It comes with a universal collet size to adjust any standard CNC router that has a ¼ ” collet. Along with this, the knife has the same speed and precision that you would expect from a high-quality tool like this one.

The practicality of a tool is nothing if it never bears a professional and durable construction. Dog River has made this drag knife with industrial-grade aluminum to remain tough on wear. The cherry on the top, the anodized black finish prevent the tool from corrosion.

2. D4 Donek drag knife for CNC

  • Collect size: ¼”
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Maximum depth of cut: ¼”
  • Radius:1/8″

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Durable.
  • Cuts efficiently.
  • Cuts several materials.
  • Cost-effective as compared to CNC routing blades.
Things to Consider!
  • Pricier.


Whether you’re a hobbyist or an enthusiast, you can’t go wrong with a Donek drag knife. Look no further if you want to cut ski base or snowboard materials; this one is bad for your CNC projects.

The D4 drag knife slightly differs from the D2 version as it comes with a standard shank size of ¼ inches, whereas the latter has ½” shank size to fit only routers and spindles having the same collet size.

This tool comes with a cutting capacity of 1/ 16″ deep, making it easier to do intricate engravings. It would be fair to say that this tool is a great choice for the furniture industry since it can carve intricate designs with more precision and depth.

It cuts deeper and is also efficient for cutting on sharper corners on a diverse number of materials. Although it is relatively pricier, the superior efficiency completely pays off your money.

The knife is well built and bears an anti-corrosion tip to stand against the wear and heavy grade cutting projects.

3. Donek Tools D2 Tngstun Drag Knife

  • Collet size: ½ inches
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Maximum depth of cut: ¼ inches
  • Radius: 1/8 inches

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Affordable.
  • Rugged look.
  • Cuts several materials.
  • Solid design.
Things to Consider!
  • Inaccurate results.


Donek D2 is an ideal choice for those hobbyists and professionals who are working simultaneously on various projects.

It cuts soft materials and hardwood with the same precision that is the hallmark of a CNC router.

This one is exceptional because its shank size is ½ inches. A drag knife with ½ inch shank size reduces chatter and gives smoother and cleaner cuts. And this tool hits the nail right on the head.

This drag knife cuts at 6.3mm deep with a 3.1mm radius while cutting through thinner materials.

And when you are cutting the thicker material, this never goes beyond its limits and makes the same equal cuts it makes on thinner material.

Despite saving you from the hassle of buying multiple blades for your CNC router, it strikes a hobbyist with its reasonable price tag. So getting the job done without cutting your expenses is stress-relieving.

However, this knife remains somehow flat and never makes those absolute cleaner cuts that you would expect from it. But hold on, after some practice, you can make it through.

4. D3 Drag Knife Cutting attachment for CNC Routers

  • Collet size: ¼”
  • Weight: 1 Pound
  • Maximum depth of cut: 1/16″
  • Radius: 1/16″

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Aluminum and steel constructed.
  • Excellent choice for delicate carvings.
  • Straight and efficient cutting ability.
  • Rust-resistant coating.
Things to Consider!
  • Comparatively costly.


The D3 drag knife from the Donek excels several other drag knives on the market. It is versatile and allows a hobbyist to cut a variety of materials with a breeze.

This tool is exorbitant, but it delivers matches to none and makes it an ideal choice for learning basic CNC carving skills.

This tool works like any utility blade on your CNC router and saves you from buying multiple router blades.

Whether you want to carve brass or aluminum tags or you’re cutting through soft materials like cardboard, vinyl, or wood, this knife is for you. The best part? Despite cutting thinner and thicker materials, this one can even cut glass surfaces, too, that no other drag knife does. This means this version outperforms other models in this regard.

This tool is compatible with your CNC router with a cutting depth of 1/16 inches and ¼ inch shank and never requires a spindle to run.

What’s more, the tool is durable because of its stainless steel and aluminum body that resist the wear to last longer.

5. D1 Drag Knife for CNC Router

  • Collet size: ½ inch
  • Weight: 1 Pound
  • Maximum depth of cut: 1/16 inches
  • Radius: 1/16 inches

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • Compatible with CNC routers.
  • Cuts hard and soft materials with the same precision.
  • Sturdy and well-built.
Things to Consider!
  • Comes with a learning curve.


The D1 Is the first drag knife in the series of Donek tools and fits a CNC router with a shaft size of ½”.

The cutting depth of D1 is the same as the D3 model. So if your project involves a greater cutting depth than a ¼” cutting depth, this one for you, you can cut any operation that needs a 1/16″ deep cutting without fuss.

This tool is also helpful when cutting several materials. Cutting wood veneers or snowboards has become easier than before with this dynamic tool.

A wood maker can carve intricate designs and patterns by using this tool within his CNC router device. At the same time, a hobbyist can engrave artistic projects by using this knife. This drag knife is so powerful that it is capable of cutting carbon fiber laminates with flawless precision. This being, making automobile and other industrial machine parts is a cinch for this tool.

This is not enough! The tool is durable as it bears a stainless steel and aluminum construction and is tougher on industrial-grade applications.

6. Dog River Tungstun Drag Knife Cutter for CNC

Best Tungsten Carbide Drag Knife

  • Collet size: ½”
  • Weight: 7.4 ounces
  • Maximum depth of cut: â…›”
  • Radius: ¼”

See at Amazon!

What we Like!
  • 2 levels for adjusting blade depth.
  • Efficient cuts.
  • Aesthetic design.
  • Strong body.
Things to Consider!
  • Difficult to work with.


If you’re a fan of Dog River CNC tools, this drag knife is a great addition to your CNC applications.

It comes with the ability to change cut depths to two different levels. Whether you want to make sharper corners or cut through thicker material, adjust the depth level according to your requirements. This function is worth considering since it saves you from buying two different drag knives for two different cutting levels to cut a diverse number of CNC applications. Get two while having the one is for this tool.

If you think that only your CNC router can deliver higher precision and speed while cutting several materials. You are partially wrong. This knife is like the utility knife on your CNC router and cuts sharply and precisely everything you put under it.

Further to these impeccable features, this tool is sturdy and is built with milled aluminum. The black anodized finish gives this tool its aesthetic appeal. The icing on the cake is its protective casing that provides the user a safe experience while working with it.

Buying Guide for a Tungsten Carbide Drag Knife

You must, by this time, have known about the best Tungsten Carbide drag knife options you can consider buying for your CNC projects.

A drag knife is the basic cutting tool that fits into the spindle of your CNC router to cut several materials at different cutting depth levels.

It’s also worth mentioning that a CNC drag knife acts the same way as a utility knife does, but it bears the precision and speed of your CNC routing machine.

Therefore, you can imagine the accurate cuts it will make for your CNC projects. Apart from this, it will get the cutting within a few minutes to increase the productivity of your project.

Difference between drag knife technology and tangential knife technology

Although drag knife technology is robust and powerful to cut several materials with optimal precision of cleaner cuts.

Unlike the drag knife that is self-oriented and stays in the media throughout the cutting process, this tangential technology is powered up by a motor. The motor lifts the knife out of the media, rotates it, and lowers it back into the media.

In addition to this, there are no external forces applied to a tangential knife when cutting, and it can endure higher pressure while cutting rigid surfaces.

By putting it more simply, we can say that a drag knife technology can cut thin substrates with higher precision, whereas a tangential knife technology can cut thin and thick substrates with equal precision.

By attaching this tool to your CNC router or the spindle of your CNC machine, make cuts on various carving and engraving applications of several materials.

Drag knives are pretty handy for cutting all types of materials ranging from cardboard, vinyl, foam, matboard, leather, wood veneer, and clothes.

The mode of action of the drag knife is the device’s cutter which is installed within a rotating mechanism for free rotation because of the special shape of its cutting edge and displacement of the tip relative to its axis of cutter’s rotation, which turns by cutting edge in the tool’s direction.

Have a look at the things that you need to consider while buying the best tungsten carbide drag knives:


There are tungsten carbide drag knives formed using a heavy-duty CNC-milled aluminum body with a black anodized finish.

Other than that, there are drag knives that are advanced coating technology with resistance against corrosion. Such blades are capable of working on all material types. Plus, they are used for carving wooden surfaces having intricate designs.

Moreover, there are tungsten carbide drag knives which are made from precision ground stainless steel body. Such knives are capable of engraving aluminum surfaces, brass, name tags, or trophies.

Cutting efficiency

When buying the best tungsten carbide drag knife, choose the one which comes with enough cutting efficiency and precision. Choose the drag knife, which is highly accurate, light-duty, and fastens rapidly when working on the Z-axis of the CNC router.


The carbide drag knife should be such that it can cut anything similar to any utility knife. This, however, also depends on the precision and speed of your CNC router.

The drag knives in the industry are used for cutting ski bases or snowboard materials. Such knives are also used to cut wood veneers for marquetry/ inlay artwork, carbon fiber prepreg laminate work for aerospace, leather, automotive or military components, cardboard used for custom packaging, and much more!

The drag knives are best for cutting:

  • Vinyl
  • Foam Board
  • Laminate
  • Plastics
  • Wood Veneer
  • Cardboard
  • Leather
  • Fabric
  • Paper
  • Gaskets
  • Magnetic Signs


When buying the tungsten carbide drag knife for the CNC router, ensure that it fits well. Choose the knife blade which fits well and reduces the additional cost of blades.

Types of tungsten carbide drag knife

D1 and the D3 knives are meant for working on detailing, especially on thinner materials having a depth cutting of around 0.010inches to 0.0625inches in thickness. The curved cuts can be minor, around 1/16 inches in radius. The D1 drag knives fit well in 1/2inches collect, and D3 fits well within 1/4inches collect.

D2 and D4 drag knives are the ones that can handle all thick materials ranging from 0.010 to 0.250 inches thickness. You can make curved cuts small, around ⅛ inches radius. D2 fits well into ½ inches collection, while D4 fits well at ¼ inches.

Lastly, choose the best tungsten carbide drag knife, capable of fitting well in several CNC machines. Choose the one which comes with adjustable cutting depth and features a self-locking knurled screwing mechanism on top. What makes these knives the best choice is that they are made from carbide, allowing them to run for a longer duration.

Final Verdict

Enthusiasts and woodworkers use tungsten carbide drag knives to carve a range of projects since they can create cleaner cuts in less time.

Just be sure that the collet of your drag knife should be compatible with the shank of your CNC router. Only with perfect adjustability will you enjoy precision cutting. Otherwise, the consequences would be absurd.

Related Posts:

You may also love to read these my reviews and the buying guides…

People Also Asked about Drag Knife

Here are a few questions that people need to know about drag knives;

What is the Best Tungsten Carbide Drag Knife?

Here is my list of the Best Tungsten Carbide Drag Knife in 2021;

  1. Dog River Drag Knife for CNC
  2. D4 Donek drag knife for CNC
  3. D2 Donek Tools Tungstun Knife
  4. D3 Drag Knife for CNC Routers
  5. D1 Drag Knife for CNC Router
  6. Dog River Tungstun Drag Knife

What is a drag knife?

It is a type of CNC knife which is a form of the blade that a CNC machine pushes to cut material sheets. It is a form of a simple tool that fits well in a CNC router spindle for cutting.

It is the only knife with a cutting technology for thin materials like plastic, paper, magnet, vinyl, etc.

How to design the tungsten carbide drag knife?

The only thing to design the carbide knife is to hold its blade so that its dull vertical edge is in close approximation to the shaft’s axis but off the axis so that there is less scattering effect.

Some drag knives are such that they even work on the 4th axis for controlling the direction of the knife.

How to program the drag knife?

For programming drag knives, you need to perform corner action. For making tight corners, raise its blade so that the tip barely touches the material in the way it grips in and turns in bearings next program the knife rotates in circles all over the tip leading to repositioning.

How does its blade turn?

The blade’s tip trails behind CNC motion. The tool comes with precision bearings which allow the blade to rotate freely.

Sharp corners or corner actions are achieved within CNC tool paths. They instruct the CNC router to raise your blade so that it barely touches the material surface.

Is there a need for special software for drag knives?

No, you don’t need any special software if you don’t want sharp corners or cuts. If you fillet or round off all corners, you plan to cut. You can treat them using drag knives in the form of engraving bits and cut online or vector.

It would be best to have Vetric VCarve pro seven or SheetCAM or Vectric Aspire four or more for cutting sharp corners. This software comes with a tool path for a drag knife which creates corner actions.

Will the tungsten carbide drag knife work with my CNC router?

You need to follow two requirements of a drag knife to work with your CNC router. It should move in X, Y, Z directions and have ½ or ¼ inches of the collect for carrying the tools.

Does a drag knife need sharpening?

There is no need for sharpening a drag knife. It is vertically positioned and swivels at the speed of your CNC router.

David Houghton
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