From the outset of setting up my metalwork shop I decided to use tungsten carbide tipped tools for the lathe. I just don’t want to be bothered with the fiddle of sharpening and having to keep changing the shims under the tools. This is at variance with the received wisdom that the low power and low spindle speeds of small lathes like my Warco 918 indicate that HSS tooling is appropriate.
The first set was from Warco and I never really got good results with the CCMT left and right hand tools, especially on aluminium but the DCMT tool with the point symmetrically arranged seemed much better. This encouraged me to try a cheap TCMT set from Chronos and must say they seem like the business. I think the small radius points and lower point angle is what allows me to get really quite good finishes on even small parts with small depths of cut in Aluminium with a max of 1800 RPM. Brass and steel are also fine.
So, my recommendation: if you are starting out get a set of 5 TCMT tools.
BTW, tip codes are generally of the form TCMT 110204, where “04” designates a 0.4mm radius on the cutting tip.