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Cutting tools consist of multiple tooling with specific applications. You'll no doubt be familiar with some, whereas others are used in specialised fields. Everyday cutting tools such as drills are used in many industries and feature heavily in domestic life whereas items like milling inserts are used in industrial machining of parts.
The definition of a cutting tool is a sharp edged tool that is used to remove excess material from a workpiece by shearing. This method allows the workpiece to be shaped and sized as desired, and to the degree of accuracy required. Although there are many different varieties of cutting tools, they all tend to follow this same and basic principle.
There are multiple varieties of cutting tools, suitable for a large range of applications. To help direct you to the tooling that you require, we have listed the most common types of cutting tools as well as their application to help you select the right tool for the job.
• Turing tool - Turning tools are small metallic cutting inserts used in turning tools for turning operation performed in a lathe.
• Drills - A common cutting tool drills take many forms but act in much the same way boring a hole into materials using a cutting edge shaped in a twist for chip evacuation. A common type of drill is the jobber drill, which is a typical twist drill bit used with drilling machines and are common with hobbyists.
• Milling cutters - Mills are a type of cutter used for milling operations performed on milling machine. There are two distinct types. Solid mills are a shank-based tool and can be slotted into a machine as you would a drill bit. Milling inserts are small metallic pieces that are inserted into a rotary tool to create the cutting edge, they are mostly used in large industrial applications.
• Threading tools - Threading tools typically take the form of taps and dies. Taps are used to create female threads in pilot holes, whereas as dies, are used to create the male threads on components like fasteners.
• Deburring tools - These tools can be handheld, or machine mounted and are used to remove the imperfections known as burrs from the workpiece, creating a smooth finish.
Saws - Tools like bandsaws are used to cut off excess materials or to shape and contour workpieces. These serrated tools can be used on a range of materials such as wood, plastic and metals.
There are multiple considerations to take into account when choosing a cutting tool for your application. If the application itself is specialised, then as well as selecting the right type of tool, there is also the size, and other things like workpiece material to consider as well.
How do I store cutting tools?
To maintain their edge (pun intended) cutting tools need to be stored carefully. Keeping them loose in toolboxes can cause them to roll around and dull their edges as they come into contact with other tooling, furthermore this can lead to breakage in the case of tools like carbide drills which have a high hardness but can be brittle.
The best way to store them is in their case (if they come with one) or with a slotted piece of foam to hold them in place and protect them from knocks. Ensure they are stored in a dry environment as moisture can cause corrosion, using a lubricating machine oil can further help protect them.
What materials are cutting tools made from?
Depending on their usage cutting tools are manufactured from steels such as high speed steel for durability. Some add to this by employing coatings such as black oxidised and titanium alloys for improve the tools lifespan.
In the case of hardened materials then tungsten carbide is a common choice for tooling as this compound is incredibly hard and retains a very sharp cutting edge. The drawback with carbide tools is that whilst their hardness is tougher than steel they can suffer breakage from being dropped or knocked as they are more brittle.
Cermet is a compound that is made up of ceramic and metal and can be used instead of tungsten carbide as they feature excellent hardness and can resist high temperatures. Common cermet tools are made from compounds featuring titanium such as TiN (titanium nitride).