Cutting Tools

Cutters or cutting tools are tools used to remove material from a work piece to achieve the desired shape, size and surface finish.  A wide range of cutting tools are used in metal cutting, machining and manufacturing industry.


List of Cutting Tools

Following are some of the most commonly used cutting tools in metalworking and manufacturing sectors.

Hole making

Threading Tools

  • Taps
  • Dies
  • Threading Mills
  • Indexable Threading
  • Thread Repair Tools
  • Tap Wrenches

Milling Cutters

  • End Mill
  • Shell End Mills
  • Fly Cutters & Sets
  • T-Slot Cutters
  • Dovetail Cutters & Sets
  • Angle Cutters
  • Slitting Saws
  • Face Milling Cutters

Turning Tools

  • Turning Inserts
  • Insert Holders
  • Boring bars
  • Knurling tools
  • Live Centers
  • Grooving Inserts
  • Parting and Cut-off tools

Types of Cutting Tools

Generally the cutting tools can be classifies according to the type of cutting edge (single or multi point tools), the material used, type of construction and the machine operations performed.

Cutting Edge

According to the purpose cutting tools can be single point or multi-point.  A single point tools where cutting action is accomplished with one cutting edge is often used in machining operations like planing, shaping, turning, boring etc.  Multi-point cutting tools are used in drilling and milling though it is possible to use single point fly cutters in milling.

  • Single Point tools:
    Turning tools, boring tools, shaping tools and planing tools.
  • Multi-point Tools:
    End mills, drills, reamers, grinding wheels etc.

Tool Construction

The design and construction of the cutting tool is another important factor. They can be solid cutting tools made from a single piece of material or indexable tools with brazed carbide tips or replaceable inserts. Solid cutting tools have the same material from the shank to cutting tip. Most of the high speed tools are solid tools. Indexable tools have their shank and body made out of tool steel and harder cutting inserts like cemented carbide tips, CBN (cubic boron nitride) and PCD (polycrystalline diamond) inserts.

  • Solid Cutting tools:
    End Mills, drills, reamers, threading taps and dies.
  • Indexable Tools (with inserts):
    Milling cutters with carbide inserts, turning tools.

Materials Used for Cutting Tools

A tool must be harder than the material it is intended to cut. Hence while a tool made out of steel can be used for woodworking, HSS or carbide cutting tools may be required to perform machining on tool steels. The most commonly used material for producing cutting tools are high carbon steels, high speed steels, carbide, ceramic, cermets, CBN, Sialon and diamond. Each of these materials has its advantages and disadvantages.

The cutting tool quality depends upon four major characteristics.

  1. Hardness: The cutting tool material must be harder than the material which it cuts.
  2. Toughness: It is the ability to retain the cutting edges during machining. Harder material with less toughness is brittle and the cutting edges often get chipped off during machining.
  3. Dimensional Stability: Precision metal working requires that the effect of heat is minimal on the dimension of the tool.
  4. Wear Resistance: Higher wear resistance will reduce the need of replacing the tool often and will reduce cycle time in bulk production. Tool life is an important consideration especially in mass production where any improvement in tool life will significantly reduce the cost.

In addition to the above characteristics, contemplate the material to be machined and the cutting conditions (with or without coolant etc) while selecting a cutting tool material.