Anyone who regularly works with metal understands how important abrasives are to getting a final product that is actually useful. Whether you use them to cut sturdy materials down to size or sand down something to a clean finish, metalwork would be far more difficult without the use of a good abrasive. This abrasive selection guide will talk about the major types of metalworking abrasives and what they typically do.
Bonded Abrasive Discs
The most solid form of abrasives that get used very frequently is bonded abrasives, usually in the form of discs. They take a natural or synthetic abrasive mineral and fuse them together with binding and reinforcement agents to create a solid abrasive disc. These discs are very good at accurately cutting through solid metal materials, maintaining their shape and abrasive qualities even through some of the toughest metals available.
Not quite as solid as the bonded abrasive, coated abrasives are also commonly found in disc form, though they can appear in other configurations. An abrasive material will be coated onto a stable backing and sealed in place with a high-strength resin to lock it in. While coated abrasives tend to be pretty strong, their major benefit over bonded abrasives is their higher degree of flexibility. This flexibility is more useful for grinding and removing material from a larger piece of metal.
For many in the trade, non-woven abrasives are usually referred to by a brand name—Scotch-Brite. Rather than having a solid backing like the coated abrasive, non-woven abrasives have a backing that is more fibrous and random. The abrasive material gets attached in the same way via resin, but the fibrous texture of non-woven abrasive discs is better for polishing and finishing, with some even adding grain patterns to the finished piece of metal.
Tips for Using Abrasives
With the types of metalworking abrasives defined, we can start thinking about the best ways to use them properly. These tips will help you make sure you get the most out of your abrasives.
- Using cheaper abrasives runs a higher risk of getting unclean cuts or unintentional shoddy finishes on your metal.
- Always test a new abrasive on something inconsequential before using it on something important to better understand its unique properties.
- Always go for the finest grit you can get away with for getting the job done. An abrasive that is too coarse will leave rougher finishes than you might want.
- Even the toughest abrasives don’t last forever. The longer you use an abrasive past its intended use, the more likely unexpected and undesired results will pop up.
To find the best cutting and grinding abrasives available, take a look through our selection at TMT Toolbox. We offer plenty of abrasive options suited to your individual needs.
Any machinist or machine shop knows that you are only ever as good as the tools you use to create products. You can have all the experience in the world, but if you don’t have the right tools to get the job done, you are already stuck. It’s no secret that machinist tools aren’t cheap and need to withstand heavy use over time; thus, the decision to rely on cheaper tools is almost always the wrong one.
As a supplier of high-quality machine tools, we know what happens to those who try and rely on lower quality, cheaply made machinist tools. Most of the time, the buyer will wish they had chosen the premium models instead because of how much more reliable and efficient they are.
While it can be intimidating to look at and think about paying the prices for these machines, we want to go over the benefits of investing in premium machinist tools so you can see what you’re really paying for. It is very much a long-term investment, but you’ll be glad you did later down the road.
There is no beating around the bush here. When you pay for premium machinist tools, you get premium results. In most industries that use these machines, even minuscule imperfections can be a serious detriment, so having a tool that is incredibly precise and accurate is key. Beyond high-quality results, you also rest easier knowing that these results are reliable in the long term. Your premium machine won’t start to lose its quality after only a few uses.
Getting those high-quality results is crucial to your success, but that doesn’t mean much if you can’t produce enough to meet orders or quotas. Your results need to be more than just good; they need to be consistently good time and time again. Premium machinist tools that you invest in don’t just give you great results, but they do so over and over again without any mistakes that might hurt your credibility.
Longer Life Spans
We all know the pain of buying something new, only to watch it break or fail far sooner than we would like. This is a risk you run every time you buy a tool with only cost in mind. While you can certainly make some machinist tools cheaply, there’s no guarantee that they will last long enough to remain useful for a significant period of time. If you don’t want to constantly spend money replacing broken tools, make the investment in quality now rather than later.
More Safety Features
Even with all the training in the world and a lifetime’s worth of experience, mistakes can happen. Unfortunately, in these kinds of industries, even small mistakes can cost you far more than you would like to pay. The safety features of these tools help filter out the chance that human error will cause a terrible accident. Higher-quality machinist tools are made with humans in mind, incorporating state-of-the-art safety features that can make a terrible accident into something far less tragic.
High Degree of Specialization
A trend in cheaper products across a lot of industries is making multi-use tools. While this concept seems useful on paper, a tool that gets designed to be able to do everything can almost never do all of them well. Investing in premium machinist tools means you will receive a tool specifically designed to do what you need it to, rather than something that tacked on that functionality later as an afterthought. This specialization ensures a much higher quality end product than a jack-of-all-trades tool.
Depending on your specific industry, you might need your machines running as often as possible for as long as they can go without stopping. Uptime can be a huge concern for machinists, especially if they need to pump out a lot of product very quickly. One of the benefits of investing in premium machinist tools is they usually have significantly more uptime capabilities than their cheaper alternatives. More uptime means less time wasted standing around waiting for something to happen.
Positioned for Growth
If you’re just getting started and don’t have a ton of funding, it is tempting to choose a cheaper option for your tools to save money. However, if you plan on growing your business and you know a specific tool will be integral to that process, you owe it to yourself to invest in your future growth. Higher quality machinist tools will last you much longer, as they can better handle an increase in production quantity as your business grows.
Efficient Energy Usage
Any machine shop around has a much higher demand for energy than the average person. Therefore, energy costs are another huge expense that machine shops have to constantly think about. For most machine tools, higher quality products will be able to more efficiently use energy to do their work compared to cheaper versions. Even a slight increase in energy efficiency can drastically reduce energy costs over time.
Faster Support and Customer Service
No machine tool is completely perfect, and you might run into a situation where you need to ask the manufacturer for help with setup or troubleshooting. You’ll find that manufacturers dedicated to producing high-quality tools will offer much more comprehensive customer services and support. If you need a problem dealt with as soon as possible and can’t suffer delays, you will be glad you chose a manufacturer that prioritizes customer service and quality over everything else.
Warranties are a crucial part of any expensive machinist tool. Familiarizing yourself with the warranties afforded to any piece of equipment will make it easier to choose something you can rely on. Lower-quality tools may not offer warranties of any kind because they know that their equipment won’t last a long time. If a tool comes with a warranty, it’s a good indication that the manufacturer puts a lot of stock in its level of quality.
If you need a machine tool supplier that will make it easy to get the premium equipment you need, TMT Toolbox has what you are looking for. We are always glad to help our customers find the tools that will match their needs the best and last well into the future.
Any experienced machinist will tell you that precision in measurements is one of the most important things to focus on. There is very little wiggle room when it comes to measuring any machine’s parts unless you want a catastrophic failure to deal with later on. To combat this from happening, machinists need these precision measurement tools that they can trust to provide essential and accurate measurements in any situation.
Arguably just as important as a construction worker’s hammer or an accountant’s calculator, every machinist needs calipers that provide precise measurements down to the smallest fraction of a millimeter. Digital calipers will be a machinist’s best friend as they allow them to see a more accurate measurement of what the caliper is around that can’t be seen with the naked human eye.
For machinists that focus on much smaller projects, sometimes a bog standard caliper won’t be able to get the job done in such tight spaces. That’s where a digital micrometer comes in handy. It’s an essential precision measurement tool that machinists use to measure extremely small parts in equally small increments. With measurements this small, you can’t trust just your eyes to see what’s going on, which makes a micrometer absolutely crucial to have in your toolbox.
Gauge Pins and Blocks
Finding gauge pins or gauge blocks that you can trust is all about getting them from reputable vendors such as TMT Toolbox. Both gauge pins and gauge blocks are used to accurately measure machined holes, where pins are for circular holes and blocks are for holes with hard angles. Any good machinist will have a set of gauge pins and blocks in plenty of sizes to accurately measure any machined hole with ease.
Machinist’s Squares and Protractors
Straight lines and precise angles are another crucial factor in creating machines that work as they should. Precision steel squares make sure that you can always get a straight line, but also provide easy reference for getting a perfect right angle. On the other hand, a machinist’s protractor allows you to measure out and model the exact degree of angle that you need. Whether you’re measuring for a cut or ensuring that an angle is perfect, you will need these tools to succeed.
No matter what kind of precision measurement tools you need, TMT Toolbox is the place you can trust to find ones that won’t let you down. We focus on providing quality and durability for all the tools we offer so you can focus on the job at hand and not on the tool in your hand.
Machine shops might seem like dangerous places to work for those outside the industry, but danger only really pops up when machinists don’t follow safety protocols the way they should. The tools machinists use are inherently dangerous, given what they can do to materials much stronger than the human body. These are the most important safety tips for working with machinist tools that you need to follow diligently to keep everyone safe.
Extensively Train Employees on All Machines
Knowledge is the best defense to protect yourself against these tools. Even if one person doesn’t use a specific tool very often, they should still know how it works and what could go wrong with it. Everyone in the machine shop should be aware of how each tool functions as well as what needs to happen with that particular tool in an emergency situation to reduce potential harm.
Never Forego Personal Protection Equipment
Personal protection equipment cannot be overlooked, no matter how long you’ve been working with a specific tool. Certain PPE, such as masks or respirators, are essential for keeping yourself healthy in the long term. Other equipment, such as industrial work gloves and safety goggles, can protect a machinist in a worst-case scenario situation. PPE is more than a precaution for working with these tools—it’s a requirement.
Keep Tools Well Maintained
Many machine shop tools need regular maintenance to ensure they work as intended and present as little risk for a malfunction as possible. In the same way that a dull kitchen knife is actually more dangerous than a sharp one, machining tools that have been working for a long time are at a greater risk for an accident or malfunction than one that’s been well maintained.
Never Force a Stalled Machine
Machine shop tools are designed to do as much of the work for the machinist as possible. There should never be a situation where you have to use force in order to get a machine working again, even if it seems to have stalled or gotten stuck. Using force to fix an issue like this is a recipe for disaster. You’re much better off shutting the machine down and addressing the issue before you harm yourself or damage the machine.
Always Inspect Machines Before Use
Even if you’re the safest machinist known to man, there’s no guarantee that everyone around you follows the same safety protocols. Before you begin working with any machine, give it a thorough once-over to make sure it was shut down correctly and that there are no ongoing hazards. Inspecting a machine before use will benefit everybody involved in its use and doesn’t take very long at all.
These safety tips should make working with machinist tools a much less hazardous experience for you and anyone who comes after you. A little bit of precaution can go a long way toward creating a safer working environment.
Metal cutting tools have made a world of difference in the industrial manufacturing and engineering fields. They provide precision, accuracy, and unmatched efficiency to any job. However, these tools are not without their risks. Knowing how to use them properly is essential for avoiding costly mistakes that could cause personal injury or damage to your project. These are common mistakes to avoid when using metal cutting tools if you want to stay safe and efficient.
Not Wearing Protective Gear
Safety should always come first when working with metal cutting tools. It is important to wear safety goggles and gloves while working with these tools, as they can cause sparks and flying debris during operation. Even if you’ve used your machine reamer thousands of times, you should never forego proper safety gear. Also, make sure you have the proper safety gear for the specific job you’re doing; for example, you should wear hearing protection when using loud power tools for extended periods of time.
Not Setting Up Properly
Before using a metal cutting tool, it’s important that you take the time to set up your space correctly. This includes making sure the tool is securely mounted on a stable surface before turning it on, as well as ensuring that all guards and shields are in place and functioning correctly before beginning work. Avoid presuming that a tool is ready to go without an inspection, as someone may have changed things without you knowing.
Choosing the Wrong Tool for the Job
Different types of metal require different types of tools for successful cuts. Make sure you understand what type of tool will get the job done most efficiently before beginning work. Even if there are other tools that might work, you don’t want to end up wasting time or resources due to choosing a less efficient tool.
Not Cleaning Up After Cutting
Metal shavings can be dangerous if left lying around after a job is complete. Not only can they cause slips or falls, but they can also interfere with other projects being worked on nearby. Therefore, it’s important to clean up any debris created by your cutting tool immediately after completing a job so that your workspace remains safe and tidy at all times.
Working Without a Plan
A common mistake beginners make when using metal cutting tools is assuming they know the most efficient way forward without developing any kind of plan. This often leads to wasted materials or inaccurate cuts due to inadequate. Instead of relying on improvisation during production, make sure you have a clear idea of the steps you need to take ahead of time so that everything goes smoothly once you begin work on site or in the shop.
Following these tips will save time and money by avoiding costly errors. TMT Toolbox has all the supplies you need for your shop, whether it’s a new machine or personal protective equipment you can rely on.
It’s hard to even imagine human civilization developing without the advancements that came as a result of using metal in our everyday lives. Manipulating metal to create tools and inventions is one of the key aspects that led humanity to where it is today. Over time, we have developed a plethora of ways to change the characteristics of metal to suit our needs, whatever they may be. Metal cutting, and eventually machining, is a huge part of this.
By definition, metal cutting is the process of using tools to shape or cut metal into various desired shapes. We use this process in a variety of industries, from automotive manufacturing to furniture making and far beyond. If you’re new to this or just want a refresher course, we’ll give you an introduction to the basics of metal cutting and its many intricacies.
Types of Metal Cutting Tools
When it comes to metal cutting, there are three main tools that you need to know about: saws, drills, and grinders. Each tool is suited for different types of jobs, so it’s important to know which tool is best for the job at hand. These categories are very large umbrellas, and they include everything from extremely basic hand tools to modern machines that perform these processes quickly and accurately.
Saws are used for cutting straight lines into steel or other metals. They come in two varieties—hand saws and band saws—and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Hand saws are great for small projects where precision is not necessary, while band saws are more precise and can handle larger pieces of metal. Band saws may produce better results, but they also require more training to use properly.
Drills are used for putting precise holes into metal. They work by spinning a drill bit at high speeds while pushing it against a metal surface. This creates small chips that eventually wear away the surface of the metal until a hole is formed. Drills come in a variety of sizes and styles depending on your needs. Electric drills are typically used when working with hard metals such as steel, while pneumatic (air) drills are better suited for softer metals such as aluminum or brass.
Grinders are used for grinding down surfaces or edges of metal pieces. They use a spinning wheel covered in an abrasive material to quickly remove excess material from the surface of the piece being worked on. Grinders come in two varieties—angle grinders (which have wheels mounted on an angle) and straight grinders (which have wheels mounted perpendicular to the handle). Angle grinders are better at reaching tight spaces. Straight grinders offer greater control over your workpiece due to their lack of angles. The effectiveness of these grinders depends heavily on the skill of the operator.
Metal Cutting Materials
The type of material being cut will determine which type of blade or attachment you should use with each tool. For example, aluminum needs a specialized blade because it tends to dull regular steel blades quickly due to its soft nature. The best way to determine which type of material you should use is by understanding each material’s unique properties or by consulting with an experienced professional who knows what types of materials would be best suited for your project.
The Main Types of Metal Cutting
There are several types of metal-cutting methods, and some are more common than others. Each type has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, depending on the application. Let’s take a look at a few of the methods that we use most often.
Sawing is perhaps the most common type of metal cutting because it is quick, accurate, and easily repeatable. Although the term sawing evokes an image of a typical hand saw moving back and forth, machine sawing actually comes in a variety of different shapes. There are many types of saws used for cutting metal, including hacksaw blades, band saws, jigsaws, circular saws, and reciprocating saws. The tool you choose will depend on the thickness and shape of your material as well as your experience level with using simpler tools. Modern saws take a lot of the work out of the cutting process, but they still require the right knowledge to use safely.
Shearing involves using two blades that come together like scissors to cut through material. This technique is much faster than sawing but can cause distortion in thin materials due to its high speed. Shearing is typically used to cut sheet metal or trim straight edges from larger pieces such as pipes or beams.
Far more common nowadays is using applied heat in different forms to cut metal extremely precisely. We see this most often in processes like laser cutting and plasma cutting. While they aren’t perfect cutting methods, as they can cause distortion and damage due to the extreme heat, careful use of these processes can make a huge difference in the quality of the finished product.
As we previously mentioned, grinding involves using an abrasive wheel to wear away material until it reaches the desired shape or size. This process is much faster than manual chiseling but also produces more heat, which can cause damage to softer metals if not properly controlled or cooled during use. It is also important when grinding that you use safety equipment such as eye protection. Sparks from grinding can fly off in any direction during use, which can cause serious injury if you do not protect yourself against them ahead of time.
Safety Practices and Precautions
Speaking of safety equipment and precautions, metal cutting safety should always be your number one priority. This means wearing protective gear such as safety glasses, gloves, and earmuffs at all times when operating any type of power tool. No matter how experienced you are or how familiar you are with a tool, a single slip-up could cause a disaster if you don’t have the right protective equipment.
It’s also important to keep your work area clean and free from debris that could cause accidents or injuries. Additionally, make sure you use the appropriate type of blade or attachment for the job at hand in order to reduce the risk of injury or damage to your equipment.
Because this is just an introduction to the basics of metal cutting, there is quite a lot we still haven’t covered. Here at TMT Toolbox, we offer high-quality metal cutting tools to our customers and the knowledge that we’ve accumulated over many years in the industry.
As a machinist, you understand the importance of precision and accuracy when it comes to metalworking. Thread milling is one technique that can help you achieve reliable results time after time. By mastering some key thread milling best practices, you can ensure your parts are accurate, high-quality, and meet customer standards within a reasonable timeframe.
Whether you’re a beginner or more experienced with thread milling, this blog will provide valuable information on how to master this skill and take your projects to the next level. Read on to learn more about the top thread milling best practices every machinist should know.
Select the Correct Thread Mill for Your Project
Selecting the right thread mill for a project is essential. Choosing the wrong one can cause delays, complications, and even cost overruns. Furthermore, incorrect thread mills can put extra strain on other supplies or components in the system and may ultimately impact the performance of the finished product.
When choosing your thread mill, make sure the diameter of the tool is smaller than your desired thread diameter. One of the advantages of thread milling over tapping or other techniques is that the smaller cutter tool gives you more precision and control. A smaller cutter diameter prevents breaks, minimizes heat and friction during the machining process, and results in higher-quality threads for your piece.
Choose the Right Cutting Parameters for Your Application
Finding the right cutting parameters for your application is essential for achieving your desired results. Different materials require you to consider different factors, such as the speed and number of passes, the angle of the blade, and more. For the best results, it's important to consider all of these factors when selecting cutting parameters.
Keep in mind that operating at higher speeds can result in quicker completion times, but that doesn’t mean you should sacrifice precision for speed. Choose cutting parameters that will successfully meet both your efficiency goals and quality requirements for an optimal outcome.
Use High-Quality Toolholders and Cutting Tools
The thread milling tools you use heavily impact the quality of your threading results. As a result, one of the most important thread milling best practices every machinist should know is to invest in long-lasting, dependable tools to complete their projects. When investing in toolholders, cutting tools, and other parts, be sure to consider factors beyond the initial cost of the equipment. Pay attention to maintenance requirements and other long-term effects. Higher-grade thread mill cutters combined with diligent regular maintenance help ensure accuracy and longevity.
Properly maintained high-quality toolholders and cutting tools provide superior results and life expectancy when compared to lower-grade alternatives. The savings associated with increased efficiency far outweigh the initial investment, making high-grade tooling a smart choice for any shop looking for consistent results over the long term.
What Are Cutting Fluids?Cutting fluids are lubricants used in machining processes such as drilling, turning, milling, grinding, and tapping. They come in numerous types and forms, including oils, greases, pastes, and more. The type of fluid you need will depend on the materials you’re using, the type of machining process you want to perform, and other factors. It’s important to invest in high-performance metal cutting fluids so that you can achieve safe, high-quality results with every project you take on.
Reducing FrictionOne of the most important roles of cutting fluids in machining is reducing friction between the tool and workpiece during machining operations. This helps ensure surfaces move smoothly against each other while also preventing excess heat buildup, which could cause damage to both the tooling and workpiece.
Improving Surface FinishAnother benefit of using cutting fluids is that they help improve surface finish by creating a protective layer between the tool and workpiece. This reduces wear on both components. By using a quality cutting fluid with proper application techniques, you can achieve a better surface finish and deliver higher-quality results to your customers.
Minimizing Machine Wear and TearUsing a quality cutting fluid can help minimize machine wear and tear due to improved lubrication between moving parts. This helps ensure machines last longer and require less maintenance over time, which in turn saves money and increases efficiency in production processes. Metal cutting fluids enable safer operations, better results, and greater shop efficiency over time. Find the quality cutting fluids you need to keep your machines running successfully when you visit TMT Toolbox today.
Increased ProductivityRegular maintenance of metalworking tools ensures they function optimally and complete projects effectively. Regular cleaning of the tools keeps them in good condition and prevents malfunctions that can slow you down or affect the quality of your work. Other routine maintenance, such as sharpening blades or lubricating moving parts, reduces wear and tear and friction, creating smoother, more efficient processes and saving time in the long run.
Longer Tool LifeTool life also plays a role in the importance of regular metalworking tool maintenance. Taking the time to care for a tool with proper storage and cleaning can help extend its life. Routine maintenance allows you to identify potential issues before they worsen, which means you can act quickly to fix problems before they create a major disruption in your operations. Maintenance also helps prevent unnecessary wear that could otherwise reduce the quality and durability of the tool. In addition to cleaning, rust prevention, and general upkeep, properly storing your tools in a dry and dust-free environment adds an extra level of security that protects against corrosion and other damage.
Cost SavingsTaking the time to regularly maintain your metalworking tools can save your business a lot of money in the long run. Performing the necessary upkeep to ensure all tools, equipment, and systems are running smoothly can prevent costly repairs, delays, or other problems that arise due to poor maintenance. Regular maintenance also helps preserve the life of machines, tools, and important parts, which in turn helps you save money on costly replacements. Investing time into preventive maintenance is one of the best ways to reduce expenses associated with business operations, giving you peace of mind that your equipment is functioning optimally now and in the future. When you need dependable tools to enhance your operation, turn to TMT Toolbox. As a comprehensive metalworking tool supplier, we have everything you need to streamline your work, maintain your instruments, and deliver quality results to your customers.
Maximizing the life of your metal cutting tools is crucial for reducing costs and maintaining productivity. Cutting tools are an important investment, so it's crucial to extend their lifespan for as long as possible. Fortunately, with the right tips and tricks, you can maximize the life of your metal cutting tools and keep them operating at peak performance. From responsible usage to preventative maintenance, check out these best practices to preserve your metal cutting tools.
Use Proper Coolant and Lubrication
Proper coolant and lubrication are essential for prolonging the life of your metal cutting tools. Coolants help reduce the heat generated during cutting, which can cause premature tool wear and damage. Similarly, lubricants help minimize friction between the tool and workpiece, reducing wear on the cutting edge. Lubricants are also essential when working with sticky materials or other components that can cling to the cutting tool. In cases like these, lubricants help prevent chips from welding to the cutting edge and damaging the tool.
Optimize Cutting Parameters
Another essential tip for maximizing metal cutting tool life is to find the optimal cutting parameters for your specific application. These include spindle speed, feed rate, depth of cut, and coolant selection. Factors such as the tool material, workpiece material, and cutting geometry all influence the optimal cutting parameters. Experimenting with and fine-tuning these variables can help you find the best balance between productivity and tool life. Additionally, always follow the manufacturer's recommendations when it comes to cutting parameters, as this can save you time, energy, and potential damage to your tools.
Implement Preventative Maintenance Practices
Regular preventative maintenance is a must for any serious metalworker looking to prolong the life of their machining cutting tools. This includes cleaning and inspecting your tools for signs of wear, damage, or other issues that could lead to decreased performance or tool failure.
Tool sharpening is also an important part of preventative maintenance. Regularly sharpening your cutting tools can greatly extend their life, reducing unnecessary wear and damage. Moreover, cutting tools with dull edges require more force to use, which can lead to tool breakage and even damage to the workpiece.
Make it a habit to inspect and sharpen your tools regularly. This helps you avoid unexpected downtime and ensures your tools remain in peak condition, delivering the best possible performance throughout their life.
Properly selecting the right drill bit for your machining application is essential to ensure efficient operation, quality performance, and reliable results. No matter what parts you’re making or materials you’re working with, the right drill bit is the key to achieving optimal accuracy and precision.
This overview explores the considerations you should make when selecting a drill bit to help guide you in the selection process and equip you with tips that maximize productivity and minimize errors. Read on to learn all the tips and techniques you need to know about drill bit selection for machining.
Overview of Drill Bit Materials
One of the first considerations to make when choosing a drill bit is the material. There are different types of materials available, including high-speed steel, cobalt steel, and carbide. Each material functions slightly differently and delivers unique advantages for specific applications.
High-speed steel is a popular, accessible, and economical solution for most general maintenance applications. This drill bit material offers good heat resistance and wear resistance. It works best with relatively soft materials like softer steel, wood, and plastic.
Cobalt drill bits offer even greater durability and wear resistance than high-speed steel. Cobalt has excellent heat and corrosion resistance, making it a dependable and long-lasting tool material. Cobalt drill bits are ideal for working with stronger metals like stainless steel and other harder steel grades.
Carbide is a phenomenally strong material. It is resistant to wear and can stay sharp longer than other materials. Carbide drill bits are great for working with extremely hard and demanding materials. However, the hardness of carbide also makes it brittle, which means it can break easier than other drill bit materials. As a result, carbide drill bits require high-quality tool holders and equipment; you should never use a carbide drill bit with hand drills or drill presses.
Choosing the Appropriate Length of Drill Bit for Your Job
Choosing the proper length of drill bit for your job is important for both efficiency and safety. The right drill bit length allows you to make the most of your tools and complete your work without damaging the material or piece being worked on.
As a rule of thumb, try to choose the shortest drill bit that can complete the job. Shorter bits are more rigid, which makes them more accurate and less prone to breaking than longer alternatives. However, longer drill bits offer more reach for thicker materials or deeper cuts.
Stub, jobber, and taper lengths are among the most common drill bit lengths available. Stub-length bits, also known as screw machine length drill bits, are the shortest type of common drill bit. With a short length and flute, these bits are great for working in tight applications or creating straight, precise holes in harder materials.
Jobber-length bits are more versatile and provide the necessary reach for most jobs. Their medium length gives them decent durability and accuracy, making them a great choice for a wide range of applications.
Taper-length bits are longer than jobber bits, allowing them to cut deeper holes. This makes them ideal in special conditions, such as applications that require long cuts through thick material.
The flute is the sharp slot that spirals up the length of a drill bit and allows it to cut into materials. As such, the design of your bit’s flute affects your cut. Drill bits have two main flute types: standard and parabolic design.
Different materials require different flute types in order to produce the best results. Parabolic flutes allow for greater removal of chips when drilling through softer materials, such as aluminum. This helps create smoother holes at the end of your drill. However, straight flutes offer greater control over where the drill bit moves when drilling harder materials, such as stainless steel and titanium alloys. This helps maximize hole depth accuracy.
The Importance of Coating in Drill Bits
Having an appropriate coating will reduce friction when drilling and help keep the drill bit cool for extended use. Additionally, the right drill bit coating allows for more precise work since there is less resistance when cutting through materials. As such, protective coatings and finishes are a key part of drill bit selection for machining.
There are a few coating options available. A black oxide surface treatment adds an oily smoothness to the drill bit, decreasing friction and improving chip removal capabilities. Black oxide coatings also help resist oxidation and improve the durability of the drill bit.
Bright finishes are affordable coatings that add polish and durability to the bit while helping remove chips as you drill.
Titanium nitride is a bright gold, hard ceramic coating that reduces heat transfer and improves cutting ability against harder materials.
Titanium carbonitride is an extremely durable coating with a blue-gray color. It improves hardness, increases wear resistance, and allows for superior performance and cuts. The high lubricity of titanium carbonitride also helps reduce friction and improve efficiency while drilling.
Drill Bit Tip Styles
Drill bits are available in various tip styles that, while they may seem alike, greatly impact the kind of drilling you can do. The right drill bit tip helps prevent mishaps like walking or slipping, making it easier to create a clean cut and produce precise, high-quality results.
The biggest defining feature of different drill points is the tip angle. These angles usually range between 118 and 135 degrees.
Conventional drill points are the standard type of bit tip style. They usually have a tip angle of 118 degrees. This narrower point is great for soft metals like aluminum, milder steels, and non-ferrous metals. However, conventional drill points also have a 135-degree variant that is ideal for stainless steels and other harder materials. Conventional drill points are cost-effective and versatile. Moreover, you can easily resharpen these drill bit tips, making them a long-lasting tool with proper care.
Split point drill bits feature a more complicated drill point that helps eliminate slipping and walking while drilling. This results in improved penetration and an overall cleaner cut. Split point drill bits also come in both 118- and 135-degree point angles.
TMT Toolbox is your one-stop shop for drill bits and other metal cutting tools. Visit us today to explore our vast selection of metal-cutting metal drill bits and find the perfect tool for your next job.
End mills are essential tools for any metalworker, and selecting the right type can make all the difference in achieving the perfect cut. With so many different types of end mills on the market, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. Understanding how the different shapes, sizes, and configurations serve the unique requirements of your project allows you to select the perfect tool for the job every time. Learn about some of the most common end mills to use in your machine shop with this guide to understanding the different types of end mills and their applications.
Square End Mills
Square end mills have a straight cutting edge that creates a sharp, 90-degree profile when milling. As a result, the square end mill is perfect for cutting flat-bottomed grooves and slots. These end mills are also great for slotting, plunging, and profiling operations. The square end mill is available in a variety of sizes and flutes, making it a versatile and appropriate option for a wide range of machining applications.
Roughing End Mills
Roughing end mills are specially designed to quickly remove a significant amount of material from a workpiece. They have a coarse tooth design on the surface that helps break chips and reduces heat buildup. The efficiency of roughing mills makes them ideal for working with large surface areas.
Ball Nose End Mills
Ball nose end mills have a round end that creates a smoother surface finish. These mills are perfect for contour milling, but they also work well for pocketing and shallow slotting. The radial end of the mill is ideal for shaping and carving irregular shapes, curves, and angles on a workpiece. The ball nose end mills have a shallow depth of cut and help reduce chipping while milling. Furthermore, the smooth surface finish helps increase efficiency by speeding up your finishing process on every workpiece.
Learning your way around the different types of end mills is crucial for improving efficiency and accuracy in your metalworking operations. Find the best milling cutting tools available when you explore the vast inventory at TMT Toolbox today. Shop online or let our team connect you with the perfect tools for your next project.
As machine shop professionals know, the right tools can make all the difference when it comes to delivering outstanding workmanship. Among these essential tools are metal cutting tools, which play a critical role in various metalworking applications, such as drilling, milling, and turning. Given the importance of these precision instruments, it is imperative to emphasize the importance of proper metal cutting tool storage. In this blog, we'll explore the various benefits of maintaining an organized storage system for your metal cutting drill bits and other metal cutting tools, helping you maximize your workshop's efficiency, performance, and safety.
Enhanced Tool Longevity
A well-organized storage system can protect metal cutting tools from damage and reduce the risk of premature wear and tear. By providing designated storage spaces for each specific tool type, you’ll minimize the likelihood of accidental collisions and impacts, ultimately extending the life of your tools.
Better Accessibility and Time Management
An orderly metal cutting tool storage solution makes it easier to locate and access the specific tools you need whenever you need them. This not only saves time on the job but also reduces the potential for costly mistakes. When your metal cutting drill bits have a dedicated place and are easily accessible, you'll be able to complete tasks more smoothly and efficiently.
Increased Workspace Safety
By properly storing your metal cutting drill bits and other tools, you’ll minimize the risk of accidents and injuries in the workshop. Tools left carelessly on benches or scattered around the work area can pose serious safety hazards. By creating a consistent storage routine, you'll significantly reduce the likelihood of slips, trips, and falls.
Greater Investment Protection
High-quality metal cutting tools can be a significant investment for machine shop professionals. Therefore, it's essential to protect them from damage and deterioration. One of the biggest advantages of proper metal cutting tool storage is that it will help you make the most of your investment, ensuring your tools remain in top condition for their entire lifespan.
Metal fabrication is a complex and intricate process that requires the use of the right tools and materials to achieve the desired result. One of the most critical pieces of equipment in this process is the drill bit. Drill bits come in various materials, each with their unique characteristics, making them ideal for specific applications.
In this blog, we will discuss the different types of drill bit materials and their uses in metal fabrication. By the end, you will have a thorough understanding of the various types of drill bit materials, enabling you to make an informed decision based on your specific metal fabrication needs.
Carbide Drill Bits
Carbide drill bits are known for their incredible strength and durability. This hardness allows the carbide bits to stay sharp for an extended period, making them an excellent choice for heavy-duty drilling tasks.
Carbide bits are perfect for machining materials with high tensile strength, such as stainless steel, cast iron, titanium, and other alloys. Their durability and resistance to wear make them suitable for high-speed and high-temperature drilling operations. However, the downside of carbide bits is that they can be brittle and prone to chipping, especially when subjected to sudden lateral forces.
High-Speed Cobalt Drill Bits
High-speed cobalt drill bits are an upgrade from the traditional high-speed steel bits (which we will discuss further in the next section). These bits are made from solid cobalt and are known for their exceptional hardness and heat resistance.
Compared to high-speed steel, high-speed cobalt drill bits provide improved performance in both drilling speed and lifespan. As a result, high-speed cobalt bits are ideal for drilling through hard and abrasive materials that high-speed steel bits can’t cut, such as stainless steel, hardened steel, and other heat-treated alloys. Though they can withstand greater heat than high-speed steel bits, it is still essential to use coolant to prevent premature degradation due to excessive heat.
High-Speed Steel Drill Bits
High-speed steel (HSS) drill bits are among the most common choices for metal fabrication due to their versatility and affordability. These bits are made from carbon steel combined with other elements like chrome, tungsten, and molybdenum. This alloy gives high-speed steel drill bits both hardness and resistance to high temperatures.
HSS bits are suitable for drilling through materials like mild steel, aluminum, brass, and copper. They can withstand high-speed drilling operations but may be prone to wear and dulling if used in highly abrasive materials or without proper cooling. In general, high-speed steel bits offer a solid balance between performance and cost for use in a wide range of metalworking applications.
Types of Drill Bit Coatings
Now that we have covered the primary material options for drill bits, let's explore the different coating options available. Drill bit coatings give you more options when selecting the right drill bit for your metalworking application. Coatings and treatments help reduce friction, improve precision, or prevent premature wear and tear. Below are some of the most popular drill bit coating options available.
Black Oxide Coatings
Black oxide is a heat treatment option that many manufacturers apply to high-speed steel drill bits to enhance their performance. The coating process creates a thin, black layer of oxide on the surface of the bit. This oxide layer provides additional heat resistance and lubricity. It also enhances rust and corrosion resistance for the drill bit, significantly extending the lifespan of the tool. Black oxide high-speed steel bits are able to handle carbon steels and alloy steels, as well as softer metals like aluminum.
While black oxide coating can help improve the overall performance of high-speed steel bits, it does not drastically increase the hardness or heat resistance of the bit. It is an excellent option for cost-effective metal drilling but may not be sufficient for more difficult metals with higher heat and pressure requirements.
Diamond-Coated Drill Bits
Diamond's incredible hardness and durability make it an ideal material for drill bit coatings. Diamond coatings consist of multiple layers of synthetic or natural diamond particles bonded together through a high-temperature, high-pressure process. This coating provides unparalleled hardness, wear resistance, and heat dissipation capabilities.
Diamond-coated drill bits excel in drilling through materials that are otherwise difficult to work with, such as glass, ceramics, tile, and reinforced composites. They maintain their sharpness, making them an exceptional choice for long-lasting performance. However, diamond coatings don’t work well with ferrous metals such as stainless steel.
Titanium-Coated Drill Bits
Titanium-coated drill bits are treated with a layer of titanium nitride. This gold-colored coating significantly improves the drill bit's hardness, heat resistance, and overall lifespan compared to uncoated drill bits. Titanium coatings also increase the drill bit’s corrosion resistance and fatigue limit.
There are several types of titanium coatings, including standard titanium nitride, titanium aluminum nitride, and titanium carbon nitride. Titanium aluminum nitride and titanium carbon nitride enhance drill bit performance even further and create a longer-lasting drill bit than basic titanium nitride coatings.
Titanium-coated drill bits are incredibly versatile and suitable for use with a wide range of materials, including metal, wood, and plastic. They perform exceptionally well on materials like stainless steel, iron, and copper. Their durability and heat resistance make them ideal for drilling through tougher alloys and high tensile materials.
Titanium-coated drill bits are perfect for heavy-duty applications that require high precision and extended tool life. Furthermore, the light weight, faster RPM, and extreme endurance of titanium bits make them ideal for large-scale, repetitive manufacturing applications.
Finding the Right Drill Bit Material
By understanding the different types of drill bit materials available, you can determine which option is best suited for your metalworking application. As with any type of tool, the right drill bit can make all the difference in achieving a successful outcome. Whether it be cost-effective metal drilling with high-speed steel bits or more demanding operations with carbide or cobalt bits, understanding your needs and materials is key to helping you choose the right type of drill bit for your project.
Looking for the perfect tool for your next metalworking project? Visit TMT Toolbox today and shop our extensive selection of steel cutting drill bits. Browse our variety of options on your own, or let our expert team help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Either way, TMT Toolbox has everything you need to set yourself up for success.
To improve precision, finish, and overall quality of your parts, you need to learn how to make the most of every tool at your disposal. Learning your way around a lathe takes time, but there are plenty of tips you can use to master the skill and produce high-quality parts for every project you take on. Check out these metal lathe turning tips for improved accuracy in every piece you produce.
Use the Proper Coolant
Coolant helps your tools perform better so you can create smoother cuts without worrying about breakage, excess heat and friction, or other complications. However, you need to be careful about which kind of coolant you choose. Precision coolant is ideal for finishing applications. High-pressure coolant enables faster cutting speeds, making your process more efficient. Pay attention to the type of material you’re working with, the depth of your cut and feed, the outlet nozzle, and other factors to determine the right coolant type, pressure, and flow for your application.
Perfect Your Surface Finish
Achieving a perfect finish can be difficult with so many high-speed parts, but there are a few ways to make the process easier. As a general rule, a higher cutting speed results in a finer surface finish. If you’re dealing with a higher vibration tendency, use a smaller nose radius to keep your work smooth. It’s also important to factor in your insert geometry and insert grade, as these details influence the quality of your finish.
Invest in Your Turning Tools
Of course, one of the most straightforward yet crucial metal lathe turning tips for improved accuracy is to have the right metal turning tools at your disposal. Cheap, worn, or dull equipment will never achieve the best results possible, no matter how much skill you have.
Investing in your equipment means buying high-quality options from the start. It also means putting time and care into regular maintenance like sharpening and cleaning. The better shape your tools are in, the easier time you’ll have achieving clean, precise, high-quality results.
Tapping tools allow metalworkers to create threads within holes in a workpiece. This is necessary for screws and other types of fasteners that help complete the product. Metal thread tapping is a relatively straightforward process, but there are still several tips and best practices that can help ensure efficiency and success in your workflow. Hone your skills with these metal thread tapping techniques for beginners.
Drill the Hole and Select Your Tap
Every tapping procedure begins with drilling a hole for the tap to fit into. While this step is simple, you still need to pay close attention to the size of the hole and the type of tap you need to create the thread you want. You can use a thread gauge to measure and match pre-existing threads. If you’re creating your thread from scratch, use a tap chart to help you pick the right thread tapping tools for the job.
Remember that the chamfer of the tap—which drills into the hole to cut the thread—will be slightly longer than the length of the thread itself. Because of this, you need to make sure you drill your holes to be slightly deeper than your thread length. This gives you space to fully cut the thread.
Clear Threads With Reverse Turns
Once you’ve drilled the pilot hole and aligned your tap, it’s time to start cutting the thread. As you spin the tap to cut the thread, be sure to intersperse short reverse turns. This backs the tap up and helps clear chips and other material flecks that gather inside the cutter as you work. By clearing the cutting teeth, you create a smooth path for the tap so you can continue cutting your thread safely and efficiently.
Use Cutting Fluid
As with many metalworking processes, tapping is much easier—and more successful—when you use cutting fluid. Using metal cutting fluid is one of the most important thread tapping techniques for beginners because it lubricates the tap and helps wash away flecks of material as you work. This creates a smoother, faster cut, improving efficiency and creating higher-quality results. Cutting fluid also helps the tap spin without resistance, which reduces your risk of breaking the tap and ruining the workpiece.
Defining Grit SizeBefore you can choose the right sandpaper or grinder for your project, you need to make sure you understand what you’re looking for. Metalworkers classify sandpaper and other abrasives by grit size. This refers to the number of sharp particles per square inch of the sandpaper. A higher grit size means there is a greater density of particles, which creates a smoother finish.
Coarse AbrasivesWhen you have tough jobs that require subtle shaping or stripping outer coatings, coarse abrasives are the way to go. Extra coarse abrasives refer to sandpaper and other abrasives with a grit size of 24- to 36-grit. This low grit size is extremely tough and is only useful for jobs that require you to remove tough outer coatings. You can also use coarse abrasives, which have a grit size range of 40- to 60-grit. These are good for removing previous finishes or roughly shaping the surface of the piece.
Medium AbrasivesMedium abrasives fall between 60- and 120-grit. These abrasives work well to smooth the surface of the piece. You can also use medium abrasives to remove small imperfections such as scratches or planning marks from your piece.
Fine AbrasivesFine and extra-fine abrasives give your piece a super smooth, even finish. Fine grit sizes range from 120- to 220-grit. However, many intricate parts and products you make in your machine shop will require an extra-fine finish, which ranges anywhere from 240- to 600-grit depending on your project. Extra-fine abrasives are ideal for creating an ultra-smooth surface to apply finishes or other coatings. Additionally, 600-grit abrasives are useful for polishing pieces.
Other Factors To Look ForGrit size isn’t the only thing to look for in your abrasives. In addition to choosing the right coarseness and abrasive grit size, you also want to pay attention to material quality. The higher the quality of your grit material, bonding agent, and backing, the better your finish will be. You also need to choose between open-coated and closed-coated abrasives. Open-coated sandpaper features gaps between grits to collect shavings and other particles as you work, while closed-coated sandpaper does not. Finding the right abrasive for your project doesn’t have to be complicated. Explore a comprehensive selection of grinding abrasives and other abrasive tools at TMT Toolbox. Our extensive inventory and expert service makes it easy to find the perfect tools for your next project.
Productivity is the key to improving your bottom line, but how do you achieve and maintain good productivity? In the world of metal fabrication, the answer lies in the tools and equipment you use. Efficient, reliable, high-quality machinist tools help you produce superior products while also improving efficiency and safety in your workflow.
When you want to maximize productivity with the right machinist tools, you need to start by investing in equipment that will serve your shop well for years to come. Explore some of these key qualities and factors to look for in your metalworking equipment to help you invest in tools that will bring the most value to your business.
Dependability and Minimal Downtime
When your machine shop gets busy, you need equipment that continues to meet demands and produce high-quality work. Tools and equipment that frequently need repairs or maintenance hinder your productivity. In addition to paying for this extra maintenance, you’ll also lose money every time machine downtime interrupts your workflow.
Unreliable equipment creates bottlenecks in your shop that prevent you and your employees from delivering their best work. Moreover, excess machine downtime leads to frustrated workers and a negative, unproductive workplace environment.
Investing in high-performance equipment helps minimize your downtime so you can maintain productivity in your shop. It’s also important to stay on top of preventative maintenance. By prioritizing annual inspections or routine maintenance tasks like cleaning and sharpening, you can avoid major repairs that put your tools out of commission for a significant amount of time.
In addition to thinking about how your equipment operates, you must also consider what kind of setup procedures it requires. Complicated installations and long setup times slow down your workflow and add unnecessary time to your production line.
Speed things up by looking for tools and machines with simple setup procedures. Look for technical features such as effective and easy-to-use clamping systems and automatic, adjustable feeds. Portability is another important quality to look for. Lightweight, single-operator machines make setup times easier and improve flexibility within your operations.
Another effective way that the right machinist tools can maximize productivity is by consolidating multiple machining operations into a single workflow. For example, if you can run multiple parts, like tubes, valves, and plates, through a single machine, you can save a lot of time in your production line. Employees won’t have to move across the shop to access multiple machines. You also enjoy less setup time because you’re using a single machine rather than multiple different equipment stations. Multi-function machines help lower investment costs while saving floor space and delivering greater versatility to your machine shop.
Like multi-function machines, tools that can handle simultaneous machining help save space and streamline operations within your machine shop. This type of equipment uses multiple tool bits at the same time to work on more than one piece at once.
For example, a beveling machine with simultaneous operations might contain a tool holder with three tools in it instead of one. This allows the machine to carry out three beveling operations at the same time. Machines with simultaneous operations, such as compound bevels, also allow you to carry out specific machining tasks that would take more time and energy when using basic equipment.
Efficiency for Your Shop
Every business has different goals, workflows, and projects it revolves around. That’s why it’s important to invest in equipment that fits with the specific circumstances and needs of your business. By reviewing your operations and working closely with your employees, you can choose machinist tools that best support your unique workflow and ensure greater success for your machine shop.
The Right Cutting Tools
Cutting tools are at the core of any project your machine shop undertakes. Whether you’re looking for turning tools for metal lathes or a set of drill bits, you need to make sure you’re investing in durable tools that will create high-quality results.
Consider factors like the sizes of the cuts you’re making, the materials you’re working with, cutting speeds, feed rates, and more. Additionally, always follow best practices for storing, sharpening, and maintaining your cutting tools so you can continue to create high-quality pieces in your shop.
Cutting Fluids and Lubricants
Lubricants, coolants, and other cutting fluids are also an essential part of your operations. High-performance metalworking fluids make each cut smoother by providing lubrication, reducing friction, and flushing chips and particles away from the place you’re cutting. Coolants and lubricants also help improve machine performance and reduce wear and tear on your tools. This helps you lengthen the lifespan of your equipment and reduce the need for unnecessary replacements and repairs.
You should also pay attention to machine accessories such as adapters, tool holders, lathe chucks, and more. Knowing your way around different equipment accessories lets you outfit your machines to serve you as effectively as possible. In some cases, you might also want to keep common accessories—like screws, nuts, and calibration tools—on hand so they’re easily available whenever you need a replacement.
Tool storage and other organizational tools might seem like a basic addition to your workspace, but there’s no overstating how valuable they are. Proper tool organization allows workers to quickly and easily find exactly what they need, allowing them to get back to work with no delays.
Additionally, proper tool storage keeps your equipment safe. This in turn helps prevent scratches, dents, and other damage from tools jostling each other and wearing on each other over time. Implement an organizational system that stores tools safely in a way that supports your specific workflow and the standard practices of your team.
After you decide exactly what kinds of tools and equipment you want to invest in, you need to consider how these tools will serve you in the long run. Spending money on cutting-edge equipment that meets your current needs is great. However, you’ll have a poor return on investment if that equipment isn’t useful or effective after a year or so.
Think about factors like upgradability for equipment or ease of maintenance for tools. These kinds of perks will continue to enhance your operations and improve productivity in your machine shop for years to come.
When you need dependable machinist tools to bring your metalworking business to the next level, TMT Toolbox is the way to go. We offer a vast selection of turning tools and anything else you’ll need for your workflow. Explore high-quality products from top brands when you shop TMT Toolbox today.
In the manufacturing industry, quality control is one of the most important aspects for ensuring that products meet the required standards. In the metalworking industry—where precision is key—having accurate measurement tools can be the difference between producing high-quality products or defective ones. Read on to explore the role of measurement tools in quality control and why they are important in the metalworking industry.
The use of measurement tools in quality control ensures precision and accuracy in the production process. For instance, metalworkers use calipers to measure the diameter of a bolt head or the thickness of a sheet of metal, ensuring that the product’s dimensions are correct. Without accurate measurements, manufacturers risk producing faulty products that can lead to customer dissatisfaction and, in some cases, product recalls, which adversely affect a company’s reputation.
Achieve Consistent Production
Metalworkers need to produce precise and consistent parts or products. Precision measuring instruments allow workers to regularly measure and monitor output, ensuring that products are within the stated specifications. If there are any deviations from the specifications, the manufacturer can detect and correct them quickly. This helps ensure quality output while minimizing wasted time and materials.
Save Time and Money
Measurement tools in quality control also play a role in saving time and money for manufacturers. Measurement tools, such as digital measuring devices, are faster than human inspection. They allow for speedy measurements, saving valuable time that can lead to a more efficient workflow.
Additionally, timely identification of defects helps you minimize the materials and energy you put into a project that you will ultimately have to scrap. This helps you reduce waste and save money. For instance, identifying issues with a piece earlier in the production process allows for less time and material investment, therefore reducing the total costs of production.
Safety should always be a top consideration for manufacturers. By using measurement tools, manufacturers can improve production quality, avoid product recalls, and adhere to industry standards, government regulations, and other compliance needs. Accurate measurements ensure proper assembly of the final product, resulting in a safe product for the end-user.
Working with metal can be both rewarding and hazardous. If you're a metalworker, you understand this better than anyone else. From welding and cutting to bending and grinding, there are plenty of ways to injure yourself while working with metal. Your hands, in particular, are always at risk of injury. That’s why it’s vital to know the best practices for hand protection in the metalworking industry. Protect yourself so you can keep doing what you love with these handy safety tips.
Always Wear Gloves
The first and most important step in hand protection is wearing industrial safety gloves. Make sure that you wear gloves specifically designed for metalworking. Various types of gloves are available for different tasks, so choose the appropriate gloves based on the activity you are performing.
For example, if you're working with hazardous chemicals, you need chemical-resistant gloves to protect your skin from spills and splashes. On the other hand, you need gloves that offer cut resistance without sacrificing your grip and dexterity when using cutting instruments. Always wear gloves that fit snugly to get the best level of comfort and protection possible.
Practice Good Ergonomics
Proper hand position is essential to prevent injuries. Position your hands correctly when using a tool or machine. Make sure you have proper grip strength by using tools with handles that fit your hands. Avoid awkward angles that put unnecessary strain on your wrists. Also, take breaks regularly and stretch your hands and wrists to prevent cramps, stiffness, and muscle fatigue.
Avoid Loose Clothing
Another important metalworking tip for protecting your hands is to avoid wearing loose clothing, especially baggy sleeves. While they are great for protecting your forearms, loose or baggy clothing can get caught in machinery or tools, leading to serious injuries. Always wear fitted clothing and pay special attention to your sleeves and cuffs to prevent any loose threads or clothing from getting caught.
Keep Your Hands Dry
Moisture can make your gloves less effective and increase the risk of injury. If you're working in a humid environment, always keep a towel handy to dry your hands and gloves regularly. Sweaty hands can also make it difficult to grip tools, so dry your hands thoroughly before handling tools and materials.
Thread tapping is an essential process that allows metalworkers to create threaded holes that accommodate screws, bolts, and other fasteners. Despite its importance, thread tapping can be a challenging process that requires precision and careful attention to detail. From selecting the right tap to using the correct lubrication and cutting fluid, there are several factors that can impact the success of thread tapping in metal fabrication. Learn how to identify and solve common issues and find greater success in your machine shop with this guide to thread tapping troubleshooting.
Broken Thread Taps
When it comes to thread tapping troubleshooting, the first thing to consider is a broken thread tap. This issue can stem from a variety of factors, such as using the wrong material or tool size, insufficient drilling depth, or a difference in diameter between the tapping thread and the threaded bottom hole. Chip blockage or cutting speeds that are too fast can also lead to a broken tap. Additionally, it’s important to think about the hardness of both the tap and the material you’re working with. And another potential cause for a broken thread tap is wear and tear.
By double-checking these details and addressing any issues, you can find the source of the problem and make corrections to ensure a successful thread tapping process.
Broken Thread Tap Teeth
Another potential issue to watch out for during thread tapping troubleshooting is broken thread tap teeth. In this case, the thread tap itself may be functioning properly, but the teeth have sustained damage that prevents them from making clean cuts.
One possible cause of damaged teeth is an incorrect rake angle, but other factors, such as incorrect cutting thickness or hardness, can also play a role. Additionally, a worn thread tap is more prone to experiencing broken or damaged teeth. By paying attention to these details and analyzing potential sources of the problem, you can identify and address issues with broken thread tap teeth. Possible solutions include reducing the rake angle of the tap, increasing the cutting cone, or double-checking the cutting thickness or material hardness.
Excessive Wear on the Thread Tap
Tool wear and tear is unavoidable, but if you notice that your tools are wearing down faster than they should be, it’s likely a sign that something is wrong. One possible reason for excessive wear is using cutting speeds that are too high. Sharpening the tap improperly can also lead to excessive wear, including using the wrong sharpening parameters or creating burns during the sharpening process.
It’s important to consider material hardness as well; always use the appropriate type of thread tap for the material being used. Finally, using cutting fluid is essential for preserving the life of your tool. Be sure to choose a cutting fluid with good lubricity that’s appropriate for the specific thread tap drill bit you’re using. By addressing these factors, you can help prevent excessive wear on your thread taps and ensure they last as long as possible.
Wrong Thread Size
Another common issue that can arise during thread tapping is using the wrong thread size. Whether the thread is too big or too small, it can cause problems with the overall process. One typical cause of this issue is an incorrect tolerance level. If you’re dealing with oversized threads, it could be the result of an incorrect axial feed, lagging tap speed, or overfeeding from a faulty tool holder. To address these situations, it’s important to choose a tap with a lower tolerance level, double-check your application charts, and ensure that your feed rate is steady and controlled.
When dealing with undersized threads, excessive wear and tear on the tap, too much pressure, or an insufficient drill hole size could be the culprit. For these cases, consider choosing a tap with a higher tolerance, replacing worn-out taps, adjusting tap attachments, or increasing the diameter of the drill hole. By addressing these issues head-on, you can avoid the problems caused by using the wrong thread size and make sure your thread tapping process is as smooth as can be.
Reversal failure—when your tap breaks or malfunctions during reversal—can also cause problems for your tools or workpiece. This often occurs when you cut too tightly. To address this issue, consider increasing the cutting angle.
Another possible cause of reversal failure is a buildup of pressure or friction between the material and the tap, also known as galling. To reduce pressure, you can decrease the thread percentage. Additionally, it’s important to pay attention to metal chips. Chip buildup can cause excess pressure and friction and lead to galling and other problems. Prevent this by adjusting your lubrication, tap type, or cutting angle to avoid chip buildup and jams.
Built-up edge phenomenon, also known as BUE, is another issue to be aware of during thread tapping. This problem occurs when chips from the material you’re threading stick to the cutting tool, usually as a result of excess heat, pressure, or friction.
A built-up edge can visibly change the appearance of your tool, making it easy to identify as the problem. It can happen due to using worn or inefficient taps, a lack of lubricant, or choosing the wrong tap for the application. To prevent this issue, double-check your tools and ensure that your thread taps are sharp and in good condition. And make sure you’re using the right lubricants and coolants when threading to clear out chips, minimize friction, and reduce the risk of a built-up edge forming.
Excess Roughness Within the Thread
Excess roughness within a thread can prevent screws from threading smoothly and effectively, making it a frustrating issue during the thread tapping process. There are many different causes of this threading complication, such as using incorrect sharpening parameters or failing to properly maintain your tools. Additionally, working with a material that’s too hard for your tool, using the wrong cutting fluid, or cutting at too-high speeds can also lead to excess roughness within the thread.
To prevent this issue, take steps such as using the appropriate tap for the material you’re working with, making sure your taps are properly sharpened and maintained, and using the appropriate cutting fluid for your specific thread tap drill bit. Slowing down your cutting speeds and replacing worn taps can also help prevent excess roughness within the thread. By addressing these issues directly and taking preventative measures, you can ensure a successful and seamless thread tapping process.
Most Problems Have the Same Solutions
Have you noticed a trend with these issues? When it comes to thread tapping troubleshooting, many of the most common issues stem from the same mistakes. By double-checking parameters such as material hardness, thread tap type, and cutting speeds, you can prevent most of the major problems that affect the quality of your work. Similarly, prioritizing preventative maintenance—such as regular tool sharpening and cleaning—and investing in high-quality thread tap drill bits will help ensure a smoother, more successful cut for every piece you create.
Whether you’re repairing a part, building a machine from scratch, or performing routine maintenance, having the correct equipment can make all the difference in the world. What do you do when facing a unique application that requires a specialty tool? That’s where specialty machinist tools come in. We’ll explore the benefits of using specialty machinist tools for unique applications in your machine shop.
One of the biggest advantages of specialty machinist tools is their level of precision. These tools feature specific designs that perform a single function with absolute accuracy. Whether you’re drilling a deep hole, cutting an intricate shape, or threading a bolt, a specialty tool can help you achieve your desired result every time. This not only saves you time and money in the long run, but it also ensures your finished product meets your shop’s highest standards of quality.
Another benefit of using specialty tools for unique metalworking applications is their increased efficiency. Because of their unique and focused design, many of these tools enable you to perform tasks more quickly and with less effort than their standard counterparts.
You can cut a hexagonal or other polygonal shapes in one pass with a rotary broach, saving time and reducing the need for multiple tool changes. Similarly, you can create multiple holes of different sizes with a step drill, eliminating the need for a series of different-sized drills. By streamlining your processes and reducing your reliance on multiple tools, you can cut down on cycle times, boost productivity, and reduce the risk of errors.
Using the right tool for the job improves efficiency and accuracy and enhances safety in the workplace. By selecting the appropriate specialty tool, you can reduce the risk of injury to yourself and your colleagues. For example, a unique end mill designed for aluminum applications is less prone to chipping or breakage than a standard machine, which could pose a hazard to the operator or anyone nearby. In addition, specialty tools offer more ergonomic features, such as anti-vibration handles, which can reduce the risk of repetitive stress injuries.
Specialty machinist tools offer the opportunity for innovative solutions to unique metalworking challenges. By thinking outside the box and considering non-traditional tools and techniques, you may be able to achieve results that didn't seem possible before. This type of creativity expands your skill set as a metalworker, sets you apart from your competition, and positions you as an expert in your field.
Looking for the right tools to bring your metalworking operations to the next level? Browse reaming tools and other specialty machinist options at TMT Toolbox today.
Metalworking is an art that requires skill, knowledge, and experience. Any machinist knows that cutting metal is not only about removing materials but also ensuring precision and accuracy. Advanced metal cutting techniques are essential for achieving a smooth and flawless result with complicated pieces. In this guide, we'll explore some of the most effective advanced metal cutting techniques for experienced machinists.
Machining at high speeds is a popular advanced metal cutting technique that increases efficiency by using fast, low-pressure cuts. By rotating the tool at top speeds, high-speed machining can help you reduce cycle times and improve productivity. The key to this technique lies in choosing the right tool and implementing the best tool path and cutting parameters. With high-quality, well-maintained thread cutting end mills and other tools, high-speed machining can lead to significant reductions in manufacturing time and costs.
Laser cutting is a precision cutting technique that uses a high-intensity laser beam to cut through metal. Experienced machinists can use this technique to cut complex shapes and designs that they might not be able to achieve with conventional cutting tools. High precision and a narrow kerf make laser cutting ideal for working with thin sheets of metal. Keep in mind that laser cutting usually requires you to touch up the edges of your cuts for a smooth, clean finish.
Waterjet cutting is another advanced metal cutting technique that experienced machinists can use. It uses a high-pressure stream of water and abrasive particles to cut through metal, producing a smooth and precise cut. Waterjet cutting does not generate heat, which helps you avoid thermal damage, warping, and other distortions that affect the material's properties. Waterjet cutting also produces exceptionally clean and precise edges. You don’t need any additional finishing techniques to produce a clean and satisfactory cut.
Are you looking for ways to bring your machining shop to the next level? Our state-of-the-art tools and equipment can help. Visit TMT Toolbox today to explore our expansive selection of metal cutting tools for machinists across all industries.
In today's economy, reducing waste and costs is a top priority for businesses. This is especially true in metalworking, where the cost of materials and labor can be high. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce waste and costs in metalworking, and one of the most effective methods is to use metal cutting fluids. The right lubricants and coolants promote better efficiency, enhance tool performance, and do so much more. Learn more about reducing waste and costs with metal cutting fluids with this guide.
Enhance Cutting Performance
Metal cutting fluids are specifically designed to improve cutting performance, which ultimately leads to faster and more accurate cuts. This reduces the number of product rejects, which in turn minimizes the amount of waste generated during the metalworking process. By optimizing the performance of cutting tools, metal cutting fluids can have a direct impact on the overall productivity of metalworking operations.
Reduce Tool Wear
Cutting and shaping metal is hard work that wears down even the best tools over time. Metal cutting fluids provide a lubricating layer between the cutting tool and the metal being cut, reducing friction and heat. This lessens tool wear and prolongs the lifespan of your equipment. As a result, you reduce the need for repairs and replacements. With less frequent tool replacements, metalworkers can save a significant amount of money on tooling costs.
Improved Chip Control
One of the significant challenges in the metalworking process is chip control. During the cutting process, chips can accumulate around the work area. Excess chips, shavings, and other debris lead to safety concerns and reduced productivity. Metal cutting fluids can help improve chip control by carrying away the chips that accumulate during the cutting process, making the work area less cluttered. This leads to improved productivity and reduced waste.
Improved Surface Finish
A well-lubricated cutting tool produces a better surface finish than a poorly lubricated one. Improving surface finish is one of the best ways to reduce waste and costs with metal cutting fluids, as it can increase the product's value and minimize defective, unfinished, or rejected products. Metal cutting lubricants help in this endeavor by lubricating the cutting tool, thereby reducing the occurrence of chip marks and rough surfaces. Using metal cutting fluids properly creates a smoother and more consistent finish, increasing overall product value.
For metalworkers, grinding wheels are essential tools for smoothing, sharpening, and shaping metal surfaces. These wheels consist of different abrasive materials bonded to fiberglass layers. Each abrasive material offers different characteristics that makes it ideal for certain types of grinding operations. Learning your way around the different types of abrasives used in grinding wheels is essential for improving the efficiency and quality of your work. Read on to explore some of the most common abrasive types and their respective applications.
Aluminum oxide is the most common grinding wheel abrasive. It’s a versatile, cost-effective material that works with a wide variety of metals, including carbon, bronze, wrought iron, and alloy steel. Aluminum oxide is a tough and durable material with a sharp, fast cut. It’s a great standard option that delivers consistent quality and dependable performance for a variety of needs. That said, there are other abrasive options that offer a better cut rate and durability for more specialized needs.
Silicon carbide is a synthetic material that is harder and more brittle than aluminum oxide. It is excellent for grinding non-ferrous metals, such as aluminum, copper, and bronze. Silicon carbide is also ideal for grinding non-metal materials like stone or glass. The biggest advantage of silicon carbide abrasives is how sharp they are. This makes them ideal for projects that require a fast cut rate. However, because silicon carbide is so brittle, it doesn’t have the durability of other abrasives and requires replacing more often.
If you need a tough, long-lasting abrasive, zirconia alumina is the way to go. Zirconia alumina consists of a blend of aluminum oxide and zirconium oxide. It is harder, tougher, and more durable than most other abrasives. It has outstanding wear resistance and works well in high temperatures and pressures. This abrasive’s extreme strength makes it ideal for working with steel or steel alloys.
When you need high-quality metalworking abrasives, turn to TMT Toolbox. Our vast inventory includes many different types of grinding wheel abrasives, making it easy to find the perfect tool for your next job. Set yourself up for success when you stock up on high-quality tools from TMT Toolbox today.
Metalworking is a crucial craft that plays an invaluable role in a wide range of industries. There are plenty of things you need to learn if you’re going to run a successful metalworking shop, including what kinds of tools your workflow needs. From making your initial measurements to giving a piece a polished finish, every step of the metalworking process requires specialized tools that you can depend on. Learn your way around the most important tools every metalworking shop needs with this guide.
Metalworking relies on precision. That’s why measuring and marking tools are a critical part of designing, cutting, testing, and more. The right measuring tools help you ensure every cut you make is precise and accurate. Measuring tools also play a role in quality control and help you deliver high-quality pieces with every project you take on. Below are just a few examples of the most common measuring tools to include in your shop’s inventory.
Rulers, Protractors, and More
Sometimes, it’s the simplest tools that are the most useful. Rulers, measuring tapes, protractors, combination squares, and other common tools offer a handy way to create and mark precise measurements for a wide range of projects. Levels are another common but essential tool that can help ensure your project comes out even and balanced. Stocking up on these basic essentials is a great start to making sure your shop has everything it needs to create high-quality pieces.
Calipers are precision measuring instruments that consist of a scale and adjustable jaws that you can manipulate to determine internal or external distances of a piece. There are many different types of calipers, including vernier calipers that use a detailed metric scale, dial calipers with a dial indicator, and digital calipers with an LCD display.
Micrometers make it easy to measure short distances accurately. They’re extremely useful in determining the thickness of materials. They consist of an anvil and an adjustable spindle. The spindle moves to pinch the material you want to measure in place. From there, you can read the measurement either on the micrometer’s physical scale or, in some cases, on a digital display. Variations of this tool include inside micrometers, bore micrometers, and tube micrometers.
Metal Cutting Tools
Metal cutting tools should make up a huge portion of your equipment. From the repetition of a drill press to the versatility of a set of drill bits, you won’t get far without the right cutting tools at your disposal. Investing in high-quality drills, taps, and other cutting tools is the key to ensuring a sharp, precise cut every time you work on a piece.
The band saw delivers one of the most standard operations for metalworking shops: cutting a clean, straight line through metal. Band saws are safer and easier to use than handheld saws. They deliver cleaner and more accurate cuts, too. There are two types of band saws; vertical band saws remain stationary as you move the material across the blade, while horizontal band saws hold the working piece in place while you move the saw itself.
A drill press is a stationary drill that can drill multiple types of holes with extreme accuracy and consistency. One of the biggest advantages of drill presses is that they can deliver precise drilling specifications over and over again with better speed and reliability than other drilling tools.
You can’t run a shop without a dependable set of drill bits. Drill bits come in a wide variety of lengths, flute types, materials, and coating options. Matching the right drill bit to the specific project you’re working on is essential for achieving a clean, efficient, and accurate cut. That’s why it’s important to have a comprehensive set with a variety of drill bits to use for all the different types of metals and pieces you work with.
Like drill bits, thread taps are essential cutting tools that play a role in a vast range of projects. Thread cutting taps create the threading for screws. Like drill bits, there are a variety of thread taps and other tapping tools you can choose from, so it helps to invest in a tapping set with a versatile range of options.
Milling machines help cut and shape a piece through the use of rotary cutters. They aren’t as fundamental to a machine shop as drilling and threading tools, but milling is still an invaluable process for working with flat or irregularly shaped surfaces. Plus, with a wide variety of end mills, side mills, and other cutter options, your milling tools can be a powerful and versatile addition to your shop.
A project isn’t complete until it has a proper finish. The right finishing tools help clean up your workpiece and perfect its surface to improve the look and functionality of the piece. Much of the finishing process comes down to the types of grinders and abrasives you use.
An angle grinder is a handheld grinder option. Its light weight and easy portability make it an incredibly flexible tool that you can use for countless applications, especially if you choose a cordless model. In addition to acting as a grinding abrasive, angle grinders also serve as basic cutters. You can use them to clean and polish a workpiece as well, making them an essential part of the finishing process for many projects.
Bench grinders are the benchtop alternative to angle grinders. This powerful tool works well for rough grinding as well as finer applications like cutting, shaping, cleaning, and polishing. You can also use bench grinders to sharpen your drill bits and other metal cutting tools.
You can’t complete your finishing process without some kind of abrasive. There is a wide variety of abrasive options to choose from. Different materials and grit sizes affect whether a certain abrasive is good for grinding, honing, sanding, buffing, polishing, or other applications. Because abrasives play a role in so many critical tasks throughout your metalworking shop, it’s important to invest in a variety of high-quality materials to help get the job done.
Invest in Quality at TMT Toolbox
Keeping your business stocked with the most important tools every metalworking shop needs doesn’t have to be a hassle. When you choose TMT Toolbox as your machine tool supplier, you can shop a vast inventory of premium tools from top brands in the industry. Find everything you need to keep your shop running smoothly at TMT Toolbox.
Precision is of the utmost importance for metalworkers. That means the measuring equipment you use must always be in perfect working condition. A measuring tool helps ensure that the dimensions and shape of the product are in line with the design specifications.
If your measuring tool doesn’t work properly, it can slow down your processes, offer inaccurate measurements, and compromise the quality of your work. Keep your machine shop operations smooth and successful with these tips for proper care and maintenance for a measuring tool.
As with any tool, a lot of measuring tool maintenance practices come down to keeping everything clean. Dust, dirt, and debris can build up on the measuring surfaces and cause inconsistencies in your readings. To keep your measuring tools clean, wipe them down with a soft cloth after every use. Avoid abrasive materials and make sure the cloth is clean before you wipe down your measuring tools. Take extra care to remove dirt and oil, which can cause premature wear and corrosion.
Accuracy is the core attribute of any measuring tool. Over time, measuring tools can become less accurate due to wear and tear or exposure to environmental factors. That’s why calibration is an essential part of proper care and maintenance for measuring tools. Calibration will detect inaccuracies that can occur after accidental damage from rough handling, vibrations, improper storage, and other mishaps.
You can calibrate some measurement tools on your own by simply checking their readings against a standard measurement and then making adjustments or repairs to ensure your tool is accurate. However, some tools require more complex calibration performed by qualified professionals.
Finally, it’s important to store your precision measurement tools properly to maintain their accuracy and longevity. Keep them in a clean, dry location that is free from dust, dirt, and other contaminants that can cause damage. Store them in their protective cases or covers to prevent accidental damage, and properly label and organize each measuring tool so that you can find it quickly whenever you need it.
Industrial work requires the use of protective equipment, especially when handling dangerous materials or working with heavy machinery. One invaluable piece of protective equipment is safety gloves. However, not all gloves are created equal—each type serves a specific purpose. In this quick guide, we’ll take a look at the different types of safety gloves, their uses, and why they’re essential for safe and successful operations in your machine shop.
Disposable gloves usually consist of materials like latex, nitrile, or vinyl. They’re designed for workers to use them once, then throw them away. Their thin design preserves dexterity while offering protection against minor spills, splashes, sprays, or other contaminants. However, they’re not durable enough to handle more hazardous situations, such as handling sharp materials or strong chemicals.
As the name implies, cut-resistant gloves are designed to protect the hands from cuts and punctures. They’re ideal for tasks that involve handling sharp objects, such as glass, metal, or blades. They’re also crucial when working with abrasives like grinders or sanders. Cut-resistant gloves use materials like stainless steel mesh or high-performance aramid fibers; some gloves also incorporate hard linings using plastics or similar materials to enhance protection.
Chemical-resistant gloves are useful for industries that involve handling hazardous chemicals and materials. These gloves can resist the corrosive properties of liquid chemicals like acids or alkalis. The most common materials used in chemical-resistant gloves are neoprene, nitrile, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), with different materials offering better protection against different chemicals. For example, neoprene is a synthetic rubber that offers great protection when working with hydraulic fluids and oils. Choosing the right chemical-resistant gloves for the job is a key part of maintaining a safe and healthy workshop.
Electrical gloves, such as industrial rubber gloves, protect workers against electrical shock. They’re ideal for electricians and any workers who operate, repair, or otherwise handle electrical equipment. Electrical gloves are often bulkier and less dexterous than other types of safety gloves, but they feature careful designs that provide adequate insulation and prevent wearers from coming into contact with electrical currents.
TMT Toolbox offers a wide variety of industrial safety gloves to keep workers safe in all kinds of workshop environments. Stock up on gloves and other safety equipment when you visit us online today.
When it comes to creating holes or enlarging them, there are three key processes to consider—reaming, drilling, and boring. Each process is unique and requires specific tools and equipment to achieve the desired results. Knowing the differences between reaming, drilling, and boring will help you create the right cut in every project. Take a closer look at these three processes and explore the differences between them.
Drilling Creates a Hole
Drilling is the most common metalworking process of the three. It involves using a drill bit to create a hole in a piece of metal. The drill bit rotates at a high speed and presses into the workpiece, creating a circular hole. While a drill bit can create holes of various depths, it can’t create a hole wider than the drill bit itself. Drilling also creates a rough surface, which is why it’s often only the first stage of hole cutting.
Boring Enlarges a Hole
The biggest difference between reaming, drilling, and boring is that drilling creates a hole, while boring and reaming alter it. Once you drill a hole, you can then enlarge it by boring. Unlike drilling, boring uses a single-point cutting tool and requires an existing hole. A metalworker slowly feeds the boring bar into the workpiece, shaving off small amounts of metal with each pass. This increases the diameter of the hole and helps improve surface quality after drilling.
Reaming Creates a Smooth Finish
Reaming is a machining process that involves smoothing out a hole that you have already drilled or bored. Metalworkers use reamers to create holes with a high degree of accuracy and a smooth finish. Reaming also helps improve tolerance. Because the reaming process revolves around creating a high-quality finish, it involves minimal material removal and can’t substantially change the dimensions of the hole. However, you can use a reamer to change the shape of a hole, such as creating a tapered hole.
At TMT Toolbox, we have a vast selection of reamer drill bits for metal and other crucial metal-cutting tools. Explore our online inventory or talk to our team today to find the equipment you need to keep your workshop running smoothly.
Broaching is a metal cutting technique that allows manufacturers to create unusually shaped cuts quickly and easily. The process uses specialized metal cutting tools known as broaches. Because broaching involves creating unique cuts with a single stroke, metalworkers need their broaches to be precise and efficient. That’s why learning how to choose the right broaching tool for your application is so imperative.
With a thorough understanding of how broaches and broaching machines work, you can find the right tools for the job and create a clean, precise, and efficient cut every time. Implement a successful broaching workflow into your machine shop with this guide on everything you need to know about broaching and broaching tools.
What Is Broaching?
Many metal cutting processes involve straightforward cuts and shapes like straight lines or simple holes. But when you need a more complex cut, broaching might be the way to go. Broaches are thin bars with teeth that grow larger and larger down the length of the tool. With broaching, metalworkers can make irregular holes or surface cuts in shapes such as squares, hexes, or keyholes.
These types of cuts would be extremely difficult or expensive to produce without specialized broaching tools. However, the right broach can make these cuts quickly and smoothly. Metalworkers don’t even need to sand or finish the product after using a broach. As a result, broaching is an ideal process for pieces that require extreme precision or massive output.
How Do Broaches Work?
How do broaches achieve such great efficiency and precision? The answer lies in the tool’s design. The teeth along the bar of the broach work to remove metal from the workpiece as it cuts. Because the teeth grow progressively larger, each tooth removes slightly more material until the end of the broach, which is the exact shape of the cut the worker wants to make.
This allows the broach to act as its own finishing tool, with each progressive set of teeth making more and more precise cuts until you have a smooth, accurate, and complete cut. Moreover, the teeth work to carry away metal chips as they go, which helps the broach move efficiently and leaves a clean and smooth cut at the end of the broaching process.
Different Types of Broaches
As with many metal cutting tools, broaches come in a wide range of styles and options to suit different needs. A few common broach categories include round, spline, helical spline, standard keyway, and specialty broaches. However, there are still endless variations within these categories to help metalworkers find the right tool for their precise needs.
Round broaches are the most common and straightforward type of broaching tool. As the name implies, a round broach makes a round hole in the workpiece, similar to a drill press. However, round broaches tend to be faster and cleaner than drill presses and other metal cutting tools. Round broaches can also achieve a tighter tolerance. Round broaches are ideal for cutting holes quickly and accurately in high-volume projects that require mass production.
Spline broaches cut ridges, teeth, or notches into the perimeter of a pre-cut hole. This creates splines, which are invaluable designs in pieces like driveshafts, transmissions, and other automotive parts. The spline broach cuts evenly spaced ridges into the workpiece, allowing it to fit precisely with a mating piece and transfer torque without slipping or coming loose.
Helical Spline Broaches
Helical splines also create an evenly spaced set of notches into the interior of a pre-cut hole, but these ridges create a spiral shape instead of following a straight line. This design requires even greater precision than standard spline broaches, which is why helical spline broaches are so instrumental to the process. Helical splines are useful for manufacturing automotive parts, firearms, and other precise equipment.
Standard Keyway Broaches
One of the most common uses for broaches is cutting keyholes. These projects come in many different styles with countless potential requirements. Metalworkers might need to make a key-shaped hole in a workpiece, or they might need to cut notches into the perimeter of another hole to insert a key. While some keyhole projects require custom tools, a standard keyway broach is a good starting point for most keyhole cuts.
When a stock broach won’t fit your project, a specialty broach might be the best option. These are custom broaches that metalworkers can design and order to fit a specific shape or cut. Designing and using your own specialty broach is a great way to quickly and accurately produce a high volume of specific parts with as little cost or hassle as possible.
Different Broaching Machines
Broaches only make up one part of the broaching process. When learning how to choose the right broaching tool for your application, it’s also important to learn about the different types of broaching machines. Broaching machines work by either guiding the broach through the workpiece or guiding the workpiece through the broach. However, the most important role of a broaching machine is to position the broach and the workpiece precisely. This allows metalworkers to create a highly accurate cut for extremely precise parts. There are four main types of broaching machines: vertical, horizontal, surface, and rotary.
Vertical Broaching Machine
Vertical machines work by either pushing or pulling the broach vertically across the workpiece. These broaching options have a smaller footprint and work well with smaller projects that use short or lightweight broaches.
Horizontal Broaching Machine
Horizontal broaching machines only use pull broaching. The workpiece remains in place while the machine pulls the broach through the piece. Pull broaching is ideal for higher-volume applications. As such, horizontal broaching machines are best for operations that require more space or a greater power output.
Surface Broaching Machines
Unlike vertical and horizontal machines, which are ideal for internal cuts, surface broaching machines focus on creating exterior cuts along an outside edge of a workpiece. For example, say you need to cut grooves into the outer edge of a metal disc. A surface broaching machine can push the broach horizontally or vertically along the edge of the disc to make those cuts.
Rotary Broaching Machines
Rotary broaching machines come in two main variants: rotary continuous broaching and horizontal continuous broaching. Rotary continuous broaching machines use a rotating table to move the workpiece beneath a fixed broach in a circular motion. Horizontal continuous broaching machines have a chain that moves continuously through the workspace. Metalworkers fix the workpiece to the chain, which moves beneath a fixed broach in a straight line.
Finding the Right Cutting Tools at TMT Toolbox
Finding the right precision metal cutting tool for your project is key to creating a clean, accurate cut. Save time and materials when you visit TMT Toolbox—shop our vast range of metal cutting tools and other essential workshop equipment today.
Thread milling is a dependable and efficient way for metalworkers to cut threads into holes on a workpiece. It differs from thread tapping—which accomplishes the same task—because of its greater flexibility and finish quality. But what makes thread mills a better choice for metalworkers? Discover the advantages of thread milling and why you should consider it for your machine shop operations.
You Gain a Versatile Tool for Numerous Projects
Thread milling offers greater flexibility than tapping. Thread taps are efficient, but each tap can only create a singular thread size and type. Thread mill bits, on the other hand, can meet the needs of a wider set of applications. You can use the same thread mill bit for internal and external threads or left-hand and right-hand threads. As long as the thread matches the bit’s pitch, you can use a thread mill for it. Moreover, thread milling allows for custom thread designs without the need for designing and manufacturing custom taps.
You’ll See Improved Thread Quality
Quality is perhaps the most important advantage of thread milling, which is why you should consider it for your operations. Thread mills are better than thread taps at moving chips and debris away from the piece as you work. Without debris getting in the way, you can create a cleaner, smoother, and more precise cut. Better chip evacuation creates better tolerance and angle. Most importantly, it achieves a finer surface finish for the thread.
You Can Handle Stronger Metals
The same superior cutting qualities that give thread milling operations a better surface finish also make it easier to work with difficult materials. Thread mills are more successful against workpieces that feature stronger metals like hardened steel or titanium. These materials are difficult to work with when you use thread taps or other metal cutting tools, but thread mills navigate them with ease and efficiency. This allows you to work with a wider variety of pieces in your machine shop without sacrificing the quality or reliability of your work.
If you work with metal, you know just how critical cutting fluid is to the success of your machining processes. Cutting fluid can help improve your tool life, enhance surface finishes, and prevent workpiece damage. That’s why it’s crucial to choose the right cutting fluids for every specific project you take on. Learn your way around factors like materials and working conditions with this guide to choosing the right cutting fluid for your machining process.
Know That Materials Matter
Different cutting fluids are designed for specific materials, so before you select a cutting fluid, you need to determine the material of the workpiece you are cutting. Metals that are easy to work with, such as aluminum, cast iron, and copper, don’t need as much lubrication as harder metals like stainless steel or high-speed steel alloys.
Lubrication isn’t the only thing to consider, though. You also need to factor in the amount of debris the material creates during the cutting process. Metals like cast iron and copper alloys form a lot of metal chips, so they need a cutting fluid with better cleaning properties to prevent those chips from sticking to the workpiece or the cutting tools.
Consider the Machining Operations
Different machining operations require different cutting fluids. For instance, high-speed machining requires low-viscosity cutting fluid to reduce heat and prevent chip melting. Conversely, heavy-duty machining may require a high-viscosity cutting fluid that can handle extreme pressure and heat generated by the cutting tool. When choosing the right cutting fluid for your machining process, consider the air temperature, coolant pressure, and flow rate of your operations. This will help you find the option that offers the best balance of lubrication, cooling, and chip removal.
Understand the Environmental Impact
It is essential to consider the environmental impact when choosing a cutting fluid. Many cutting fluids contain hazardous chemicals that can cause environmental harm and pose a health risk to metalworkers if they aren’t handled properly. Make sure you have best practices for storage, handling, and disposal in place before you purchase these kinds of liquids. You can also choose synthetic or water-soluble cutting fluids as an alternative since they are free of harmful chemicals. Additionally, using cutting fluids with low VOC emissions can create a safer work environment for metalworkers while reducing the impact on the environment.
TMT Toolbox makes it easy to find the right metal cutting oil for your machine shop. Explore our extensive range of metal cutting fluids and lubricants when you visit us online today.
Every metalworker understands the importance of having the right tools, but what happens when those tools start to wear out or break down? The lifespan of a machine shop tool varies depending on how often you use it and what type of work it does. However, holding on to tools long after they’ve stopped performing properly can cause serious problems for your workflow.
Luckily, there are a few ways to recognize that it’s time to trade in your old tools for something new. Keep an eye out for these signs you need to replace your machine shop tools.
Increased Maintenance and Repair Costs
As machine tools become outdated, the frequency of repairs and maintenance tends to increase. Ultimately, this can lead to more costly breakdowns and unwanted downtime in the production process. If you find yourself spending more on repairs than you do on new equipment, it may be time to upgrade. Investing in new or better equipment will save you both time and money when it comes to repairs and maintenance.
Vibrating machines indicate wear and tear. If your machinery is vibrating more than usual, then there might be a problem with the bearings, belts, or gears. In some cases, this might just be a sign that certain parts need lubrication. However, it’s important to perform a full inspection to identify any necessary repairs or see if the machine needs a full replacement.
Dull Cutting Edges
Cutting edges on drills, lathes, and milling machines need to be sharp to ensure accurate and precise cuts. Over time, the continuous use of these tools can cause the cutting edges to wear down. When the cutting edges wear out, it can result in poor quality, inaccurate cuts, and rough workpieces. It can also put more stress on the machines, causing them to work harder than they need to. This increases wear and tear and eventually shortens the machines’ lifespan. If you notice any signs of dullness or bluntness on the cutting edges and you can no longer sharpen them properly, it’s time to replace them.
Wear and Tear
One of the most noticeable signs that you need to replace your machine tools is wear and tear. Metalworking tools are subject to extreme friction, heat, and force. This causes them to wear out over time. High wear levels on your shop tools can lead to product damage, inconsistent tolerances, and excessive tooling expenses. Therefore, it’s essential to regularly assess your machine shop tools for excessive wear and make replacements accordingly.
When it’s time to replace your tools, turn to the extensive selection of machinist supplies at TMT Toolbox. Whether you’re looking for specific drill bits or significant machine upgrades, we can help you find the tools you need to keep your machine shop running smoothly.
Drilling is a crucial process in metalworking. If you want to cut pieces with accuracy and success, you need to be able to handle your drill effectively. Whether you’re a seasoned metalworker or just starting out in the trade, it’s essential to know the ins and outs of the metal drilling process. Gather some pro tips and brush up on best practices with this complete guide to drilling through metal safely, accurately, and successfully.
Always Wear Proper PPE
Before you do anything in your workshop, you need to gear up with the right protective equipment. Never cut metal without safety glasses to protect your eyes from metal chips and other flying debris. It’s also essential to wear gloves. Choose a durable pair that can withstand scratches from rough metal edges, but make sure your gloves aren’t so thick that you lose dexterity.
Long sleeves are also a good idea for protecting your arms. Just be sure to avoid baggy sleeves that can get caught in tools and workpieces. Long hair can also get caught, so tie your hair back to keep it out of the way and out of your face.
Secure Your Workpiece
If your workpiece is loose, it will start to move around when you drill. In a best-case scenario, the piece will shift and vibrate, throwing off your drill and creating sloppy, inaccurate cuts. In a worst-case scenario, though, the loose metal is a serious safety hazard for you and anyone working around you.
Make sure you secure your workpiece before you start drilling. Never hold a workpiece in your hand, even if it’s small; you can lose your grip or end up cutting yourself with the piece or the tool. Instead, clamp the piece to your work surface to hold it securely in place. If you’re drilling into thin sheet metal, smooth it out and sandwich it between two pieces of wood to make sure it stays flat and secure as you work.
Mark and Dimple Your Metal
Dimpling your metal before you drill is a key step to ensure accuracy and precision as you work. It also helps steady your drill bit, preventing awkward angles as you drill your hole. Measure where you want your hole to be and mark it lightly with a pen or pencil. Next, you want to create a dimple—a tiny dip in the metal that will help keep your drill bit in place once you start working. Use a center punch or a nail and tap it lightly with a hammer to create your dent.
Choose the Right Drill Bit
If you want to make clean, accurate cuts without wasting a lot of time and energy, you need the right drill bit. Pay attention to both material and style as you select your bit.
For material, it’s important to match your drill bit to the type of metal you’re working with. High-speed steel bits are a common and versatile choice that work well with softer metals like aluminum, copper, and brass. However, they wear down quickly if you try to use them on harder metals. For tougher or more abrasive metals—like cast iron, stainless steel, and titanium—you want to use a carbide or high-speed cobalt drill bit.
The length and flute of your drill bit are also important. Always look for the shortest bit that can make your cut, because longer bits are more prone to breaking—especially if you don’t need their full length to drill your hole. As for flute types, a parabolic flute design offers a cleaner cut and smoother finish for softer metals, while a standard flute gives you better control when working with harder metals.
Use Cutting Fluids
It’s always a good idea to use cutting fluids when you drill. Whether you use a coolant to reduce heat buildup or a lubricant to improve your cut and wash away chips as you work, cutting fluids are a critical part of drilling clean, accurate holes.
To choose the right cutting fluid for your application, consider the material you’re working with. Softer metals tend to require less lubrication because they don’t produce as much friction with your drill bit, but they do create more metal chips as you drill. For this reason, you want to prioritize fluids that help wash away chips. Harder metals, on the other hand, call for fluids with high lubrication to prevent overheating as you cut.
No matter what you’re drilling, always start with a slow rotation speed for your bit. Some metals—like stainless steel or hardened steel—require a slower drilling speed. However, it’s important to start slow even when you’re working with softer metals. A slower rotation speed prevents unnecessary friction and gives you more control as you start creating your hole. If you need to, you can increase the rotation speed once you’ve started the hole.
It’s also a good idea to keep your holes small to begin with, even if you need to make a larger hole. Starting small gives you more precision and control as you make your initial cut. It also prevents you from accidentally drilling the hole too big and ruining the piece.
You can always enlarge the hole later on either with a different drill bit or a boring bar. Alternatively, you can invest in a step bit to make a wide range of hole sizes with a single bit.
Create a Smooth, Neat Finish
Once you have the right shape and length for your hole, the final step in this guide to drilling through metal is to create a smooth finish. Drills often create rough cuts that you need to neaten and polish before the piece is complete.
There are several different finishing methods you can use depending on the results you want. Deburring tools grind away any burrs lingering in and around the hole, creating a smooth, neat finish. You can also use a reaming tool to smooth out the hole, improve tolerance, and even change the shape to create a tapered hole.
Find Drilling Solutions at TMT Toolbox
When you combine your drilling knowledge with high-quality metalworking tools, you can make sure every project is a success. TMT Toolbox offers an incredible variety of drill bits for cutting steel and other metals. Visit our website today to explore our vast online inventory or contact our team to find the specific product you need for your next project.
Cutting metal is a critical aspect of metal art, and using the right tool is a crucial factor in the success of your creations. With so many options available on the market, though, choosing the right cutting tool can be overwhelming. Make sure you have everything you need to make your hobby or business a success with this quick guide to using metal cutting tools for your metal art projects.
Understanding Metal Cutting Tools
Metal cutting tools range from power tools to manual tools. They include saws, drills, grinders, lathes, thread mills and taps, and more. Each tool has a unique function and is designed for specific metal types, thicknesses, and projects. Before choosing a cutting tool, it’s crucial to understand the nature of your project, including the type and thickness of the metal you will be using.
Following Safety Procedures
It is essential to understand applicable safety procedures when working with metal cutting tools. First and foremost, always wear personal protective equipment (PPE). This includes eye protection, hearing protection, gloves, and a respirator if necessary. You should also have a clean and well-ventilated workspace, as metal cutting tools create fumes and smoke that could be harmful if you inhale them.
It’s best to work in a well-lit, spacious area with no flammable materials nearby. You should also ensure that your cutting tool is in good condition, with sharp blades and no loose components.
Preparing Your Metal for Cutting
Before cutting your metal, you must prepare it for the cutting process. Stabilize the metal by clamping it on a sturdy surface so it won’t shift or vibrate during the cutting process. Measure and mark the cut lines with a pencil or a marker to ensure precise cuts.
Finishing Your Cut
Finishing your cut is the final step to using metal cutting tools for metal art. Once you’ve made all your cuts, you’ll need to finish them to give your piece a professional, polished look. This means removing any burrs or rough edges left by the cutting tool. You can use a metal file, sandpaper, or an angle grinder to smooth out the edges.
Take care when finishing your cut, as this is where many accidents occur. Always wear your PPE and maintain a firm grip on the cutting tool. Take your time to ensure a smooth, even finish on your metal.
Whether you’re an experienced professional or an amateur enthusiast, you can find the steel cutting tools you need to make metal art at TMT Toolbox. Browse our incredible variety of cutting tools, finishing tools, safety equipment, and so much more when you visit us online today.
Metalworking is an intricate and fascinating craft that relies on various tools and techniques to create precision parts and components. One of the most essential tools in metalworking is the milling machine, which uses cutting tools to remove material from the workpiece. There are two primary types of milling machines: horizontal and vertical milling machines. Learn more about each machine type and the role they play in a metalworking shop with this guide to the differences between horizontal and vertical milling.
Cutting Tool Orientation
The first and most apparent difference between horizontal and vertical milling machines is their orientation. A horizontal milling machine has a horizontal spindle and operates on a horizontally oriented table. The cutting tool rotates on the horizontal spindle and moves back and forth across the table to make cuts into the workpiece.
On the other hand, a vertical milling machine has a vertically oriented spindle and operates on a vertically oriented table. The cutter moves up and down while the workpiece remains on the table.
One of the most important differences between horizontal and vertical milling that machinists need to be aware of is each machine’s cutting capabilities. Horizontal milling machines are ideal for rough cuts, such as slotting, grooving, and contouring, because they use heavier cutting tools that can remove more material per pass. They are also excellent for manufacturing large parts in large quantities.
Vertical milling machines use lighter cutting tools that are less stable. As a result, trying to make deep cuts with a vertical mill can cause the workpiece to wobble or vibrate, which leads to inaccurate cuts, broken cutting tools, and other problems. Vertical milling machines are ideal for lighter, more precise work, such as cutting internal threads, gears, and other complex shapes.
Horizontal milling machines tend to be more expensive due to their size, weight, and complexity. They require larger workspaces, more powerful motors, and robust support structures to handle the heavy-duty work they’re designed to do. Vertical milling machines are generally less expensive and require less space. Moreover, because vertical milling machines are more common, workers tend to be more familiar with them and need less training than they would with horizontal milling machines.
Learning the ins and outs of milling machines will help you set your machine shop up for success. Make sure you have all the tools you need to conduct your milling operations safely and efficiently when you purchase metal milling tools from TMT Toolbox. Shop online today or contact our team to find the exact parts you need to improve productivity in your business.
When it comes to drilling through tough metals, it’s important to have high-quality drill bits that can easily penetrate the material. One factor that plays a crucial role in the efficiency of drilling is the helix angle of the drill bit. Read on to learn more about what helix angles are and how they affect machining efficiency.
What Is a Helix Angle?
A drill bit’s helix angle is the angle at which the flutes spiral around the drill bit’s axis. The flutes are the grooves on the drill bit that help carry away debris and allow coolant to flow through the drill bit. Helix angles can range from low (less than 30 degrees) to high (over 40 degrees). For most applications, you want a drill bit with an angle of around 30 degrees. However, there are some projects where a low or high helix will be more beneficial for your piece.
Medium Helix Angles
For most general-purpose drilling applications, medium helix angles of 30 to 40 degrees are the most appropriate. They offer a balance between the efficient chip removal of high helix angles and the strength and stability of low helix angles. Because of this, medium helix angle drill bits can efficiently drill through a variety of metals.
Low Helix Angles
Low helix angles create a stronger cross-section, which means they’re ideal for drilling through harder metals. Because of their shallow spiral, they are also less likely to grab onto the material and cause it to twist or distort.
However, low helix angle drill bits are not able to remove material as quickly as higher helix angles, and they require more pressure to penetrate the material. They also create a rougher finish, which means extra steps in the process if you want a clean, polished look for your piece.
All in all, low helix angles are slower than alternative options, but they’re the most reliable bits when you’re working with tougher materials.
High Helix Angles
High helix angles enable high feed rates and efficient chip evacuation, which means they’re great for keeping your cuts clean and easy to work with. They also create a smoother finish than low helix angle bits, so you’re less likely to need a separate finishing process.
That said, the tighter helix creates thinner teeth that are more prone to breaking, especially if you’re working with harder metals. High helix angles require more care and can’t handle as much pressure as low helix angles. This can slow down the process when working with tougher materials.
Understanding the effect of drill bit helix angles on machining efficiency is key to keeping your work smooth, fast, and free of errors. That’s why TMT Toolbox offers an incredible variety of drill bits for your machine shop. Stock up on the tools you need when you explore our selection of metal cutting drill bits online today.
In today's rapidly evolving manufacturing sector, companies are constantly looking for ways to optimize their production processes to stay competitive and reduce costs. One critical aspect of this is improving machining efficiency. A more efficient workflow allows you to increase productivity while preserving quality, safety, and dependability.
But how do you make sure efficiency remains a priority without sacrificing the quality of your work? The key is to eliminate waste, invest in quality tools and resources, and implement thoughtful strategies that empower employees to produce their best work. By prioritizing these and other strategies, metalworkers can streamline their operations, save on resources, and ultimately contribute to a more efficient and cost-effective manufacturing process. Explore our guide on how to improve machining efficiency in manufacturing and discover actionable tips you can use in your business.
Implement Automation Technologies
Automation technologies have become an integral part of modern manufacturing processes due to their ability to reduce human intervention and increase efficiency. Remember that automated solutions aren’t supposed to replace human employees. Instead, they should handle mundane processes so that your employees are free to spend more time and energy on the complex tasks they specialize in.
For example, automation can help improve accuracy and organization in data-driven tasks such as inventory management. Machine monitoring systems are another useful technology that helps monitor the health and performance of your machining equipment in real time. Solutions like these help with maintenance and upkeep for your supply chain, equipment, and other aspects of your business so that you can worry less about administrative tasks and more about your machining workflow.
Invest in Quality Materials and Tools
Quality materials and tools directly impact efficiency and quality. There are several factors to consider when investing in materials and tools.
Start by selecting the right cutting tools. The right cutting tool will enhance your machining efficiency and the quality of your product. Consider factors like the cutting speed, the material being cut, and the hardness of the cutting edge when selecting a tool.
You should also invest in high-performance tool holders. Tool holders increase precision and rigidity during machining, making it easier to handle your tools and create a clean, accurate cut. Finally, choose premium cutting fluids. Quality cutting fluids can improve machining efficiency by reducing heat, minimizing friction, and prolonging the life of your cutting tools. Opt for cutting fluids specifically designed for your machining application to get the best results.
Minimize Material Waste
Reducing material waste in the manufacturing process helps more than just the environment; it also minimizes the amount of time, energy, and resources you spend on unnecessary waste.
One way to minimize material waste is to reclaim unused material. Collect and recycle leftover materials from completed machining processes to reduce waste and cut down on the cost of materials.
It’s also important to make the most of your tools and materials while you have them. For example, properly cleaning, maintaining, and storing cutting tools helps reduce wear and tear so that you don’t have to discard the tool as quickly. Similarly, laying out projects carefully to make the most of your material before scrapping helps minimize the amount of scrap metal you throw out. Even small practices like these can preserve a lot of material—and therefore save you a lot of time and money—in the long run.
Keep Your Workspace Organized
An organized workspace is the foundation for efficient machining in manufacturing. Maintaining a clutter-free environment and properly storing tools and materials can go a long way in ensuring production runs smoothly.
Start with your floor layout. A well-planned floor layout is essential to minimize wasted time and motion. Consider implementing a cellular manufacturing layout to group machines and processes according to the steps required for a specific product or task. This helps cut down on unnecessary movement, boosting overall efficiency.
Tool and material storage is also important to consider. Organized storage solutions for tools and materials not only save time but help reduce the risk of damage or misplacement. You can use storage cabinets, tool cribs, and shadow boards to keep everything in its proper place. Also, consider incorporating an inventory management system to track and monitor the usage of materials and tools for better replenishment and maintenance planning.
Developing standardized procedures for your workforce promotes uniformity and best practices. A standardized workflow ensures everyone follows the same steps, increasing productivity and reducing potential mistakes.
Create clear and concise standard operating procedures for your staff to minimize process deviations and allow for more efficient training. Provide everyone with a checklist to follow to keep them on track and produce the best results.
Establish Quality Control at Every Step
Quality control is crucial in maintaining a high standard of products and services. By implementing quality control measures at every step of the production process, you can prevent mistakes from reaching the final stage, thereby avoiding costly reworks or scrapped projects.
Instead of relying solely on end-of-line quality checks, implement in-process inspections to identify and address potential issues early on. This approach helps reduce bottlenecks and promotes a culture of continuous improvement.
Follow Preventative Maintenance Procedures
Regular maintenance is a fundamental part of improving machining efficiency in manufacturing. Stay on top of your preventative maintenance regimen by:
- Inspecting your equipment regularly
- Cleaning machines thoroughly and routinely
- Lubricating moving parts
- Checking critical components for wear and tear
Having a well-planned maintenance schedule and strictly adhering to it can prevent costly breakdowns and downtime. Routine maintenance will also identify any issues early on, allowing you to address them before they turn into costly problems.
Always Look for Improvements
The world of manufacturing is constantly evolving, and staying at the cutting edge of the industry can make a dramatic difference in your efficiency levels. Adopting a continuous improvement mindset allows your business to stay ahead of the curve. Encourage employees to suggest and implement process improvements and constantly reevaluate your standard procedures to keep them up to date with the latest innovations and industry trends.
Keep Employee Training Up to Date
Your employees play a crucial role in enhancing machining efficiency. Ensuring they're well-versed in the latest techniques and technologies will directly impact your facility's overall efficiency. Some ways to ensure your employees remain up to date in their knowledge and skills include:
- Scheduling regular training sessions, both in-house and at external facilities
- Encouraging employees to attend relevant industry conferences and workshops
- Fostering a culture of collaboration to ensure everyone constantly learns from one another
At the end of the day, an empowered, well-trained workforce is much more likely to identify efficiency-enhancing opportunities on the shop floor.
Empower Efficiency With TMT Toolbox
At TMT Toolbox, we have everything you need to ensure your machine shop continues to operate smoothly. Discover a vast inventory of milling cutters and other metal cutting tools and equipment when you visit us online today.
If you’re in the market for a new lathe machine, it can be difficult to know what to look for. After all, a lathe machine is a big investment, and you want to make sure you’re spending your money on a tool that meets all your needs.
Reviewing different features and comparing your options will help you make an informed decision regarding the right lathe for your business or personal workshop. As you shop around, remember what to look for when buying a lathe machine.
Horsepower and Speed Range
The horsepower of a lathe machine is an indicator of how much power the motor can produce. The more powerful the lathe machine, the more challenging materials it can handle. That said, power alone isn’t everything. You also want to look for adjustable speed settings. The speed range determines how fast or slow the lathe spindle can turn. The more control you have over your turning speed, the more versatility you have in your workflow. This allows you to work with a wider variety of pieces and materials.
Size and Capacity
One of the most important things to consider when buying a lathe machine is its size and capacity. Lathes come in various sizes, so make sure you choose one that can handle the material sizes you will be working on. Pay special attention to the turning diameter and bed length, as these dimensions determine what size pieces you can turn on your lathe. Remember that the bed length needs to be longer than the turning length to safely fit your workpieces.
Brand and Price
While price shouldn’t be the only deciding factor, it is still essential to consider. Buying a cheaper machine may save money in the short term, but it might end up costing you more in repairs and replacement parts in the long run.
Look for a lathe that features high-quality materials and heavy-duty construction. These features will keep the machine in good condition even after years of use. It’s also important to choose a reputable brand with a track record of producing quality machines that are reliable and durable.
Whether you’re looking for a lathe machine or all of the pieces and accessories that go with it, TMT Toolbox can help. Our online inventory includes an incredible range of metal lathe turning tools to make your workflow easy, precise, and successful. Shop with us today or talk to our team to find the parts you need to make every metalworking project a success.
Threaded holes are essential components in many mechanical designs. They act as the connection point for bolts, screws, and other fasteners that hold everything together. However, if the quality of a threaded hole is poor, it can cause a range of problems like decreased strength, reduced durability, and even product failure.
Creating a pristine internal thread can be challenging, but with the right tools and knowledge, you can consistently create successful threads for your workpieces. Explore a few ways to improve the quality of threaded holes and ensure that they are as durable as possible.
Use the Right Tools
One of the most important factors in creating a high-quality threaded hole is using the right tools. The right drill bit, tap, and other tools will ensure that you make a clean, precise hole that is the right size and shape and fits correctly with the fastener. Using incorrect tools, such as a drill bit that’s too small or a tap that’s too large, can lead to problems like stripped screws or bolts, which can be costly to repair.
Select the Proper Material
The material you’re working with will influence what kind of tap you use, your tapping speed, and so much more. Avoid using a tap with a similar hardness to the metal you’re working with, as this can generate excess heat and friction, wear down the tool, and strip the thread as you make it.
Use a Tapping Lubricant
Tapping lubricant is one of the most important things to remember when trying to improve the quality of a threaded hole. Lubricant reduces heat, keeps the cutting process smooth, and helps wash chips away as you work. Without lubricant, those chips can catch in the workpiece and act as grit, wearing down your cut and stripping the thread. Using the proper lubricant makes the process more efficient while also improving the quality of your cut.
Equip Yourself for Success With TMT Toolbox
If you want to improve your threading process, TMT Toolbox can help. Stock up on a versatile range of high-quality cutting taps to make your operations as efficient and reliable as possible. Explore these and other cutting tools when you browse our online inventory today.
Selecting the right abrasive for surface finishing can feel overwhelming, given the plethora of options available on the market. Your choice of abrasive significantly impacts the quality of the finish, the speed of operation, and even the lifespan of your tools. Discover some tips for choosing the proper abrasive for surface finishing to make this selection process easier.
Consider the Abrasive’s Hardness
The hardness of an abrasive is a critical factor when selecting the right abrasive for your surface finishing task. Hardness refers to the abrasive’s resistance to penetration and deformation, directly translating to its cutting power. The harder the abrasive, the greater its ability to cut through materials.
Choosing an abrasive with the right hardness ensures an efficient operation. An abrasive that’s too hard might result in excessive wear on the surface, while one that’s too soft may not effectively remove the material. Therefore, understanding the hardness of an abrasive, typically represented on the Mohs scale, is vital for achieving the desired finish and extending the life of your tool.
Consider the Abrasive’s Density
Density is another essential attribute to consider when selecting an abrasive for surface finishing. In the context of abrasives, density refers to the weight of the abrasive per unit volume. The higher the density, the more aggressive the abrasive is, leading to a faster and deeper cutting action. Conversely, lower-density abrasives are less aggressive and offer a gentler, more controlled cutting action, which may be ideal for delicate surface finishing tasks.
The density of the abrasive influences the finish quality, removal rate, and even how quickly the abrasive wears away during use. Therefore, determining the appropriate abrasive density is crucial in balancing between aggressive material removal and preserving the integrity of the surface you’re working on.
Consider the Abrasive’s Shape
The shape of an abrasive is another critical aspect to bear in mind when selecting the appropriate abrasive for surface finishing. This factor can significantly influence the surface profile and how the abrasive interacts with the material. There are various abrasive shapes, each with unique functionality and purpose. For example, angular abrasives have sharp edges and points, making them suitable for heavy-duty applications requiring significant material removal.
On the other hand, rounded abrasives have a smooth and round shape, making them best suited for delicate surface finishing applications where maintaining the surface’s integrity is crucial. By carefully considering the abrasive’s shape, you can tailor your selection to meet the specific needs of your surface finishing task, ensuring optimal performance and the desired surface profile.
Now that you understand the important considerations when picking an abrasive for surface finishing, you can make better decisions regarding your projects. By carefully weighing these factors, you can optimize your operations and ensure a high-quality, consistent finish every time. Check out TMT Toolbox’s selection of abrasives, including our metal finishing abrasives, and work on your surface finishing tasks with the right abrasive in hand.
As a cornerstone of manufacturing and craftsmanship, lathes are critical in shaping and forming various materials, including metal, wood, and plastic. Though the basic principles of a lathe remain consistent, the cutting tools used can greatly differ, as each is designed for specific tasks and materials. Ahead, we provide the ultimate guide to the different types of lathe cutting tools, so you understand their unique functionalities and applications to make the most of your lathe work.
Turning tools, as the name suggests, are used in the process of turning, where a workpiece rotates while the cutting tool moves along the surface to remove material. This process creates symmetrical objects with smooth, even surfaces. The tool is often composed of a hard, heat-resistant material such as tungsten or carbide, allowing it to maintain a sharp edge even at high temperatures. You can alter the shape and angle of the cutting edge on a turning tool to create a variety of shapes and effects on the workpiece, offering a wealth of precision and customization in lathe work.
Facing tools are another essential type of cutting tool. These tools are specifically designed for facing operations—that is, cutting a flat surface perpendicular to the tool axis, typically at the end of a workpiece. Like turning tools, facing tools are usually made from materials like tungsten or carbide that can withstand the heat and pressure generated during operation.
The facing operation involves moving the tool across one end of the workpiece in a series of even, slightly overlapping paths. This movement reduces the piece's length, creates a smooth, flat surface, and ensures a right-angle cut relative to the workpiece's axis. Through precise control and adjustment, facing tools can create surfaces with exceptional smoothness and dimensional accuracy.
Primarily used in boring operations, these tools help enlarge an existing hole in a workpiece. The process involves placing the boring tool inside the hole and rotating the workpiece while the tool cuts or shaves off material along the hole's interior. The boring tool, typically crafted from robust materials like carbide or high-speed steel, can be adjusted to achieve the desired hole diameter and depth.
In addition to expanding holes, lathe boring tools can also be utilized for cutting tapers and finishing the internal surfaces of a hole to a high degree of accuracy. They are especially useful for creating large, precise holes that cannot be made with a drill bit. Through the adept application of boring tools, machinists can ensure the precision and quality of the internal features of their workpieces.
Parting-off tools, also known as cut-off tools, constitute another important group of lathe cutting tools. These tools are specifically engineered for a process called parting off, which involves cutting a workpiece to separate a finished part from the main body. The parting-off tool is typically thin and rectangular, with a cutting edge along one of the longer edges. It is inserted into the workpiece while it's rotating, cutting deeply and directly into the material. This action severs the part from the rest of the workpiece.
Parting-off tools are usually made from high-speed steel or carbide to withstand the pressure and heat generated during cutting. They are particularly useful in mass production settings where parts need to be quickly and efficiently separated from the main material body. Operators can optimize production efficiency and achieve high-quality finishes by using parting-off tools.
Knurling tools represent another category of lathe cutting tools that primarily serve to impart a regularly patterned surface on a workpiece. Unlike other lathe tools that cut or remove material, a knurling tool manipulates the workpiece's surface to produce a textured pattern, often for grip enhancement or aesthetic purposes. The tool features a set of hardened steel wheels, or knurls, that have specific patterns etched into them.
During the knurling process, the tool is pressed against the rotating workpiece, whereby the pattern on the knurls is embossed onto its surface. One of the key aspects of knurling tools is their adjustability, allowing for the control of the pattern depth and spacing on the workpiece. Although not primarily a material-removing tool, the knurling tool plays a significant role in lathe operations by adding functionality and aesthetics to the final product.
These tools are primarily used for creating threads, a ridged surface on a workpiece, typically seen on screws, bolts, and similarly shaped objects. The threading process, conducted on a lathe, involves the tool being steadily brought into contact with the rotating workpiece, with the tool's cutting edge gradually carving out the thread pattern. Thread-cutting tools feature a pointed tip with an angle that corresponds to the thread configuration being cut.
These tools are typically made from highly heat-resistant materials such as carbide or high-speed steel, ensuring durability and accuracy during the thread-cutting process. With its precision and versatility, the thread-cutting tool enables the creation of both external and internal thread forms, offering machinists a high level of control over the workpiece's final form and function.
Taper-turning tools are a specialized subset of lathe cutting tools designed to produce tapered or conical shapes in a workpiece. This can include external tapers, like the outer surface of a cone, and internal tapers, like a funnel. The taper-turning process involves the tool being moved at an angle to the axis of workpiece rotation. The angle of this movement corresponds to the desired taper angle on the workpiece, with a steeper angle producing a more pronounced taper.
The cutting edge of the taper turning tool is typically made from a strong, heat-resistant material such as tungsten or carbide, enabling it to maintain precision and performance in the face of the high-pressure and high-temperature conditions of lathe operation. With the ability to adjust the taper angle, machinists can create a wide range of conical shapes, ensuring a high degree of versatility and customization in their work.
Form tools constitute another specialized subset of lathe cutting tools, primarily used to form a shape on a workpiece that mirrors the shape of the cutting tool. These tools are typically made from high-speed steel or carbide, materials that can withstand the high pressure and temperatures generated during the cutting process. The tip of the form tool represents a negative image of the desired workpiece profile, allowing for consistent and precise shape replication.
The tool moves linearly along the rotating workpiece, ensuring that the entire profile of the tool comes in contact, thereby creating the desired form. This method is particularly effective for creating complex shapes and profiles that cannot be achieved through a series of individual cuts.
Now that you have the complete guide to various types of lathe cutting tools, you can choose the right tool for the right task, ensuring efficiency and precision in your projects. Check out TMT Toolbox for our selection of CNC turning tools today. From turning and facing tools to more specialized ones like knurling and form tools, knowledge of these tools is essential to optimize the benefits of your lathe work.