CNC cutting tools: A quick introduction

CNC cutting tools: A quick introduction

Various CNC cutting tools
Various CNC cutting tools

CNC cutting tools are integral parts of any CNC machine which directly ensure the success of the machining work on the workpiece. The accuracy and versatility of the CNC machine in large part thanks to the range of CNC cutting tools they can accommodate, allowing a CNC machine to perform a variety of cuts and incisions in a workpiece.

This article presents a quick introduction to CNC cutting tools, factors to consider for proper selection of right CNC cutting tools and highest use efficiency of them.


Introduction to CNC cutting tools

A cutting tool is a device used to remove material from a solid block of material. It is fitted to the spindle of a CNC machine, which follows computer instructions to guide the cutting tool where it needs to go.

Cutting tools are tools used to remove material from a workpiece in the form of chips. In a CNC machine, a cutting tool is fitted to the spindle, which follows computer instructions to guide the cutting tool where it needs to go. For each type of machining, such as drilling, milling, turning, and grinding, the cutting tools, different types of cutting tools will be used, each with their own unique characteristics.

Factors affecting the efficiency of CNC cutting tools

Material from the workpiece will be removed by a process of shear deformation. That is, the sharp tool rotates at high speed and cuts from the workpiece many tiny chips, which are then ejected away from the workpiece. Some tools make contact with the workpiece at one point only, while others, such as end mills, hit the material at multiple points.

The selection of a proper cutting tool should consider factors such as the hardness and toughness of the workpiece, the desired surface finish, and the required cutting speeds and feeds. Cutting tools can be designed with specific geometries and coatings to improve their performance in different types of machining operations.

Most CNC cutting tools feature multiple flutes, which are helical grooves that run down the exterior of the tool. The flutes can be thought of as the troughs of the cutting tool, while the teeth, the sharp ridges between each flute, are its peaks. Chips cut from the workpiece travel down the flutes as they are ejected.

The ideal number of flutes on a cutting tool depends on the workpiece material. A tool with fewer flutes is preferable for soft materials, since the increased flute width means bigger chips can be ejected. A higher flute count can increase speed and is suitable for harder materials, but can lead to chip jamming, since each flute is narrower.

The type of cutting tool will affect the size of chip removed from the workpiece, and so will the spindle speed and feed rate.

The cutting edge is a critical feature of a cutting tool because this is the part of the tool that comes into contact with the workpiece. The cutting edge is typically made of high-speed steel, carbide, or ceramic. The choice of material depends on the type of machining being done and the properties of the workpiece. For example, reamers are used to enlarge and finish holes to precise tolerances, while taps are used to create threads on the inside of a hole. Knives and blades are used in woodworking and other cutting applications.

When it comes to cutting tools, it’s also important to consider the cutting conditions, such as the speed, feed, and depth of cut. These parameters can affect the tool’s performance, lifespan, and quality of the final product.

Another important consideration when using cutting tools is the machine tool itself. The machine tool must be set up properly, aligned and adjusted, to ensure optimal performance of the cutting tool.

It’s also important to consider the cutting fluids, or coolants when using cutting tools. These fluids can help to reduce friction, heat, and wear on the cutting tool, as well as to flush away chips and debris from the cutting area.

A good cutting fluid has the ability to:

  • Keep the workpiece at a stable temperature (critical when working to close tolerances). Very warm is acceptable, but extremely hot or alternating hot-and-cold are avoided.
  • Maximize the life of the cutting tip by lubricating the working edge and reducing tip welding.
  • Ensure safety for the people handling it (toxicity, bacteria, fungi) and for the environment upon disposal.
  • Prevent rust on machine parts and cutters.

In conclusion, CNC cutting tools are a vital component in any manufacturing or machining process. They come in many different forms, materials, and shapes and are used to remove material from a workpiece in the form of chips. Understanding the different types of cutting tools, their characteristics, and the cutting conditions, as well as proper selection, handling, maintenance, and use, can help to ensure efficient and high-quality machining operations

TDB Hanoi provides professional CNC machining servicesGet in touch for a fast quote.

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