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What are the Different Types of Cutting Tools?

By Maggie J. Hall
Updated May 17, 2024
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Cutting tools that are frequently used for metalworking include bandsaws, broaches, and drills. Other types of machining tools might include fly cutters and reamers. While some cutting tools require some type of human interaction to perform a function, others might be completely computer operated. Milling tools can be small enough to be bench or floor mounted but might also command a large space within a room. Cutting tools generally perform contouring, drilling, and desinking cuts along with possible surface planing.

While bandsaws are commonly associated with woodworking, metal shops also employ them. The machine gets its name from the circular metal blade that cuts by rotating around two or three wheels. These saws can be used in a horizontal or vertical position. The metal being cut might be placed in a vise with the saw blade descending onto the material, or the blade housing may be stationary, requiring the metal to be pushed toward the blade. Bandsaws typically make straight cuts, but materials can be rotated around the blade for angled or curved cuts.

Broaches generally use toothed bits that remove metal materials. The bits might look similar to drill bits, with cutting edges around the bit that run up and down the length of the tool. A combination of bits on one machine might each perform a cut in succession. One bit may accomplish roughing, another semi-finishing, and the last tool, the finishing cuts. Broaches operate as linear or rotary cutting tools, milling the exteriors and interiors of metal pieces.

Drill presses or radial arm drills are common pieces of machinery in a metalworking shop. Presses are typically located in a fixed position and are manufactured in a number of sizes. The drill spindle travels up and down and can be operated manually or mechanically. Drill bits are typically powered by electric motors that are equipped with variable speed transmissions. Attached to the end of a movable arm, radial drills may provide greater flexibility in the size of an established workspace.

Fly cutters get their name from metal extrusions that appear to fly around a central hub as it rotates. These cutting tools can also be used horizontally or vertically, either approaching or rotating around a stationary piece of metal. The bit might also be fixed, with a conveyor type of setup bringing the metal to the cutter. Fly cutters are usually used for internal boring or precise exterior cuts.

Reamers bore holes into metal. The spindles can rotate and travel horizontally on a lathe type of machine or they may move up and down similar to a drill press. The reamer cutting tools might include a drill type bit, which has cutting edges around and along the length of the tool. Other versions might have cutting edges located only on the distal end of the bit.

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Discussion Comments

By DanceShiya — On Feb 03, 2014

When was the first bandsaw invented? At what time did humans begin cutting metal as a form of manipulation?

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