Lathe cutting tools are tools you can use with a lathe machine to produce turned parts and shape materials into the desired shape. They are an important part of CNC machining. However, much knowledge on using them is not available about them since there are many types of lathe tools.
Thus, this article will introduce the different types of lathe tools you can use in your machining project. It will do this by introducing what a lathe is and the different lathe cutting operations you. It will then dwell extensively on different types of lathe tools seen in CNC machining and CNC turning and how to choose the right types of cutting tools. Let us dive right in.
What is a Lathe?
A lathe is a CNC machine you can use to produce a turned part. It can shape different materials to the desired shape by using several lathe cutting tools via several operations e.g., turning, undercutting, knurling, drilling, facing, boring, and cutting. Below is a short explanation of the common lathe cutting tools operation you use in your machining project.
Common Lathe Cutting Tool Operations
Depending on the lathe machine, there are different lathe cutting operations you can undergo to achieve your desired shape. Below are the lathe operations common in CNC machining:
Facing is the first step in most lathe operations. It involves cutting the metal from an end to make it fit at the right angle of the axis.
Tapering involves cutting metal to a cone shape using a compound slide. Depending on the requirement, you can also change the angle by adjusting the compound slide.
· Parallel Turning
Parallel turning involves cutting a material parallel to the axis. It is an important lathe cutting tool operation used for decreasing the diameter of the material.
Parting is the removal of a part so that it faces the end. It involves using a parting tool which we will introduce later. You can make the cut deeper by pulling out the parting tool and transferring it to the side of the cut.
Classifications of Lathe cutting tools
There are three major classification categories for lathe cutting tools: material, uses, and method of applying feed. Below is an introduction to the different classifications and their respective lathe cutting tools.
Classification by Material
This is the classification of lathe cutting tools using their composition materials. Below are the common types of lathe tools classified based on the type of material.
· High-speed steel tool
These are lathe cutting tools whose edge comes from high-speed steel. Therefore, they are ideal for rough machining and semi-finish machining.
· Carbide tool
The cutting edge of the lathe cutting tools comes from carbide. Therefore, they are ideal for cutting iron, plastic, glass, stone, steel, and other difficult materials.
· Diamond Blade
Diamond is a very hard and wear-resistant material. It has a low coefficient of friction, high elastic modulus, high thermal conductivity, and low thermal expansion coefficient. Consequently, lathe cutting tools with diamond cutting edge are ideal for precision machining of brittle, wear-resistant, conforming, and hard materials such as graphite.
· Other Materials
The cutting edge of these types of lathe tools comes from other materials such as cubic boron nitride and ceramic. Therefore, they are ideal for rough machining and cutting hard alloys.
Classification of Lathe Cutting Tools by Use
This is the classification of lathe cutting tools using their function. Below are the common types of lathe tools classified based on their use.
· Turning Tool
There are two general types of lathe turning tools in terms of their uses: rough lathe turning tools and finish lathe turning tools.
Rough turning tools
Rough lathe turning tools are used for removing large parts of a workpiece in a very short time. They have a ground cutting angle that allows the removal and they can withstand maximum cutting pressure.
Finish turning tools
Finish lathe turning tools are the types of lathe turning cutting tools used for removing small parts of the workpiece. The angle is ground and according to its name, the end product has a smooth and accurate surface.
· Boring Tool
A boring is a type of lathe tool used for enlarging a hole. These turning cutting tools are inserted into a pre-existing hole and used to widen the holes’ diameter.
· Chamfering Tool
Chamfering tools are lathe turning cutting tools used for creating a furrow on a part. It can also be used to create smooth or hazardous edges on a workpiece.
· Knurling Tool
Knurling tools are a type of lathe tool that can produce knurled lathe parts by creating a specific pattern into a round section. Therefore, You can use them as a grip for handles or fasteners like nuts.
· Parting Tool
A parting tool is a narrow-bladed tool used for cutting off pieces of materials from a workpiece. It has many forms and uses with popular use indicating it functioning as a turning tool and cutting tool.
· Thread Cutting Tool
Thread cutting tools are applicable in cutting threads on a lathe part. There are two general forms: internal and external thread cutting. External thread cutting involves the workpiece being held in a chuck or mounted between two centers. However, in internal thread cutting, the part is held in a chuck while the tool moves across it in a linear format taking chips off the workpiece as it passes it.
· Facing Tool
A facing tool is a type of lathe cutting tool used to cut a flat surface that is perpendicular to a workpiece rotational axis. The tool holder situated on the lathe carriage holds the tool during the process so that it can feed perpendicularly across the rotational axis of the part.
Classification of Lathe Cutting Tools by Method of Applying Feed
That describes how the cutting tool faces the workpiece and what direction your lathe is spinning the workpiece. Consequently, according to this mode of classification, there are three types of lathe tools: right-hand tool, left-hand tool, round nose.
· Right-Hand Tool
A right-hand lathe cutting tool removes material when moving from right to left (it takes only top view keeping rake surface at top). The name right-hand tool was used based on the human hand analogy. Using the right human hand, the thumb represents the tool feed direction. Therefore, the principal cutting edge of the tool is on the tool’s left side.
· Left-Hand Tool
Unlike a right-hand lathe cutting tool, the left-hand cutting tool removes material when moving from left to right (top view keeping rake surface visible). Using the left human hand, the thumb represents the tool feed direction. Therefore, the principal cutting edge of the tool is on the tool’s right side
· Round Nose Tool
A round nose turning tool has no back rake or side rake. Therefore, the tool is fed from left to the right or from right to the left-hand end of the lathe bed away. However, in some cases, the round nose tool can have a small back rake. Due to the round edge, round nose turning tools are popular tools in finish turning operation.
How to Select Lathe Cutting Tools
Selecting a lathe cutting tool comes with understanding certain factors about the equipment. Below are very important factors you must consider on selecting lathe cutting tools
Type of Materials
The type of material you are cutting is a basic factor that determines the type of lathe tools you can use. Important properties that you must look out for before selecting a lathe cutting tool include: hardness, wear resistance, toughness, and rigidity. These properties play a major role in the types of lathe tools you can use. For example, extremely hard materials need carbide tools or diamond tools.
The Shape of the tool
The shape of the lathe cutting tool is also another factor to consider during selection. The location of the cutting edge also determines the direction in which the tool will cut (right-hand tools, left-hand tools, and the round nose tools).
The Desired Shape
Every lathe cutting tool listed under the classification by use can lead to a specified shape. Therefore, you have to integrate the desired shape to the required lathe cutting tools. Due to the complexity of most CNC machining products, you might need to choose several lathe cutting tools.
Selecting lathe cutting tools might be a little problematic if you are new to CNC machining and CNC turning processes. Therefore, instead of worrying about how much you have to know, why not engage the services of professionals in such an area. At RapidDirect, we have engineers with years of experience in CNC machining and CNC turning with an understanding of different types of lathe cutting tools and their applications. By choosing us, you get access to years of experience and an attitude towards quality delivery. Just get in touch with us. We’re at your service!
Cutting tools also knowns as cutters are tools used for removing parts of a workpiece. They are mounted on a lathe which is a machine used to turn materials and shape them to the desired shapes. Examples of lathe cutting tools are boring tools, chamfering tools, etc.
There are many types of lathe cutting tools. They have many classifications. However, the most common classifications include:
Use: turning tool, boring tool, chamfering tool, grooving tool, etc.
Material: high-speed steel tool, carbide tool, diamond blade, other materials, etc.
Method of applying feed: right-hand tool, left-hand tool, round hose tool.
Lathe cutting tools are an important part of any CNC machining or CNC turning operation. However, there are many lathe cutting tools available with no distinct disparity to many engineers. To simplify it, this article talks about the different types of lathe tools. It showcased the different classifications of lathe cutting tools and how to select one. By going through this article, you will know about different types of lathe tools and their function.