From precision spacecraft parts to automobile pistons, electric rotary metal cutting tools cut and shape critical metal components. An array of tools exists to help both professional machinists and hobbyists; the drills bore accurate holes, taps can make threads and discs can slice lines. No matter what metal cutting project you face, a familiarity with rotary metal cutting tools will help you choose the right tool for the job.
Endmills are precision cutting tools used in industrial milling and machining operations. While an endmill appears similar to an average drill bit, it cuts not only straight through to bore holes but also in other directions. Endmills are manufactured to the most precise specifications and their cuts are typically accurate to within a few microns. Endmills create a variety of special cuts, such as flat-bottomed cuts and fluted cuts.
A reamer performs secondary cuts through material to increase their accuracy or "clean" them out. Often a first cut is made intentionally under size so that a reamer can complete the job to specifications.
Burrs are used to remove unwanted residual material following other milling cuts. A burr does not have sharpened or helical cutting edges like a drill but features abrasive edges or points that remove material as the tool rotates.
The tap is a rotary metal cutting tool that creates screw and bolt threads in material. Like the reamer, this tool performs a secondary cut into a previously bored opening. After openings are cut slightly under size, a tap is inserted and rotated through the opening to cut threads across its diameter.
While the term "drill" can generally refer to any rotary metal cutting tool that bores cylindrical holes, "drill" is most often applied to the kind of general purpose boring bits used when accuracy on a micro-scale is not required. Examples of this kind of tool include hardware store variety twist bits and high-speed steel drill bits.
Cutting discs are often mounted to a variety of metal cutting machines, including handheld rotary tools, grinders and cut-off saws. Metal cutting discs are made from abrasive materials, such as diamond. Applications for these tools include machining and milling trades, construction trades and automotive trades.
The individual characteristic of the rotary metal cutting lathe is that it turns the material rather than the cutting edge. Material is mounted on each end to the lathe, and the lather turns the material while the operator presses a cutting edge against the rotating metal. The result is machine parts, such as gears, or sculpted metal, such as a turned stair baluster.
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