CNC Machine Tools – Know the Right Tooling for CNC Machining

Computerization has found its way into varying manufacturing machines but its incorporation into machining systems has been revolutionary, to say the least. Thanks to the magic of CNC machining, you can now craft intricate and precise components at accelerated speeds.

What Are CNC Machine Tools

CNC machine tools are specially designed gadgets mounted on the spindle of computerized cutting machines and tasked with generating intricate parts. You can instruct these tools to process your workpiece in a particular manner by programming your machine’s controller board.

Advantages of Using CNC Machine Tools

The incorporation of CNC technology in machining operations has proven to be a giant leap toward manufacturing excellence. Here are 10 reasons why you should discard manual machining tools in favor of CNC machining tools.

  • High Precision: The placement and cutting operations of these tools are governed by preprogrammed instructions. This guarantees precise parts with zero risks of imperfections.
  • Complex Component Manufacturing: When utilizing a manual machine tool, your ability to produce complex parts such as car parts may be limited. However, with a CNC machining tool, you can easily produce complex parts with precise dimensions.
  • Reduced Labor Costs: The automation of these tools means that you no longer need several operators to machine your workpieces. This ultimately saves you a considerable portion in salaries and wages.
  • Increased Productivity: CNC punching machine tools name allow you to produce intricate components continuously with minimal interruptions or breakdowns. This means that you can produce more parts within considerably shorter timelines.
  • Reduced Wastage: The precise machining of computer-controlled cutting tools ensures that only the unwanted parts of a workpiece are extracted. This ensures that you utilize resources optimally consequently averting losses.
  • Enhanced Safety: Machining tools can be sharp and this puts you at risk of accidental injuries. However, with CNC machines, you hardly interact with the cutting tool thereby averting the risk of unprecedented injuries.
  • Data Tracking: Computerization of machining operations allows you to collect data on the efficiency of your machine and its processes.
  • Long-term Financial Benefits: Automated machining tools permit you to produce more parts while lowering your labor budget. This ultimately translates into reduced operational costs.

Types of CNC Machine Tools List

Machining operations range from facing cylindrical workpieces to slicing through hard materials like iron sheets. This necessitates varying machining tools and if you are looking for CNC machine cutting tools, you are in for a treat.

CNC Milling Tools

These are tools mounted on computer-controlled milling units and tasked with creating holes, faces, and distinct shapes on your workpieces. With a CNC milling machine, you can carve out varying shapes and patterns on your raw products thanks to the myriad of machining tools they support. These tools include;

  • End Mills: These milling cutters are endowed with numerous cutting edges, which qualifies their use in lateral cutting as well as plunging. You can find their cutting edges at their tip as well as on their periphery. Different end mills are manufactured with varying numbers of flutes and they are further classified into:
    • Flat-end mills
    • Bull nose end mills
    • Ball nose end mills
    • Square end mills
    • Tapered end mills
End Milling Machine

End Milling Machine

  • Thread Mills: These milling cutters are tasked with carving out specific thread forms on your workpiece. They achieve this using a revolving cutter whose flute design is customized to feature a distinct thread form. With a CNC thread mill, you can carve out intricate external or internal threads on any workpiece.
Thread Milling Tool

Thread Milling Tool

  • Slab Mills: These cutters are custom-made for surface cutting, especially relatively sizeable and flat workpieces. They are typically disc-shaped and their sideline is engraved with teeth, which allows them to make deeper and wider cuts. If you are looking for a slab mill, you have the luxury of choosing between;
    • Plain slab mills
    • Scalping slab mills
Slab Milling Cutter

Slab Milling Cutter

  • Hollow Mills: These specialized mills are tailor-made for milling internal pockets and radii on your workpiece. As such, they achieve their machining operations from the inside out. They are essentially tube-shaped and their cutting edges are embedded in the tube’s inner diameter.
Hollow Milling Tool

Hollow Milling Tool

  • Face Mills: These mills are revered for the quality of flat and smooth surfaces they leave on your workpiece. They come with characteristic larger diameters and you can change their cutting edges.
Face Milling Cutter

Face Milling Cutter

  • Fly Cutters: These CNC milling cutters come with replaceable cutting bits making them ideal for face cutting. While milling using flying cutters, you can adjust their body’s radial positioning to ensure your final product has the ideal diameter. They are prominently exploited to machine comparatively enormous workpieces.
Fly Cutter

Fly Cutter

  • Reamers: These are distinct milling cutters specialized to fine-tune the surface finishing and diameter size of your workpiece. They extract comparatively smaller chips from pre-drilled cavities and this ensures that your workpiece has perfect cylindrical holes. They come in the following varieties:
    • Chucking reamers
    • Shell reamers
    • Adjustable reamers
    • Taper pin reamers
Reaming Tool

Reaming Tool

  • Side Cutters: These specialized milling cutters are prominently exploited in contouring and slotting since they machine the sides of your workpiece. They are available in various forms:
    • Plain side cutters
    • Staggered tooth cutters

Drilling Tools

One of the most prominent ways of creating cavities or holes in hard objects is drilling. You can equip your CNC machine with varying types of drill bits to ensure that your workpiece is left with precise and smoothly finished cavities. You can opt for either of the following drilling tools:

  • Twist Drilling Tools: Twist drills are extremely prominent thanks to their ability to extract the resulting debris without halting the drilling process. This is enabled by the helical flutes embedded in the drill bit’s body. These drills are often manufactured from carbide or high-speed steel.
Twist Drilling Tool

Twist Drilling Tool

  • Ejector Drilling Tools: These CNC drills are primarily specialized to create extensive holes or cavities hence they come equipped with comparatively lengthier bodies. They are capable of dislodging the extracted chips while drilling continues thanks to their flute configuration.
Ejector Drilling Tool

Ejector Drilling Tool

  • Center Drilling Tools: These drilling tools are primarily exploited to create guiding points or shallow cavities that guide your twist or ejector drills. This hole is typically referred to as the pilot hole and is essential for creating a starting point for other machining operations. You can easily distinguish center drills by their short but pointed end.
Centre Drill Tool

Centre Drill Tool

CNC Boring Tools

These tools are typically called upon to refine the machining operations of typical drill bits. They are primarily tasked with sizing or smoothening the surface of cavities created by your drilling tool. They utilize a single-point cutter and they accomplish their mission by revolving a boring bar into your workpiece.

CNC Boring Tool

CNC Boring Tool

CNC Chamfering Tools

Chamfering tools are primarily responsible for beautifying or raising your workpiece’s aesthetic profile. You can however exploit them to overcome sharp edges or create smooth assembling points. With a CNC chamfering cutter, you can easily design your metallic or wooden workpiece to feature beveled edges.

Chamfer Tool

Chamfer Tool

CNC Knurling Tools

Knurling is an essential manufacturing process when it comes to cylindrical components. CNC knurling tools permit you to elevate the grip capabilities of your parts by embedding textured patterns on their surface. A typical knurling tool comes with a wheel whose exterior is engraved with unique patterns, which are imprinted onto your workpiece.

Knurling Tool

Knurling Tool

CNC Parting Tools

These tools are renowned for their ability to dismember a part of your workpiece from its original raw product. However, you can also exploit them to create grooves in your workpiece. Their composition constitutes a straight and sharp cutting blade, which your CNC machine automatically instructs to cut your workpiece radially.

Parting Tool

Parting Tool

CNC Grinding Tools

Mounting grinding tools on your CNC machine permits you to customize the dimension, shape, or surface finish of your workpiece. This is because these tools extract precise amounts of materials from your products to create smooth surfaces, sharpen edges, or shape your workpieces. You can utilize either of the following CNC grinding tools:

  • Grinding stones
  • Grinding wheels
  • Grinding belts
CNC Grinding Machine

CNC Grinding Machine

Best Materials for Producing CNC Machine Tools

When choosing a cutting tool for your CNC machine, its construction material should be one of the first factors you assess. This is because its material hugely impacts its suitability for distinct workpiece materials and its lifespan. Underneath, we assess some of the best materials for your CNC router machine tool.

· High-speed Steel

High-speed steel has been the go-to material for manufacturing cutting tools designed for tough machining operations. This material’s composition features steel, molybdenum, and tungsten, which all contribute to its hardness. High-speed steel also boasts excellent thermal stability evidenced by its high melting point at 600°C.  This makes it perfect for machining hardened materials incessantly at high speeds.

· Carbon Steel

Carbon steel is a material revered for its low abrasion or wear propensity and its comparatively lower price tag. This robust material draws its impressive features from the high-quality components that act as its foundation. They include carbon, silicon, and manganese.

You can only use carbon steel machining tools to process lightweight components under relatively low temperatures. Machining operations at temperatures exceeding 200°C may cause your cutting tool to melt.

· Cutting Ceramics

Compared to other materials, cutting ceramics reign superior in terms of hardness. As such, they boast exceptional resistance to heat and corrosion making them the go-to solution for machining rigid workpieces. Before opting for this material, you must however bear in mind that it is quite brittle and can chip when subjected to shock loads.

· Cemented Carbides

Machining tools featuring cemented carbides have one thing in common. They are extremely wear-resistant hence they are prominently exploited to machine hardened workpieces. They also boast of exceptional heat resistance, which is brought about by their composition. Most cemented carbides have a cobalt or titanium base complemented by tungsten carbide grains.

· Cubic Boron Nitride

Milling, drilling, and turning tools made from cubic boron nitride feature prominently in CNC machines thanks to this material’s unparalleled hardness. This material is manufactured under high temperatures and this gives its crystals a robust structure. You can exploit CBN machining tools to process parts made from superalloys and hardened steel.

· Diamond

In recent years, the use of diamonds to manufacture robust machining tools for cutting extremely hardened workpieces has surged upwards. This material is typically produced via chemical vapor deposition hence it demonstrates unmatched wear-resistance and thermal stability. Purchasing diamond machining tools like diamond drill bits is however more costly.

Coating Materials for CNC Cutting Tools

The majority of materials that make up your cutting tool’s base boast impressive properties like hardness and thermal stability. They however fall off the mark in certain features thereby necessitating the addition of a supplementary coat. The coat can be made from the following materials:

Coated CNC Cutting Tools

Coated CNC Cutting Tools

· Titanium Nitride

For ages, titanium nitride has been broadly exploited to reinforce cutting tools, especially cutting tools deployed in heavy-duty machining. This is because this coating boasts immense hardness, which translates into a higher anti-abrasion profile. Using machining tools coated with TiN will also keep the removed workpiece fragments from sticking to your cutter.

· Chromium Nitride

Chromium nitride succeeds in cutting tools prioritizing chemical resistance such as aluminum machine tools. It also boosts your cutter’s hardness and abrasion resistance and is typically silver or grey colored.

· Titanium Carbo Nitride

This coating is typically added onto machining tools with relatively inferior lubricity and abrasion resistance. It elevates your cutter’s hardness and prolongs its lifespan by averting friction which eats away your cutting tool. However, you cannot utilize this coating to elevate your tool’s thermal stability.

· Aluminum Titanium Nitride

Applying a violet or purple-colored coating amplifies your cutting tool’s heat resistance. It is characterized by a superior aluminum concentration of 65%, which makes it perfect for machining workpieces at high heat and speed.

· Diamond

Although this coating is rarely exploited, it reigns supreme in coating machining tools destined for heavy-duty and abrasive operations. Diamond-coated cutting tools boast of unrivaled hardness hence they can be utilized to drill abrasive workpieces like concrete. They are, however, extremely expensive explaining their low usage.

Choosing the Perfect CNC Machine Tool for You

The choice of your machining tool hugely impacts the quality of your machined components and the efficiency of your CNC machine. This underlines the essence of having the right tool for the right machining operation. Taking the following parameters into consideration should help you make the right pick.

· Workpiece Material

First, you must identify the nature of your workpieces and their respective construction materials. If you intend to machine highly abrasive workpieces, make certain you settle for a machining tool with a superior hardness profile. However, if you are dealing with softer workpieces, you can go for the relatively cheaper and softer tool.

· CNC Machine Type

If you have an existing CNC milling or lathe machine, you must consider the machining tools it supports. For instance, before purchasing a drilling tool, confirm whether your CNC lathe is compatible with a drill bit. Make certain that you settle for a cutting tool whose design and configuration are compatible with your CNC machine.

CNC Drilling Machine

CNC Drilling Machine

CNC Milling Machine

CNC Milling Machine

CNC Lathe Machine

CNC Lathe Machine

·Cutting Tool Construction Material

The material that makes up your machining tool determines its quality and suitability for certain applications. Settle for a machining tool made from robust materials, which can withstand abrasion and rough conditions. For instance, when looking for a cutter to machine metallic workpieces at high speeds, make certain its parent material has high thermal stability.

· Cutting Tool Coating

Look at the cutting tool and assess whether some of its key features need supplementing. If they do, look at the different types of coating material that may elevate their functionality. For instance, if the cutter lacks in hardness and abrasion resistance, consider reinforcing it with a titanium nitride coating.

· Machining Tool Features

Before making your decision, carefully assess the main features of various cutting tools. Look into their strength, temperature tolerance, design, and number of flutes. Make certain that your pick gratifies your production demands.

Frequently Asked Questions

· Is There a CNC Machining Tool that Performs All Machining Operations?

No. The majority of machining tools are specialized to accomplish certain machining operations. However, there are advanced cutters capable of fulfilling several distinct cutting operations. For instance, you can use a ball nose end mill to face or mill your workpiece.

· Is it Compulsory to Coat CNC Machine Tools?

No. Coating CNC bending machine tools strengthens their primary features and broaden their application scale. You should only coat your tools if they necessitate reinforcement. However, if your cutting tool demonstrates a high temperature tolerance, wear resistance, and chemical stability, adding a coat would be unnecessary.

· Are There CNC Machines Equipped with Several Machining Tools?

Yes. Advanced CNC machines engineered to undertake several machining operations come equipped with a myriad of distinct cutting tools. For instance, a turret lathe machine boasts of a rotating axis fitted with a magazine that packs distinct cutters.

· Can CNC Machining Tools Handle Hard Materials?

Yes. Machining tools come in varying forms, each form exhibiting varying hardness levels and features. This means that you can acquire a tailor-made cutting tool that is perfect for machining your distinct workpiece. Your workpiece can be manufactured from the following materials:

  • Metal
  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Plastic

Whether you are looking for a reliable CNC machine or tooling system, we are you expert you can trust in China – talk to us now.

More Resources:

CNC Machine Types – Source: TSINFA

Milling Machines – Source: TSINFA

Drilling Machines – Source: TSINFA

What is CNC Machining – Source: THOMASNET