Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Types of Cutters

End mill
End mills (middle row in image) are those tools which have cutting teeth at one end, as well as on the sides. The words end mill are generally used to refer to flat bottomed cutters, but also include rounded cutters (referred to as ball nosed) and radiused cutters (referred to as bull nose, or torus). They are usually made from high speed steel(HSS) or carbide, and have one or more flutes. They are the most common tool used in a vertical mill.

Slot drill
Slot drills (top row in image) are generally two (occasionally three or four) fluted cutters that are designed to drill straight down into the material. This is possible because there is at least one tooth at the centre of the end face. They are so named for their use in cutting keyway slots. The words slot drill are usually assumed to mean a two fluted, flat bottomed end mill if no other information is given. Two fluted end mills are usually slot drills, three fluted sometimes aren't, and four fluted usually aren't.

Roughing end mill
Roughing end mills quickly remove large amounts of material. This kind of end mill utilizes a wavy tooth form cut on the periphery. These wavy teeth form many successive cutting edges producing many small chips, resulting in a relatively rough surface finish. During cutting, multiple teeth are in contact with the workpiece reducing chatter and vibration. Rapid stock removal with heavy milling cuts is sometimes called hogging. Roughing end mills are also sometimes known as ripping cutters.

Ball nose cutter
Ball nose cutters (lower row in image) are similar to slot drills, but the end of the cutters are hemispherical. They are ideal for machining 3-dimensional contoured shapes in machining centres, for example in molds and dies. They are sometimes called ball mills in shop-floor slang, despite the fact that that term also has another meaning. They are also used to add a radius between perpendicular faces to reduce stress concentrations.

Slab mill
Slab mills are used either by themselves or in gang milling operations on manual horizontal or universal milling machines to machine large broad surfaces quickly. They have been superseded by the use of Carbide tipped face mills that are then used in vertical mills or machining centres.

Side-and-face cutter
The side-and-face cutter is designed with cutting teeth on its side as well as its circumference. They are made in varying diameters and widths depending on the application. The teeth on the side allow the cutter to make unbalanced cuts (cutting on one side only) without deflecting the cutter as would happen with a slitting saw or slot cutter (no side teeth).

Involute gear cutter
The image shows a Number 4 cutter from an involute gear cutting set. There are 7 cutters (excluding the rare half sizes) that will cut gears from 12 teeth through to a rack (infinite diameter). The cutter shown has markings that show it is a
  • 10 DP (diametrical pitch) cutter
  • That it is No. 4 in the set
  • that it cuts gears from 26 through to 34 teeth
  • It has a 14.5 degree pressure angle

Hobbing cutter
These cutters are a type of form tool and are used in hobbing machines to generate gears. A cross section of the cutters tooth will generate the required shape on the workpiece, once set to the appropriate conditions (blank size). A hobbing machine is a specialised milling machine.

Face mill (indexable carbide insert)
A face mill consists of a cutter body (with the appropriate machine taper) that is designed to hold multiple disposable carbide or ceramic tips or inserts, often golden in color. The tips are not designed to be resharpened and are selected from a range of types that may be determined by various criteria, some of which may be: tip shape, cutting action required, material being cut. When the tips are blunt, they may be removed, rotated (indexed) and replaced to present a fresh, sharp face to the workpiece, this increases the life of the tip and thus their economical cutting life.

Fly cutter
A fly cutter is composed of a body into which one or two tool bits are inserted. As the entire unit rotates, the tool bits take broad, shallow facing cuts. Fly cutters are analogous to face mills in that their purpose is face milling and their individual cutters are replaceable. Face mills are more ideal in various respects (e.g., rigidity, indexability of inserts without disturbing effective cutter diameter or tool length offset, depth-of-cut capability), but tend to be expensive, whereas fly cutters are very inexpensive.

Woodruff cutter
Woodruff cutters make the seat for woodruff keys. These keys retain pulleys on shafts and are shaped as shown in the image.

Hollow mill
Hollow milling cutters, more often called simply hollow mills, are essentially "inside-out endmills". They are shaped like a piece of pipe (but with thicker walls), with their cutting edges on the inside surface. They are used on turret lathes and screw machines as an alternative to turning with a box tool, or on milling machines or drill presses to finish a cylindrical boss (such as a trunnion).


Anonymous said...

Thank you for such an informative blog, I have recently been searching for details about this and yours is the best I have located so far. Side and face cutters have inspired hobs. These single plates stacked one over another with improved designed and well cut edges have given way to hobbing machines. These are also what we commonly refer to as gear hobs used to cut gears for different purposes and needs.

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