The broad category of “cutting tools” includes all of the consumable tooling involved in milling, drilling, turning and other lathe and machining center operations.

Drills, end mills, taps, reamers and inserts are all included here. Consumable tooling used on certain other types of machine tools is included here as well. Also found here are toolholders and closely related accessories such as angle heads. Supplier pages, FAQs related to cutting and cutting tools can be found here, as well as essential reading on the topic and all of the latest Modern Machine Shop cutting tools coverage.

How to Turn Machine Shop Downtime Into Process Expertise

To take advantage of a lull in business, JR Machine devised a week-long cutting tool event that elevated the shop’s capabilities with aerospace alloys.

Cutting Tools : Essential Reading

A New Milling 101: Milling Forces and Formulas

The forces involved in the milling process can be quantified, thus allowing mathematical tools to predict and control these forces. Formulas for calculating these forces accurately make it possible to optimize the quality of milling operations.

Buying a Lathe: The Basics

Lathes represent some of the oldest machining technology, but it’s still helpful to remember the basics when considering the purchase of a new turning machine. 

Threading On A Lathe

The right choices in tooling and technique can optimize the thread turning process.

How to Tackle Tough Angled Pocket Milling With Two Tools

Milling a deep pocket with a tight corner radius comes with unique challenges, but using both a flat bottom drill and a necked-down finishing tool can help.

Choosing Your Carbide Grade: A Guide

Without an international standard for designating carbide grades or application ranges, users must rely on relative judgments and background knowledge for success.


FAQ: Cutting Tools

Why is through-tool coolant valuable, and why are shops are seeing greater need for it?

Getting coolant to the cutting edge is critical for any manufacturing application. It helps in cooling the cutting zone, provides very needed lubrication, and can assist in breaking a chip. Many times, external lines are used to splash coolant near the work zone. Long Chips can easily interfere with this delivery method, possibly knocking the lines out of the way. Additionally, when tools need to be changed or indexed coolant lines might be moved for better access to the tool. Then when the line is put back it is never the same as it previously was. Often times there is a give-and-take methodology used to cover areas being machined with this coolant, so all tools get some cooling, but none of them get ideal cooling. A coolant-through tool allows pinpoint accuracy with a specific direction of coolant pointed exactly at the cutting zone.

Source: Q&A: Trends in Cutting Tool Application

Through-tool coolant is available on cutters that couldn't offer it before. What has changed in the technology of tool manufacturing to make this possible?

There’s been a big change is the ability to drill small-diameter holes very deep and do this in a production atmosphere. Part of this comes from the drilling machines being able to reach the necessary speeds and holders that provide superior clamping and runout. The other part comes from tools designed specifically for this drilling application.

On a coolant-through tool, material could be added in areas that may need additional strength, allowing for the intersecting coolant ports to be drilled accordingly.

Source: Q&A: Trends in Cutting Tool Application

What aspect of tool engineering is responding to greater cutting speed?

Machines and tools seem to have a back-and-forth dance in terms of which is leading. Coatings continue to evolve, with more layers, and different material being used. This is something all tool manufactures are playing with on some level. The changes in coating technology is somewhat more limited, and not as many are playing in this arena. One process that comes to mind is “HiPIMS,” or high-power impulse magnetron sputtering. This process uses microsecond timing of extreme-power pulses. This allows the metal to ionize to nano size particles to be deposited on the tools. This process allows for greater adhesion and coating hardness, while maintaining great lubricity. Additionally, this process has greatly reduced compressive stresses. This reduction allows for smaller edge preps to be used, thus resulting in sharper tools.

Why is diamond used as an industrial cutting tool?

Developments in polycrystalline diamond (PCD) and cubic boron nitride (CBN) have allowed these materials to improve in ways that make them more versatile and cost-effective. Meanwhile, the machining speed and tool life of these tools continue to take machining processes to levels of performance where carbide cannot go.

Through long tool life and fast cutting parameters, the tools increase machine capacity by reducing the frequency of tool replacements and allowing machines to make parts at a greater rate. Meanwhile, the tooling increasingly figures into expert solutions tailored to more demanding applications in various industries.

Source: The New Rules of Cutting Tools - Rule #3: Diamond Shouldn't Be Rare

What are cutting tools made of?

Polycrystalline diamond (PCD), cubic boron nitride (CBN), ceramic, high-speed steel (HHS), cemented carbide or cermet.

Sources: What's Happening With Cutting Tools

Why Binderless CBN Inserts Turn Titanium Faster


Cutting Tools Suppliers

Narrow by Cutting Tools Category

Walter Extends Line of Precision Boring Tools

The new boring tools employ modular components such as cartridge holders and extensions, which are matched to the system, utilize an extensive range of indexable inserts suited for precision boring and can be used for all material groups.

Saint-Gobain Abrasives Expands Line of Cutting Wheels

Norton for Aluminum Thin Wheels are said to offer aggressive, fast cutting which resists loading and minimizes heat on the workpiece.

Allied Machine & Engineering Expands Range of Boring Tools

Both the 420 (410) and 465 (464) digital boring heads come equipped with a 3ETech docking port for easy digital diameter adjustments.

Star SU Launches Custom Gundrill Designed to Reduce Tool Drift

The custom Double-Contour, Single-Flute Gundrill features an extended carbide-length head that reduces tool drift for the length of the cut.

Tungaloy Expands Drill System With Drill Sleeves

Adding drill sleeves to the standard lineup enhances drilling productivity of Swiss-type sliding-head automatic lathes.

Walter Introduces Coated Grade for Machining Aluminum

The WXN15 coated grade inserts can be used for copy milling, face milling, ramping, pocket milling and circular interpolation milling.