Metal cutting is a fundamental process in manufacturing, and having the right tools for the job is crucial for achieving accurate and efficient results. Metal is one of the toughest materials ever created, improved, and used.
Not surprisingly, special tools were developed to cut metal. There is a whole range of metal cutting tools – manual or powered. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 10 metal cutting tools and their applications.
Types of Metal Cutting Tools and Their Uses
Today we are going to discuss the different metal cutting tools and their uses so you can consider them when creating metal components for your next project.
A lathe is a powerful piece of machinery that is used to shape and form a wide range of components. It works by spinning a component on a horizontal axis, allowing different cutting, sanding, turning, boring, facing, knurling, drilling, tapping and reaming and other procedures to be performed on the component.
One of the main advantages of a lathe is its ability to make the component symmetrical according to its axis, which results in perfectly circular shapes. They are also able to handle a wide range of workpiece sizes and can produce parts with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability. This makes it ideal for creating a wide range of specialized metal parts, such as doorknobs, nuts, screws, and even gun barrels.
But lathe has a disadvantage also such as high costs and the need for a skilled operator to use them effectively. Lathes can also require a significant amount of maintenance and setup time.
The primary use of a lathe largely depends on the cutting tools that are used in conjunction with it. Some of the most common types of lathe tools that are used with a lathe include external and internal thread-cutting tools, boring tools, grooving tools, undercutting tools, and many others.
The lathe was originally invented for artisanal purposes. However, due to its versatility, it has become an essential tool in many industrial settings. It allows manufacturers to create high-precision parts that are required in the manufacturing of various mechanical and engineering products. With the different types of cutting tools, a lathe can be used to make many different products with high precision and accuracy.
Saws are one of the oldest metal cutting tools that have been in use for centuries due to their simple design and versatility. There are several types of saws that are used in metal cutting, including hand saws, circular saws, band saws, and jigsaws. Each type of saw has its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
- Hand saws are a manual type of saw that is operated by the user. They come in a variety of blade sizes and styles and can be used for cutting metal in tight spaces or for making rough cuts. The advantages of hand saws include their portability and ease of use. However, they have a lower cutting speed and can be less accurate than other types of saws.
- Circular saws are a type of power saw that uses a spinning blade to cut through metal. They come in a variety of blade sizes and can be used to make rough cuts or to cut through thicker pieces of metal. The advantages of circular saws include their high cutting speed and the wide variety of blades available. However, they can be less precise than other types of saws and can be dangerous if not used properly.
- Band saws are a type of saw that use a continuous band of serrated teeth to cut through metal. They are commonly used in manufacturing and fabrication industries and are ideal for cutting intricate shapes and curves. The advantages of band saws include their high precision and ability to make clean cuts. However, they can be expensive and require a skilled operator to use them effectively.
- Jigsaws are a type of saw that uses a reciprocating blade to cut through metal. They are commonly used in construction and fabrication industries and are ideal for cutting intricate shapes and curves. The advantages of jigsaws include their portability and ability to make precise cuts. However, they can be less efficient than other types of saws and can be dangerous if not used properly.
Drills are a common type of metal cutting tool that is used to create holes in metal components. They employ a drill bit, which is a sharp, chiseled edge that is driven into the metal by a powerful motor. The drill bit is able to cut through the metal as it spins at a high RPM (revolutions per minute).
Drills come in many different forms, including handheld drills, dripping machines, and drill presses. Handheld drills are typically small and portable, making them easy to use for a variety of different projects.
Drilling machines, on the other hand, are more powerful and are typically used in industrial settings to create large numbers of holes in a short period of time. Drill presses are another type of drill that is often used in workshops and fabrication settings. They are designed to create precise holes in a variety of different materials, including metal.
Regardless of their specific form, all drills have the same purpose – to create a number of holes of varying depths and diameters in metal components. This makes them an essential tool for many different industries, including construction, manufacturing, and metalworking.
A metal cutting mill, also known as a milling machine, is a type of metal cutting tool that is used to shape and cut metal components. The milling process involves placing a component, such as a piece of metal, on the workspace and exposing it to a high-speed rotating cutter.
The cutter, similar to a drill, is able to spin at a high RPM, which allows for precise cutting and shaping of the metal component.
One of the main advantages of using a metal cutting mill is its ability to create fine details and sharp corners. The high-speed rotation of the cutter allows for precise and accurate cutting, which is essential when working with small or intricate components.
Additionally, the milling machine is able to control the dimensions of the component being cut, making it an essential tool in production work where precision and consistency are key.
The wide application of metal-cutting mill machines is in manufacturing, metalworking, and industries related to cutting and shaping metal parts. From making car parts to aerospace components, milling machines are used to cut and shape metal parts with high precision and accuracy.
Grinders are powerful tools that use abrasive materials to smooth out surfaces. They work by spinning a circular disk at high speeds, creating friction that removes material from the surface.
One of the most common uses of grinders is to sharpen blades or saw teeth. The spinning disk, often made of diamond or other hard materials, is used to sharpen and smooth out the edges of blades and saws, making them more effective and durable.
In metal fabrication, grinders are also used to round out sharp edges or to gradually reduce the dimensions of edges to make parts fit. For example, a metal fabricator may use a grinder to round off the edges of a metal sheet or pipe to make it fit snugly with other parts.
Grinders come in different shapes and sizes and can be used for a variety of tasks. The most common types of grinders include bench grinders, angle grinders, and die grinders. These tools are widely used in the construction, metalworking, and woodworking industries.
6. Oxy-Acetylene Torch.
An oxy-acetylene or cutting torch is a powerful tool that is used to cut metal materials of various thicknesses. It uses compressed gas tanks of oxygen and acetylene as fuel, and the flame is created by adjusting the ratio of these two gases.
The flame is extremely hot and focused, allowing it to easily cut through metal materials with ease. This is why cutting torches are often seen in movies when bank robbers are trying to break into a vault.
One of the main benefits of using a cutting torch is that it is ideal for cutting through heavy stock materials, steel bars, beams, and other building materials. However, it should be noted that the flame from the torch can burn and warp thinner materials or painted surfaces, making it not ideal for these types of materials.
Another benefit of using a cutting torch is that it can also be used for welding. However, one of the main downsides of the cutting torch is that the tanks take up a lot of space, making it difficult to transport and store.
7. Plasma Cutter.
Plasma cutters are a type of metal cutting tool that is similar to oxy-acetylene torches. However, they offer a few key benefits over traditional cutting torches. One of the main benefits of plasma cutters is that they aren’t as hot as a cutting torch, so they can be used with thinner materials and heavier ones. With a steady hand, you can cut virtually any shape, line, or curve using a plasma cutter.
Plasma cutters are available as handheld tools, but they are often used as part of larger CNC machining setups. These setups are controlled by a computer and are used to create precise cuts on a variety of materials.
There are a few pros and cons to using a plasma cutter.
On the pro side, they are safer than a cutting torch and they are ideal for cutting custom shapes. They are also compact and portable, making them easy to use in different locations.
On the con side, plasma cutters are relatively expensive and they do require some cleanup around the cut. This means that you will need to take extra care when using a plasma cutter to ensure that you get the best possible results.
8. Water Jet.
Water jet cutting is a unique method of cutting metal that utilizes high-pressure water to slice through even the toughest materials. Unlike traditional cutting tools like saws, water jet cutting doesn’t rely on friction to cut through metal, which makes it a valuable tool for cutting metal that is sensitive to changes in temperature.
When water is forced through a small nozzle at extremely high pressures, it creates a concentrated stream of water that can easily cut through steel and other metals. The high-pressure water stream is precise and accurate, making it ideal for cutting intricate designs and shapes.
One of the main advantages of water jet cutting is that it generates minimal heat and doesn’t cause any warping, twisting, or expanding of the metal. This is important for metal components that are sensitive to changes in temperature, and it ensures that the final product is of high quality and free from any distortions or defects.
9. Rotary Tools.
Rotary tools and die grinders are precision tools that are used for fine detail work. They are commonly known by their most popular manufacturer, Dremel. These tools are versatile and accept various cutting, grinding, or polishing bits, which attach to a collet at the bottom of the tool.
Rotary tools are used for a wide range of materials, such as wood, metal, plastic, and ceramics. They come in different sizes and shapes and are used for a wide range of applications such as sanding, polishing, grinding, and cutting. They are also known for their compact size and versatility, making them perfect for small projects and tight spaces.
Die grinders, on the other hand, are specially designed for cutting and grinding metal. They are powerful tools that are known for their high-speed rotation, which allows them to cut through even the toughest materials with ease. The compact size of die grinders also makes them ideal for working in tight spaces, such as engine compartments and other tight areas.
Both rotary tools and die grinders have a full range of motion, allowing them to cut curves, straight lines, and fine details that are impossible with other tools. They are perfect for professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike and are widely used in a variety of industries, such as woodworking, metalworking, and automotive repair.
10. Metal Snips.
Sheet metal snips are metal cutting tools that are used to cut sheet metal, and they look similar to a pair of scissors or shears. They come in three different varieties, each with specific features that make them suitable for different types of cuts.
The standard pair of sheet metal snips are designed for making straight cuts, but they cannot be used to cut curves or make turns. On the other hand, there are also snips that have curved jaws that allow them to make left or right-hand turns, making them ideal for cutting around curves. These types of snips are commonly sold in sets of three, so you have one for each type of cut.
These tools are perfect for making rough cuts in sheet metal and for working with thin materials. However, they can be challenging to keep straight while cutting, and the cut often has burrs or jagged edges that need to be finished later on.