Machining tools are used to cut, grind, bore, or shear various types of raw materials, such as metals. The goal may be to reveal a new shape or to refine the material's existing shape.
All machining tools are equipped with a gripping device for holding the material in place while a cutting mechanism - sometimes referred to as the toolpath - is run against it.
A hobbing tool, or hobbing cutter, is a cylindrical tool surrounded by teeth in the pattern of a helix. It's used largely for making gears, ridges in drive shafts and sprockets. The teeth cut progressively deeper as the hob turns on its spindle. Hobbing is a comparatively inexpensive but accurate way to cut, and so is popular for a range of applications. It is also the most widely used gear cutting technique for creating helical and spur gears, such as those found in a car's transmission system.
A lathe is a tool for shaping wood, metal, or other material. It uses a rotating drive, which turns the material being worked against a cutting tool to give it a symmetrical shape. Lathes are most commonly used in woodwork, metalwork and metal spinning, and - to a lesser extent - in thermal spraying and glass work. A potter's wheel, for shaping pottery, is also a form of lathe. Various cutting tools (such as facing tools, roughing tools, finishing tools and left handed cutting tools) can be employed to complete different pieces,
The broach is a toothed tool used to remove material from a workpiece, typically made of metal. The broaching process may be either linear or rotary. In the linear method, a broach is run against the workpiece's surface in straight lines. In the rotary method, the broach is rotated against the workpiece, to give it a symmetrical shape around its axis. Typically the required cut is achieved with just one pass of the broach. Broaching is often used when especially precise machining is required, such as when working on odd shapes, like non-circular holes, keyways, splines and so on.
A grinding machine, or grinder, uses an abrasive wheel with a grainy surface to grind against a material, typically to polish it. Most often it's used to remove only between 0.25 and 0.50 millimetres of the material's surface. The grinding process may generate a significant amount of heat, so many grinding machines include a coolant.
A milling machine, which may be manually operated or automated, uses rotating cutting tools to remove material from a workpiece, which is fed into the machine. It can be fitted with different tool heads for different purposes and for cutting different types of materials. Milling machines are used for a wide range of applications, often with computer-aided design, or CAD.
A planing machine, or planer, designed for metalwork is used to give metal a flat surface or, in some cases, to cut slots or ridges into metal. The entire workpiece is moved on a sliding table below a single-point cutter.
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