One of the best things about CNC machines is that you can interchange their parts to suit your machining needs. You can add different CNC machine tools to your CNC machines and tackle or improve your projects.
However, choosing the right tools can get complicated.
First of all, what does a “right tool” mean?
Depending on who you ask, the right tool for CNC machines keeps changing.
While it comes down to your and your specific requirements at the end of the day, a few more factors make a tool right for you.
For instance, your current machine tool setup, part difficulty and complexity, the material you will work on, tool material, and so on.
Moreover, some of the general requirements for CNC tools are ease of installation, rigidity, high precision, and good durability.
Lastly, if you are buying tools for DIY installation, you need to make sure they come with an instruction manual.
All of this can be a little confusing when you are buying tools for your CNC machine.
But don’t worry. In this article, we are going through 5 things you must consider before you buy tools for your CNC. These 5 things will help you navigate the market and choose the right tools that improve your production.
But before we get into it, let’s take a look at what a machine tool is and what are its different types:
What is a CNC Machine Tool?
A CNC machine tool is a part of the machine that helps it manufacture, design, and shape products. Different CNC machine tools can be used to create virtually any component or a part.
You can find various tools catering to your particular requirements to get the job done. There are different tools for milling, cutting, shaping, and drilling.
Earlier models of CNC machines used to come with standard, irreplaceable tools. However, technology has improved tenfold in recent years, and so have CNC machines.
Nowadays, CNC machines come with high-quality, versatile tools that can be used to make production easier. You can also replace the tools in a CNC machine to suit your production needs.
For instance, if you need to shape a component, you can use the milling tools in your CNC. Similarly, a standard drill can be equipped to the machine for drilling needs.
Here are a few of the tools you can use with your CNC machine:
Milling tools are used to cut into a surface with multiple rotating cutting edges. Here are a few examples of milling tools:
Slotting Cutter: These tools are used to create t-slots along the length of a workpiece.
Face Mill: These mill cutters come with carbides in different colors that can be exchanged.
End Mill: End mills are used for machining the slides and faces of metal workpieces and other materials.
Slab Mill: These mills are come in handy when machining involves gang milling processes and for broad and large shapes.
Gear Cutter: Gear cutters are specialized milling tools that are used to create metal gears for specific purposes.
Thread Mill: Thread mills are one of the most used milling tools. They are used to design threads on a workpiece.
Lathe tools are used for cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, deformation, facing, and turning. Here are a few examples of lathe tools:
Grooving Tool: As the name suggests, grooving tools are used to create specific grooves into workpieces. They are designed to come with multiple edges that sink into the material to carve out shapes and grooves.
Thread Cutting Tool: These types of lathe tools are used to cut threads into the workpiece.
Turning Tool: Turning tools are of two types: finish turning tool and rough turning tool. Rough turning tools are used to scrape off the maximum quantity of metal in a minimum amount of time. On the other hand, finishing turning tools are used to remove small metal parts.
Boring Tool: Boring tools are used to make an existing hole in a workpiece bigger. A boring tool will penetrate through an object, leaving a gaping hole behind.
Now that we have understood what a CNC machine tool is and what are its different types and forms let’s get into the topic at hand, i.e., how to choose the right tools for your CNC machine?
Nature of Production
The first thing that you need to consider is the size and volume of the production unit. Think of it like this: how many products will you be able to produce using the tool? It will help you figure out the processing cost of each piece.
Moreover, your choice of tool selection should also vary depending on the amount of production. If you have to produce a component on a large scale, a specialized tool is more effective. For small-scale batch production, standard tools should be more than efficient.
Versatility and Ease of Use
Another important factor to consider is the use of the tool. A multi-featured tool would help you save time and labor since the machine will be handling 3 to 4 tasks on its own.
While a multi-featured tool might cost you a bit extra, it will help you make it up and save extra for years to come. Not to mention, you can amp up your production value and volume using a specialized, multi-purpose tool.
Nevertheless, if you are a hobbyist machinist or in the market for small-scale production solutions, standard cutting, milling, and drilling tools are more than enough for you.
One of the biggest challenges in CNC machining is the complexity of the parts. Parts for automotive, defense, aerospace and medical industries require complex machining and thus advanced tools.
In order to machine small, complicated parts, you would need multiple-axis tools that can cut, maneuver, shape, and drill complicated parts with ease.
You can look through the product description and consider your requirements to narrow down the tools that will help you in your projects. Regardless of how complicated your requirements are, you can rest assured there is a tool that can help you produce them.
CNC machines can work on virtually any material as long as you have the right tool for it. The type of material you need to work on will also determine your choice of tool. While most tools are able to work on most materials, some materials require specialized tools for shaping and tuning.
Physical properties and optimum cutting conditions will also influence your choice of tools and their functionalities, including spindle speed, horsepower, and torque.
CNC tools come in a range of coatings to improve their longevity and performance. One of the most popular choices of coating is titanium nitride, which has been known to add durability and resilience to the tool.
P.S: There are some coatings that cause the tool to get sticky that end up resulting in lubricant during machining.
Other types of tool coating include proprietary nanocomposite, crystalline diamond, titanium carbonitride, and aluminum titanium nitride.
We hope this piece of content helped you better understand CNC machine tools and their purpose. CNC machine tools come in several shapes and types and a range of prices. Depending on your requirements and production volume, you can get an efficient tool at practically any price.
Make sure to choose your tools carefully while considering all the above-mentioned factors to make the right choice.
You can also visit CNC Conversion Plus to find the right tool for your CNC machine. We can also help you develop customized tools and parts to make the machining process easier and more convenient.
What’s more? We also provide turn-key machines as per your customized requirements. You can also convert your old machines into CNC using our CNC conversion kits.
So, if you are in need of anything CNC, reach out to us.
Thanks for reading.