What Is Cutting Tool?- Name, Types, And Materials

What is a Cutting Tool?

In the context of machining, a cutting tool or cutter is typically a hardened metal tool that is used to cut, shape, and remove material from a workpiece by means of machining tools as well as abrasive tools by way of shear deformation.

A cutting tool is a wedge-shaped and sharp-edged device that is used to remove excess layers of material from the workpiece by shearing during machining to obtain the desired shape, size, and accuracy. It is rigidly mounted on the machine tool. A relative velocity between the workpiece and the cutting tool is also provided by various mechanical and other arrangements for cutting action.

The majority of these tools are designed exclusively for metals. There are several different types of single-edge cutting tools that are made from a variety of hardened metal alloys that are ground to a specific shape to perform a specific part of the turning process resulting in a finished machined part.

Single-edge cutting tools are used mainly in the turning operations performed by a lathe in which they vary in size as well as alloy composition depending on the size and the type of material being turned.

These cutting tools are held stationary by what is known as a tool post which is what manipulates the tools to cut the material into the desired shape. Single-edge cutting tools are also the means of cutting material performed by metal shaping machines and metal planning machines which remove material by means of one cutting edge.

Milling and drilling tools are often multipoint tools. Drilling is exclusively used to make holes in a workpiece. All drill bits have two cutting edges that are ground into two equally tapered angles which cut through the material by applying downward rotational force.

Endmills or milling bits, which also cut material by rotational force. Although these tools are not made to put holes in a workpiece. They are cut by horizontal shear deformation in which the workpiece is brought into the tool as it’s rotating.

This is known as the tool path which is determined by the axis of the table that is holding the workpiece in place. This table is designed to accept a variety of vises and clamping tools so that it can move into the cutter at various angles and directions while the workpiece remains still. Several different types of endmills perform a certain type of milling action.

Classification of Cutting Tools

A cutting tool can include one or more major cutting edges that participate in the cutting process simultaneously in a single pass.

Cutting tools can be classified in several ways; however, the most common method is based on the number of major cutting edges taking part in the cutting process at the same time. On this basis, cutting tools can be divided into three groups as indicated below.

  • Single Point Cutting Tool
  • Double Point Cutting Tool
  • Multi Point Cutting Tool

1. Single Point Cutting Tools

Single point cutting tool consists of only one main cutting edge that can perform material removal action at a time in a single pass. Single point cutting tools are used in turning, shaping, planning, and similar operations.

It is made from hard materials like high-carbon steel, high-speed steel, ceramic, and diamond.

With single-point cutting tools, because one cutting edge does all of the work, there is a chance that the material will not be removed very quickly, and the likelihood that the cutting edge will break increases.

If one of the cutting edges breaks during use, you must stop and replace the entire tool before it can be used again.

Single-point tools, such as a single-bladed reamer, have only one cutting edge that removes material. Single-blade reamers often take longer because only one edge does the work.

The main advantage of single-point cutting tools is the design and manufacture are quite simple and less time-consuming, and such tools are comparatively cheaper.

The single cutting edge also has disadvantages; it remains in constant contact with the workpiece during machining.

As a result, tool wear is high and tool life is short. Due to the continuous contact, the rate of increase in tool temperature is high. On the one hand, this accelerates tool wear and, on the other hand, causes thermal damage to the finished surface.

A high rise in temperature can plastically deform the tooltip, which can lead to poor machining accuracy. Since only one cutting edge requires the entire depth of cut (chip load) for one pass, the material removal rate (MRR) is much lower. Thus, productivity is low.

Cutting Tools

2. Double Point Cutting Tool

A double-point cutting tool consists of two cutting edges that can cut or shear at the same time in one operation. In contrast, a single-point cutting tool contains only one main cutting edge.

A multi-edged cutting tool contains more than two cutting edges to perform machining operations in a single pass.

Sometimes cutters can only be divided into two groups when double-point cutters are also considered multi-point cutters.

In addition, a cutting edge is obtained through the intersection of a rake face and a flank. Double-point cutting tools, therefore, contain two rake faces and two flanks.

Double Point Cutting Tool Example: Drill is the only example for this category. Note that drills can have more than two cutting edges. However, conventional (without cutting edge modification) metal cutting drills contain two cutting edges.

The simultaneous action of two cutting edges sometimes creates a certain cutting force component in that two cutting edges automatically eliminate (or reduce) one another. This reduces various shocks (such as instability, vibration, etc.) of an unbalanced cutting force.

3. Multi-Point Cutting Tools

A multi-point cutting tool contains more than two main cutting edges that work simultaneously in one pass. Sometimes cutters with two cutting edges are also viewed as multi-cutting tools (rather than double-point cutters).

The number of cutting edges present in a multi-point cutter can vary from three to a few hundred.

In contrast to a single-point tool, a multi-point cutting tool allows more than one cutting edge to be used at the same time. Ultimately, the multi-point tool allows multiple edges of the tool to remove material at once.

This allows multiple cutting tools or “multi-blade” tools to run faster than single cutting tools.

Because the amount of heat generated at the cutting edges is distributed across each cutting blade, the tool can often run longer and be more wear-resistant. A Diatool high-performance reamer is a great example of a multi-cutting tool.

Compared to alternative methods, a multi-bladed reamer can shorten cycle times and increase quality.

Multi-point cutting tools have many advantages such as low chip load per tooth, higher speed and feed, high MRR, and productivity, also reduced tool wear, low cutting temperature, and longer tool life.

It also has disadvantages such as intermittent cuts, cutting edges, or teeth being exposed to fluctuating loads. This creates noises, vibrations, and permanent failure of the cutter. The cutter is comparatively difficult to design and manufacture. This makes such a cutter more expensive.

Types of Cutting Tools

As the name suggests, cutting tools are used for machining operations in metal cutting technology. The milling cutters can be used in various machining applications. Therefore, the milling cutters were named according to their respective role in the machining.

Here is a list of the cutting tools that are commonly used:

  • Single Point Turning Tool. This cutting tool is for performing the turning operation in the lathe machine.
  • Drill. A drill is a cutting tool that drills a hole in a workpiece that has a cutting edge at the tip and a groove in the body for evacuating chips. It is the most common tool among cutting tools, with various shapes and types for use from DIY to specialty machining tools.
  • Mill (or Milling cutter). A milling tool is a generic term for tools with several cutting edges on the outer surface or the end surface of a disk or a cylindrical body; it cuts the workpiece as it rotates. It is mainly used in the milling machine and machining center; The blade material includes diamond/CBN, high-speed steel, and carbide. An end mill is also a type of milling tool.
  • Reamer. A reamer is a tool used to finish the hole opened by a drill according to the required accuracy. Similar to the cutting tool, the blade material includes diamond/CBN, high-speed steel, and carbide. The number of cutting edges ranges from one to several, depending on the hole diameter and application. With the step reamer, the blade is divided into several steps, which means that several operations are possible with a single reamer.
  • Broach. A broaching machine is a tool for machining the surface of a workpiece or the inner surface of a hole in the broaching machine, in which numerous cutting edges are arranged in the order of dimension along the axis of the rod-shaped main body’s outer periphery.
  • Fly cutter. This tool does the task of fly milling on the milling machine.
  • Shaper. This cutter is for giving specific shapes and accuracy to the workpiece and is performed on the shaping machine.
  • Planer. This wedge device is similar to a shaper. However, in this process, the larger workpieces are employed which move during the process, whereas in shape, the cutter moves.
  • Boring bar. This cutting device is performed on the boring or drilling machine to execute the boring operation.
  • Hob. This cutter is to perform the hobbing operation on the hobbing machine.
  • Grinding wheel. This grinding tool is an abrasive device used on the grinding machine for the grinding operation.

Classification of the Cutter Depending on the Shape

Depending on the shape of the milling cutter, the cutting tool is now further differentiated. Let’s look at the category that the cutting tool can be divided into in terms of shape:

  • Solid
  • Tipped Tool
  • Tool Bit
  • Grain Size
  • Pointed Tool

1. Solid

In general, such a kind of cutter is employed as a lathe turning tool to perform the turning operations.

2. Tipped Tool

This cutter was developed from different materials. That is, the body of the cutter is made of several different materials while its cutting part is developed from a different material.

These two parts of the cutting tool can be joined by following any process including clamping, welding, etc. Examples of tools with tipping are tools with tungsten carbide tipping.

3. Tool Bit

This is a non-rotating cutter. You can use this tool on the shaping or planning machine to shape and plan the workpiece accordingly and much more.

It falls under the cutting tools category, which means that this cutting tool only has one main cutting groove. Some common examples of this type of cutting tool are the cast non-ferrous satellite cobalt, the lathe tool in the machine holder, etc.

4. Grain Size

Cutting tools depend on the grain size and the number of grains. Assuming the grain is smaller, it will shear off more of the material from the workpiece.

Conversely, if the grain size is larger, more material will be sheared off. For example, the abrasive type of cutting tool is used in grinding wheels.

5. Pointed Tool

As the tool name suggests, the Tio of this cutter is pointed and fine. All edges coincide in one line. A few examples of such cutting devices include hard carbide cutters and pointed diamonds mounted on the holder.

Cutting Tool Material

Cutting tool materials are used to make cutting tools used in machining (drill bits, tool bits, milling cutters, etc.) but not other cutting tools like knives or punches.

Cutting tool materials must be harder than the material of the workpiece, even at high temperatures during the process.

The following properties are required for the cutting tool:

  • hardness, hot hardness, and pressure resistance
  • bending strength and toughness
  • inner bonding strength
  • wear resistance
    • oxidation resistance
    • small prosperity to diffusion and adhesion
    • abrasion resistance
    • edge strength

No material shows all of these properties at the same time. Very hard materials, have lower toughness and break more easily. The following cutting tool materials are used:

  • Tool steels. They are relatively cheap and tough. Their hardness is sufficient to machine other steels.
  • Carbon tool steels. Carbon steels have been used since the 1880s for cutting tools. However, carbon steels start to soften at a temperature of about 180oC. This limitation means that such tools are rarely used for metal-cutting operations. Plain carbon steel tools, containing about 0.9% carbon and about 1% manganese, hardened to about 62 Rc, are widely used for woodworking and they can be used in a router to machine aluminum sheets up to about 3mm thick.
  • High-speed steels. They lose their hardness at 600 °C and are widely used in machining. HSS tools are tough and suitable for interrupted cutting and are used to manufacture tools of complex shapes such as drills, reamers, taps, dies, and gear cutters. Tools may also be coated to improve wear resistance. HSS accounts for the largest tonnage of tool materials currently used. Typical cutting speeds: 10 – 60 m/min.
  • Cutting ceramic. They are even harder than cemented carbides but have lower toughness. Aluminum oxide and silicon nitride are used. The latter has higher toughness, but can’t be used for machining Steel, due to very high wear.
  • Cemented carbide. Cemented carbide cutting tool consists of tantalum, tungsten, and titanium carbide with cobalt as a binder. These carbide tools are very hard and can withstand temperatures well above a 900-degree Celsius.
  • Ceramics tools. Aluminum oxide and silicon nitride are considered the most common ceramic materials. They have high compressive strength and can withstand temperatures up to 1800 degrees Celsius. Due to their low friction between tool face and chip and low heat conductivity, they usually require no coolant and provide an excellent surface finish.
  • Cubic boron nitride tool (CBN). CBNs are the second hardest material after diamond. They offer high resistance to abrasion and use an abrasive in grinding wheels. 
  • Diamond tool. Diamonds are the hardest material and not to mention also quite expensive. It has a very high thermal conductivity and melting point. They offer a low friction coefficient, low thermal expansion, and high abrasion-resistant.  Diamonds are excellent for dimensional accuracy and surface finish.
  • Other Materials. To improve the toughness of tools, developments are being carried out with whisker reinforcement, such as silicon nitride reinforced with silicon carbide whiskers.


What are cutting tools called?

Linear cutting tools include tool bits (single-point cutting tools) and broaches. Rotary cutting tools include drill bits, countersinks and counterbores, taps and dies, reamers, and cold saw blades. Other cutting tools, such as bandsaw blades, hacksaw blades, and fly cutters, combine aspects of linear and rotary motion.

What are five cutting tools?

Here are the Five Essential Cutting Tools that will help you get the best results.
1. Shears.
2. Scissors.
3. Snips.
4. Rotary Cutter & Cutting Mat.
5. Seam Ripper.

What is cutting a cutting tool?

Cutting is a technique where the operator moves a material (workpiece) such as metal and the tool in relation to each other in order to shape the workpiece into the desired form through shaving, drilling, etc.

What is a Metal Cutting Tool?

Metal cutting tools have a primary purpose of removing leftover material from a manufactured piece of metal by using the process of shear deformation. There are mainly two types of metal cutting tools that are normally used; single point tools and multi-point tools.

What are 8 examples of cutting tools?

The 8 Best Cutting Tools for Sewing
1. Fabric shears.
2. All-purpose cheap scissors for paper.
3. Thread snippers.
4. Embroidery scissors.
5. Rotary cutters.
6. Pinking shears.
For lefties – Left-handed scissors.
Seam ripper.