tool and die making

Industrial art of manufacturing stamping dies, plastics molds, and jigs and fixtures to be used in the mass production of solid objects. The making of dies for punch presses constitutes most of the work done in tool and die shops, and most such pressworking dies are used in the manufacture of sheet-metal parts such as the panels of an automobile body. Seealso machine tool.

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Device for making material changes on other objects, as by cutting, shearing, striking, rubbing, grinding, squeezing, measuring, or other process. A hand tool is a small manual instrument traditionally operated by the muscular strength of the user; a machine tool is a power-driven mechanism used to cut, shape, or form materials such as wood and metal. Tools are the main means by which human beings control and manipulate their physical environment.

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Stationary, power-driven machine used to cut, shape, or form materials such as metal and wood. Machine tools date from the invention of the steam engine in the 18th century; most common machine tools were designed by the middle of the 19th century. Today dozens of different machine tools are used in the workshops of home and industry. They are frequently classified into seven types: turning machines such as lathes; shapers and planers; power drills or drill presses; milling machines; grinding machines; power saws; and presses (e.g., punch presses).

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Stone Age devices, usually flint (see chert and flint), shaped by flaking off small particles or by breaking off a large flake to use as a tool. Prehistoric humans preferred flint and similar siliceous stones because of the ease with which they could be chipped and for their sharp cutting edges. They also used sandstones, quartzites, quartz, obsidian, and volcanic rocks. Stone tools were chipped by striking a block of flint with a hammer of stone, wood, or bone or by striking the block itself on the edge of a fixed stone. Pressure flaking consists of applying pressure by means of a pointed stick or bone near the edge of a flake or blade, to detach small flakes, and was used mostly to put the finishing touches on tools. Seealso stone-tool industry.

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A gimlet is a hand tool for drilling small holes, mainly in wood, without splitting. It was defined in Gwilt's Architecture (1859) as "a piece of steel of a semi-cylindrical form, hollow on one side, having a cross handle at one end and a worm or screw at the other".

A gimlet is always a small tool. A similar tool of larger size is called an auger. The cutting action of the gimlet is slightly different from an auger, however, as the end of the screw, and so the initial hole it makes, is smaller; the cutting edges pare away the wood which is moved out by the spiral sides, falling out through the entry hole. This also pulls the gimlet further into the hole as it is turned; unlike a bradawl, pressure is not required once the tip has been drawn in.

The name "gimlet" comes from the Old French guimbelet, probably a diminutive of the Old English "wimble", and the Scandinavian wammie, to bore or twist; the modern French is gibelet.

The term is also used figuratively to describe something as sharp or piercing, and also to describe the twisting, boring motion of using a gimlet. The term gimlet-eyed can mean sharp-eyed or squint-eyed (one example of this use is Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, who was known as "Old Gimlet Eye"). In this sense it is often considered a colloquialism - for example, author Terry Pratchett uses the phrase "eyes like gimlets" to humorous effect.


In the story "The Tale of Samuel Whiskers" by Beatrix Potter, John Joiner is said to be "going round and round with his head in the hole like a gimlet."

In "Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius, "Constantly contemplate the whole of time and the whole of substance, and consider that all individual things as to substance are a grain of a fig, and as to time, the turning of a gimlet."

In Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Linda uses a gimlet to pierce a hole through the roof of the storeroom/shed where she was hiding out in order for her to see her children.

In the story "Anne of Green Gables," Anne says that Nettie Blewett looks "exactly like a gimlet."

The Latin Version of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone states that the company that Harry's Uncle Vernon works for is a company devoted solely to the manufacture of gimlets.

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