The term tool bit generally refers to a non-rotary cutting tool used in metal lathes, shapers, and planers. Such cutters are also often referred to by the set-phrase name of single-point cutting tool. The cutting edge is ground to suit a particular machining operation and may be resharpened or reshaped as needed. The ground tool bit is held rigidly by a tool holder while it is cutting.
Side Rake along with back rake controls the chip flow and partly counteracts the resistance of the work to the movement of the cutter and can be optimized to suit the particular material being cut. Brass for example requires a back and side rake of 0 degrees while aluminum uses a back rake of 35 degrees and a side rake of 15 degrees.
Nose Radius makes the finish of the cut smoother as it can overlap the previous cut and eliminate the peaks and valleys that a pointed tool produces. Having a radius also strengthens the tip, a sharp point being quite fragile.
All the other angles are for clearance in order that no part of the tool besides the actual cutting edge can touch the work. The front clearance angle is usually 8 degrees while the side clearance angle is 10-15 degrees and partly depends on the rate of feed expected.
Minimum angles which do the job required are advisable because the tool gets weaker as the edge gets keener due to the lessening support behind the edge and the reduced ability to absorb heat generated by cutting. The Rake angles on the top of the tool need not be precise in order to cut but to cut efficiently there will be an optimum angle for back and side rake.
A form tool is precision-ground into a pattern that resembles the part to be formed. The form tool can be used as a single operation and therefore eliminate many other operations from the slides (front, rear and/or vertical) and the turret, such as box tools. A form tool turns one or more diameters while feeding into the work. Before the use of form tools, diameters were turned by multiple slide and turret operations, and thus took more work to make the part. For example, a form tool can turn many diameters and in addition can also cut off the part in a single operation and eliminate the need to index the turret. For single-spindle machines, bypassing the need to index the turret can dramatically increase hourly part production rates.
On long-running jobs it is common to use a roughing tool on a different slide or turret station to remove the bulk of the material, then finish with a finishing form tool. This increases the lifespan of the finishing tool's finely ground edge and ensures that the 5,000th part receives the same nice finish and dimensional precision that the first part received.
There are different types of form tools. Insert tools are the most common for short- to medium-range jobs (50 to 20,000 pcs). Circular form tools are usually for longer jobs, since the tool wear can be ground off the tool tip many times as the tool is rotated in its holder. There is also a skiving tool that can be used for light finishing cuts. Form tools can be made of cobalt steel, carbide, or high-speed steel. Carbide requires additional care because it is very brittle and will chip if chatter occurs.
A drawback when using form tools is that the feed into the work is usually slow, .0005" to .0012" per revolution depending on the width of the tool. Wide form tools create more heat and usually are problematic for chatter. Heat and chatter reduces tool life. Also, form tools wider than 2.5 times the smaller diameter of the part being turned have a greater risk of the part breaking off. When turning longer lengths, a support from the turret can be used to increase turning length from 2.5 times to 5 times the smallest diameter of the part being turned, and this also can help reduce chatter. Despite the drawbacks, the elimination of extra operations often makes using form tools the most efficient option.
The tool holders may also be designed to introduce additional properties to the cutting action, such as
Note that since stiffness (rather than strength) is usually the design driver of a tool holder, the steel used doesn't need to be particularly hard or strong as there is relatively little difference between the stiffnesses of most steel alloys.
The toolpost is the part of a metalworking lathe which either holds the tool bit directly or holds a toolholder which contains the tool bit. There are a great variety of designs for toolposts (including basic toolposts, rocker toolposts, quick-change toolposts, and toolpost turrets) and toolholders (with varying geometry and features.)
A box tool is mounted on the turret of a turret lathe or screw machine. It is essentially a toolpost that brings its follower rest along with it. A tool bit (or several tool bits) and a compact (usually V-shaped) follower rest are mounted opposite each other in a body which surrounds the workpiece (forms a "box" around it). As the tool bit puts a lateral deflecting force on the workpiece, the follower rest opposes it, providing rigidity. Opposing tool bits may be used (instead of a rest) to cancel each other's deflecting forces, in which case the box tool begins to overlap in form, function, and identity with a hollow mill.
Shapers, slotters, and planers often employ a kind of toolholder called a clapper box that swings freely on the return stroke of the ram or bed. On the next cutting stroke, it "claps" back into cutting position. Its movement is analogous to that of a butterfly-style check valve.
Fly cutters are a type of milling cutter in which one or two tool bits are mounted. The bits spin around with the rotation of the spindle, taking facing cuts. Fly cutters are an application of tool bits where the bits are part of a rotary unit (whereas most other tool bit use is linear).