Cutting tools, also referred to as cutters, are tools designed to remove workpiece material?typically metal?using one or more cutting edges. They are either single-point tools, such as turning and boring tools, or multi-point tools, like end mills and drill bits. As the name suggests, single-point tools have one cutting edge, or chip-producing element. These tools are commonly used in lathes to perform planing and shaping operations. Tool bits are examples of single-point tools. Multi-point tools have more than one cutting edge. These tools are used in holemaking and milling operations.
Tool geometry and cutter material are arguably the most important features of cutting tools and should be considered based on the tool?s specific task and the material being cut. The tool?s cutting edge must be harder than the workpiece material, it should be able to reasonably withstand high temperatures, and it should have an acceptable level of wear resistance. These three factors should be considered in order to achieve maximum productivity, extended tool life, and monetary savings. High speed steel is a standard cutter material because of its relative low cost in addition to toughness and hardness factors.
Other important characteristics of cutting tools are the number and design of the tool?s flutes and whether the tool is designed for linear or rotary motion. Linear tools include broaches, while countersinks and counterbores are examples of rotary cutting tools.