How to Index Your Indexable Tools

Indexable cutting tools help add flexibility to your machining process. But how do you index your indexable tools?

Indexable Tools Give You Control

When you’re boring, drilling, cutting or performing other kinds of workpiece manipulation, indexable tools provide invaluable flexibility. They also tend to be more forgiving when used on machines with unreliable alignment. Groove turn inserts now also allow a user to make both radial and axial cuts, a considerable development in turning tools.

There’s such a variety of uses for indexable tools that they come in multiple configurations geared towards different types of equipment and there is vast commonality in indexable tools. Common shapes such as diamond and round, made to specific standards allow the machinist a nearly limitless choice of insert grades and cutting edge geometries. Indexable tools are great to have, and great in number.

Indexing Your Indexable Tools

Previously, solid cutting tools had to be removed from machines to be sharpened or discarded entirely. With indexable tools, a machinist can get away with only replacing the tip of the tool. Gone are the days of entire departments dedicated to sharpening tools. Machines are able to stay in production with just a brief pause to switch out the tip.

Identifying Indexable Tools

Luckily there is a standardized identification metric for indexable tools involving a combination of nine letters and numbers. Each combination is used to describe the insert shape, relief angle, tolerance, insert type, size, thickness, point or nose radius (chamfer), and cutting edge condition.

Each tool has a basic shape and radius at the corners, but the insert shape and the point angle can vary between 35-100 degrees. It correlates with the highest roughing point to the most pointed. Making the right choice in point radius impacts the cutting edge strength to surface finish and is a key factor in the successful project.

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