The Importance of Tool Holders in Precision Machining

GUHDO HSK63F Tool Holder, Collet, Collet Nut, Router Bit

GUHDO HSK63F Tool Holder, Collet, Collet Nut, Router Bit

The selection and proper use of the tool holder is almost as important as the actual cutting tool selection. The tool holder is the contact point between the machine and the tool itself so it’s integral to the integrity of the connection to the machine spindle. It’s essential that the tool is properly inserted within the collet and that it rotates through its cutting path with little to no run-out.  Ball bearing collet nuts help ensure the collet is clamping the tool properly in order to avoid loss of tool efficiency and any possible deflection from the clamping source.   Should you experience a run-out or machine crash one of the most important things to do is re-calibrate the spindle using a  run-out arbor.

The collet style tool holder used most frequently in woodworking is the HSK style tool holders,  made up of three main parts: the actual tool holder body, the collet and the collet nut.  In the case of ISO, SK and BT tool holders the retention knob (also referred to as a pull stud) is a fourth part.

HSK Tool Holder

When changing the tool it is important to setup the tooling in the proper tool changing fixture to properly secure the tool holder while installing/changing tooling .  A  torque wrench should be used to tighten the collet nut as over or under tightening can be dangerous to the machining operators, also having a negative effect on the tool and spindle due to slippage and chatter caused by a lack of uniform compression on the shaft.

HSK63F Tool Holder with Router Bit

When installing the tool shank into the collet, it is important that at least 3/4″ of the collet is filled with the tool shank to avoid imbalance, vibration, risk of tool slippage and even tool breakage. It’s important to ensure that the spirals/cutting edge is not covered by the collet as it can damage the edge. Improperly balanced tools will lead to a  poor material finish and paying close attention to accurate tool clamping increases the tool’s longevity, reduces noise from the machine and severely decreases the chances that spindle failure or damages will occur. In the case that this occurs don’t forget, calibration arbors are great tools to keep your spindle healthy after a move or tool crash.

HSK63F Tool Holder and Collet Nut

Maximizing a Cutting Tool’s Effectiveness

A selection of Industry Standard Tool Holders

There are three key factors that ensure the effectiveness of a cutting tool used in the machining processes.

  1. Cutting Tool Geometry Selection and Material
  2. Tool Holder Integrity
  3. Feed Rate and RPM

Carbide Insert Router Bit

These three aspects are universal and applicable to all cutting tools and materials. The selection of the right tool and the tools geometric settings are influenced by a number of factors, and it is of essential to consider all aspects of the application in order to arrive at the correct tool selection for the job. Not sure? Contact us to discuss the situation and we are hapy to help.

HSK63F Tool Holder for CNC Machines

Determining When to Sharpen PCD Tooling

PCD Diamond Router Bit

PCD Diamond Router Bit

In order to maximize your run-time with PCD and carbide tooling it’s essential to get saw blades, router bits, drill bits and other cutting items maintained at appropriate intervals before the PCD/carbide wears to the point of failure.  By removing the tool from the machine for sharpening before the cutting edge is completely dull or even lost, the durability of the tool will be improved and it will require less material to be removed to recover the cutting edge.

PCD Hogger

PCD Hogger

Three simple steps can help improve the longevity of tools as they allow to establish the ideal resharpening time.

  • Step 1.  – Take two like new tools and run them until they are dull monitoring the amount of material cut. The point of removal will be when the cut finish on the material (wood, metal, plastic, etc.) is no longer acceptable.
  • Step 2. – Compare the total number of linear feet cut or the amount of material (number of sheets) that was cut with each tool.
  • Step 3. – Take the number acquired in step 2 and subtract 15% to 20% from the average.

Use this number as a guide for when tools should be sent in for maintenance.

Example: 175 table top cuts minus 20% equals 140 table tops, therefore the tool should be sharpened at around 140 table top cuts. 

GUHDO Tooling

GUHDO Tooling


Here are some tips for getting the maximize sharpening and increase the longevity of tools:

  • Materials should be consistent quality and type
  • Cut types should be fairly similar
  • Engraving cutting tools with a number will make tracking and incorporating tool information in spreadsheets easier

We would be happy to give you a quote on your PCD or carbide sharpening needs and we have a full service facility on-site for quick turnaround.

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