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What are the types of turning tool?

September 22, 2023

What are the types of turning tools?

Turning is a fundamental machining operation used to shape materials such as metal, wood, and plastic by rotating the workpiece on a lathe while a cutting tool removes unwanted material. Several types of turning tools are available to facilitate different cutting operations. Let's explore three questions regarding the different types of turning tools and their applications.

1. What are the different types of turning tools and their functions?

Turning tools come in various shapes and sizes, each designed to perform specific cutting tasks efficiently. Some commonly used turning tools include:

  • Roughing tool: This type of turning tool features a sturdy cutting edge that removes a significant amount of material quickly. It is ideal for initial stock removal and rough shaping.

  • Finishing tool: These tools have a sharp cutting edge designed for precision cuts and excellent surface finish. They are used for final shaping and fine surface finishes.

  • Parting tool: A parting tool has a narrow cutting edge used to separate the workpiece into two parts by cutting off excess material. It is commonly employed for cutting off finished parts from the main stock.

  • Boring tool: Boring tools are used to enlarge existing holes or create concentric holes within a workpiece. They typically have a single-point cutting tool with a variety of geometries to suit various boring operations.

  • Threading tool: These tools are used to create screw threads on a workpiece. They typically have a specialized cutting edge designed for cutting threads of different sizes and pitches.

2. Which turning tool is most suitable for rough turning operations?

For rough turning operations that involve rapid material removal, a roughing tool is the most suitable choice. Roughing tools generally have a heavy-duty construction and a large cutting edge capable of withstanding high cutting forces. Their primary purpose is to efficiently remove excess material and quickly shape the workpiece close to the desired dimensions. The roughing tool's coarse cutting edge and robust construction enhance productivity and reduce machining time during the rough turning process.

3. What turning tool is best for achieving high surface finish and dimensional accuracy?

When the goal is to achieve a high surface finish and dimensional accuracy, a finishing tool is the preferred option. Finishing tools are designed to make precision cuts and provide the final surface finish on the workpiece. They typically have a sharp cutting edge with a smaller nose radius, enabling them to produce smooth finishes without inducing excessive vibrations or deflections. Finishing tools often employ carbide inserts or other high-performance cutting materials to ensure excellent surface quality, dimensional accuracy, and tight tolerances.


Modern manufacturing relies on various types of turning tools to meet specific machining requirements. While roughing tools efficiently remove large amounts of material, finishing tools help achieve excellent surface finishes and dimensional accuracy. Choosing the right turning tool for a particular operation is crucial to obtain desired results while maximizing productivity and reducing manufacturing costs. Understanding the functions and applications of different turning tools enables machinists to select the best tool for each cutting task, improving the overall machining process.


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