A Buyer’s Guide to Purchasing Live Tools

by | Apr 19, 2020 | Guides

Whether your decision to invest in a new live tool lathe is the result of a new application or an existing one, the selection of live tools will play a large part in optimizing the machine’s performance. Finding a supplier that offers a wide selection of superior quality, high performance live tools will allow you to make the best choices for this job as well as any future jobs.

These are the questions we will answer today that will lead you to an informed decision about your live tooling needs.

Preben Hansen

Preben Hansen, the President of Platinum Tooling, offers his 30+ years of experience in the metal cutting industry to help you with your timing and selection of live and static tools. 

When should I start thinking about tooling?

To put it simply, the best time to consider tooling is at the same time you are evaluating your machine purchase. This will ensure quick start-up upon machine delivery and installation.

How do I determine my live tooling needs?

The process begins with the evaluation of your application and the decision to select a live tool manufacturer that pays close attention to OEM specifications. This will help to protect your investment and maximize the machine’s capabilities.

The answers to a few simple questions will point you in the right direction. First, you need to know, what output is required. Is a standard ER output appropriate or will you need something special? What size cutting tools do you need to hold? Will you need coolant through capabilities? Besides these questions, it is important to know your rpm, torque, and runout requirements.

What can I expect from my live tools?

It is reasonable to expect your tools to have a long life. However, not all tools are created equal; don’t sacrifice quality for short term savings. Inferior tools will have a difficult time cutting certain materials and keeping tight tolerances. Look for a supplier that offers live tools with a maximum runout of 5-6 micron.

Be sure to select tools engineered to provide outstanding performance and durability. Tools built with superior bearings and gear technology will have the greatest accuracy, smoothest transmission, and highest torque output.

In addition to performance, it is important that the tools you select are engineered with a flexible changing system. With the use of adapters, you can change the output of your tools for various applications without requiring a new tool purchase. This will result in lower tool costs and set-up times. Adapters are available in alternate ER, Weldon, and Arbor outputs.

Do I have any special requirements?

Sometimes, standard axial or radial tools are not sufficient for your application. It is important to identify these areas and be sure your live tool supplier can offer the proper tools. For instance, your application may require a tool with the ability to handle high pressure internal coolant. Additionally, you may need a speed increaser for higher rpm, a gear reducer for additional torque, or an adjustable tool for compound angles. If space is an issue on the turret, a multiple spindle tool may be the answer. Hobbing tools for cutting spline or gears may also be required.

Do I need any custom tools?

On occasion, a custom tool is warranted for a complex application. Although these tools are more costly up front, the saving in production time on this job and future jobs will more than pay for the tool. A custom tool can be designed based on your workpiece drawing and machine specifications. Be sure you are supplied a final drawing of the tool prior to production for review of overall dimensional data and interference concerns.

Conclusion

As you begin the search for your live tool supplier, please know that Platinum Tooling is here to support you and help you find the answers to your tooling questions. We are the exclusive importer of live and static tools from heimatec GmbH, a premiere manufacturer of high quality, performance toolholders. For more information, feel free to email us at info@platinumtooling.com or call (847) 749-0633.

Platinum Tooling is the exclusive North American importer of Heimatec tooling, a worldwide leader in the machine tool accessory market.

Preben Hansen

Preben Hansen, the President of Platinum Tooling, offers his 30+ years of experience in the metal cutting industry to help you with your timing and selection of live and static tools. Platinum Tooling is the exclusive North American importer of Heimatec tooling, a worldwide leader in the machine tool accessory market.

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