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Expert Guide to Using Boring Bars in Metalworking

What are boring bars?

A boring bar, or boring tool, is commonly used in the metalworking industry, these single point tools stay static on the lathe, whilst the workpiece rotates at speed, the boring bar is fed into the material In the z axis of the machine tool and the carbide insert or tip is used to enlarge the pre-existing hole to the desired size thus creating a finished bore.

How to select the correct boring bar?

There are many different components that make up a boring bar, whether that be the style of bar itself or the insert being clamped in it. See below some of the common considerations to make before purchasing a boring bar:

  • Dullness or Drop in Performance - If you notice that the drill is not cutting as efficiently as before, or if it's producing more heat than usual, it might be a sign that the drill bit is dull and needs sharpening.
  • Visible Wear - Examine the cutting edges of the drill bit. If you see visible wear, chipping, or rounding of the cutting edges, it's time to sharpen the drill.
  • Poor Hole Quality - If the drill is creating an uneven or rough surface finish, it could be an indication that the cutting edges are not sharp and need attention.
  • Increased Drilling Pressure - If drilling by hand and you find yourself applying more force or pressure than usual to make the drill cut, it may be an indicator that the drill bit needs sharpening.
  • Material Being Drilled - Harder materials like metals and alloys can dull a drill bit more quickly than softer materials like wood or plastic. For drilling on harder materials, the drill will need re sharpening more often.
  • Coolant Issues - If you are drilling with coolant, and you notice that it's not as effective in keeping the temperature down, it could be due to a dull drill bit rubbing rather than cutting and causing too much friction.

Steel vs Carbide Shank Boring Bars

Carbide boring bars offer much higher rigidity than their steel shank counterparts. Therefore, where any applications pose a risk of vibration, carbide should be considered. This will prevent chatter which ensures a good surface finish, protects the insert from chipping and improves overall tool life.

Carbide shank boring bars are also preferred in long reach applications because steel shank tools can lose accuracy and rigidity the deeper they go.

Steel shank boring bars are still extremely popular and are the 1st choice for general boring applications or where cost outweighs the requirement for high rigidity.

What Turning Insert Fits in my Boring Bar?

All boring bars have an ISO code designated to them. The combination of letters and numbers related to various attributes of the tool. Therefore there is a very easy way to identify what insert fits in your boring bar.

By using the 2nd and 4th letter of the series and the last digits of the overall code you will find the insert you need.

For example, on an S08H-SCLCR06 you get the letters CC (2nd and 4th of the series) and the number 06 at the end. This equates to either a CCMT06 or a CCGT06 insert that will fit that specific bar.

For more information on what the letters and numbers refer to in a boring bar ISO code you can view our article here.

Need more information about Boring Bars or any other product?

Our expert technical team are on hand to support you with any queries or tool recommendations. Please call 01924 869615 or email and we will be more than happy to help you find the right tool whilst maximising your productivity and saving you time and money.

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