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Ask the Experts: Proper Care and Handling of End Mills and Taps

Grainger Editorial Staff

Hello and welcome to another edition of Grainger Ask The Experts.

Today we're talking about the proper care and handling of end mills, taps, and reamers. Here’s what you need to know to keep your cutting tools in good condition.  

Carbide and High-Speed Steel (HSS) cutting tools have delicate ground edges that produce the size and quality of the feature that’s being machined. These tools include end mills used to make shapes and holes; taps for cutting threaded holes; and reamers for widening out or finishing drilled holes.

In most cases, the tools are delivered to the end user in a protective sleeve that keeps the cutting edges in good condition until the end mill, tap, or reamer is loaded into the machine tool.

Now, if the tool is removed from its sleeve and installed in a holder on a bench or cart, you’ll want to make sure those edges do not come in contact with other edges.

Of course, once the tool is in operation, it’ll experience normal wear-and-tear that may (or may not) terminate its usefulness during a single process.

Return any reusable tools to their original shipping sleeves to prevent storage degradation. Mark any used tools with usage notes that will educate the next user on their remaining useful life.  

Now, at no time should end mills, taps, or reamers be stored unprotected in the same container as other unprotected tools. This can greatly reduce your tools’ useful life.

Handle your tools as if they were family heirlooms that you want to pass on to your children and the extra TLC will pay off in cost savings over time.

Thanks for watching this edition of Grainger Ask The Experts. For more helpful tips and videos, check out the full series.

The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.


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