6 Essential Deburring Tools
First rule of a machine shop: always deburr your parts.
Burrs are geometric formations that are created in any chip removal process. Since these little formations tend to be sharp and dangerous, deburring is considered an important operation as it will make the freshly machined parts safer to handle. Moreover, besides being important for safety reasons, deburring processes are also necessary to make parts usable in subsequent operations that require the part to be burr-free, like in the case of metal punches.
Whenever possible, it is recommended to limit burr formation rather than deburr them in a subsequent finishing operation. But in many, if not most cases, manual post-machining deburring will be required.
Despite the simplicity of the operation, deburring is a fundamental part of the machining process and its benefits in terms of productivity and quality can be substantial. That’s the reason why it is important for machinists to have a deep understanding of the different techniques and tools involved. Luckily, there’s plenty of literature available on the subject that can help you master the skill.
Here are a couple of good reads to get you started:
Since not all edges are made the same, there are a variety of deburring tools designed for specific applications. From hand tools to power tools and attachments, the choices are endless.
Let’s take a look at the most popular ones and their applications:
Files are probably the most used deburring tool in any machine shop. They are available in a wide variety of sizes and types depending on the material of the part and the type of edge. One of the most important things to consider when choosing a file is the roughness of the surface and the teeth cut. The most popular files – and the ones we recommend starting out with – have a fine surface and double-cut teeth like this:
If there’s a tool that is never left out of any machinist’s toolbox, it’s a hand deburring tool. The blades of the tool come in different sizes, materials, and shapes. They also work well on flat surfaces and internal curves but are not optimal for external round surfaces. NOGA is one of the most popular brands for hand deburring tools and the one we recommend.
Countersink tools are used to deburr the edges of drilled holes. Deburring a drilled hole can be done manually by using a hand deburring tool like the one shown below, or by using a power tool with a countersink attachment like this.
Hand deburring and countersink tools often come in sets like the one pictured below.
Stones are generally used to deburr hardened parts that require a good surface finish. They come in a variety of materials such as silicon carbide, aluminum oxide and/or synthetic ruby. Among all the materials, ruby is preferred but can be costly. They are great for any type of finishing operation and they pretty much never wear out.
Die grinders are a great deburring solution as they are easy to use, fast and not physically demanding. One of the big advantages of working with a power tool is the fact that they include a wide variety of attachments that can help with both deburring and finishing. If you are considering purchasing a die grinder, we recommend getting an electric one along with a set of deburring attachments like this:
Last, but not least, another effective tool that will help you deburr and chamfer your parts. As the name suggests, these machines are designed to chamfer the edges, therefore they are not suitable for parts that require crisp edges. Chamfering machines are easy to use and make the deburring process fast, but since they cut the edge of the part with a mill, they will require you to clean the part from the secondary burr.
In conclusion, as simple as it can seem, deburring is a critical operation to safety and quality. Deburring small, intricate parts is almost an art form as it requires fine motor skills, an understanding of critical part features and attention to detail. Learning to properly remove burrs and investing in the right tools should be considered as important as learning to use micrometers and calipers.
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