6 Essential Deburring Tools [Updated 2020]
Whether you’re large enough to have a deburring department, lucky enough to have an apprentice taking care of the “dirty jobs“, or are getting creative with different makeshift roughing materials, a common rule of any machine shop is: 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:
This is considered to be the most comprehensive book on burr removal and the treatment of edges. Written by an industry expert, dive into LaRoux Gillespie’s in-depth guide to different deburring technologies and learn what the most cost-effective options are for your application.
In this book you will find a complete inventory of all the elements you need to optimize your hand-deburring operations. You will better understand when hand deburring is the answer and obtain a holistic understanding of over 10,000 different hand-deburring tools.
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.
We asked the Practical Machinist community via social media to share their favorite deburring tools. In additional to sharing their go-to selections, the community also shared how machinists have different approaches to the deburring process.
Let’s take a look at the most recommended deburring tools 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 type of file – and the ones we recommend starting out with – have a fine surface and double-cut teeth like this one:
The file’s rectangular shape is best for smoothing and shaping of straight surfaces. This file is not known for its precision, but for its ability to rapidly remove material. One side is for smoothing while the other is for filing and removal.
A Swiss pattern file is an extra fine file best for precision filing – for example, with instrument parts and dies. Practical Machinist members who mentioned “Swiss” need a very fine file for their deburring applications. Do not mistake this for being Swiss made.
These files are manufactured by advanced CNC equipment, so they achieve optimal precision and too ensure the tool adheres to strict Quality Control procedures for every level of manufacturing. This file is ½” wide x 5/32” thick, parallel in width and gently tapered in thickness.
Hand deburring tools
If there’s a tool that is never left out of any machinist’s toolbox, it’s a hand deburring tool, also referred to as a burr whip. 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 remains one of the most popular brands for hand deburring tools and was the most-mentioned brand by our community. This model includes an ergonomic NG-1 handle, S-10, S-20, and S-35 blades, and is suitable for course to super fine deburring operations.
The runner up in popularity among Practical Machinists was the SHAVIV deburr tool. This kit includes one aluminum A handle, one E blade holder, and three E-series blades. This model is best for heavy-duty, long-reach deburring of straight edges and hole edges.
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 the following:
Great for cleaning up holes in aluminum and steel. Hand deburring and countersink tools often come in sets like the one pictured below. This tool is very light weight which makes a significant impact on fatigue.
Included in this set are: RB handle, o-ring blade, rotative countersink (RD16.5), external rotodrive countersink (RDE18), thread cleaner blade, S100 blade, S150 blade and plastic case. Great option for someone whose deburring needs don’t always look the same.
A pneumatic tool is an air-powered tool driven by compressed air supplied by a compressor. One of the biggest 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. This way of deburring parts is relatively popular among Practical Machinists.
Here are some recommended models:
This Nova Pneumatic pencil grinder includes a 1/8” collet, 2 wrenches, a hose and different air fittings. The maximum air pressure is 90 PSI so make sure this is suitable for your application needs. Although die grinders can get pretty loud, this pencil air grinder has a smooth and quiet operation.
The rear exhaust directs the air away from the workpiece and the built-in regular matches speed to the job. The Chicago Pneumatic runs a free speed of 22,000 rpm and has a hose size of 3/8-Inch. The speed control mechanism will ensure you maintain optimum RPMs and achieve the highest levels of productivity.
Wheel (bench) grinders
Using a grinding wheel is great for heavy material removal along one spot. Wheel grinders are used for both polishing and deburring, so it is important that the wheel you are using with your bench grinder is designed specifically for cutting. To learn a bit more about grinding wheel best practices, take a look at the video below.
This grinder features a powerful 5/8 HP induction motor for heavy-duty grinding operations and the motor runs at 3,450 RPM for high speed material removal.
Last, but not least, chamfering machines are 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.
This machine’s motor is 1/2 HP, 110V, single-phase and includes a 18T carbide cutter. You can control the speed (up to 4300 RPM) and you can adjust the depth of cut.
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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