What Is A Shank Cutter?

Published On: August 21, 2020

The shank cutter for woodworking (also called milling cutter) is one of the tools which is most widely used in computer numerical control machine tools (CNC machine). We have different kinds of shank cutters, but most of them are cylindrical. There are blades twined in its body and its head. Each of the cutting edges of a milling cutter acts as an individual single-point cutter when it processes the workpiece, but they can also do cooperative engagement.


There is more than one kind of shank cutter. After all, we have more than one kind of surface that needs to be processed. So, we have shank cutters with flat-end, ball-end milling cutters, round nose end milling cutters, flat-end milling cutters with a chamfer, and many other formed milling cutters. Each of these shank cutters has a favorable position for the use of their own skills, like rough machining, finish machining, blank removing, chamfering, etc.

Although we say that different milling cutters have their favorable positions, they are mainly used in two kinds of ways. The first is facing milling. But because the tool’s cutting edge angle is a right angle, we often use it to machine planes with steps. The other one is called side milling. Due to the edges swinging around its body and head, we can use it to deal with both the surface and the side face. But it takes us other problems which don’t have in face milling: side wall shape and accuracy.


There is one more thing we should know is the materials we used to produce shank cutters. There are mainly two materials we use in shank cutters. One is high-speed steel (HSS) milling cutters, the other is tungsten carbide shank cutters.

What’s the difference?

Simply speaking, tungsten carbide shank cutters for woodworking have higher hardness than the ones made by HSS. These tungsten carbide router bits with excellent cutting force have higher speed and feed rate, which improve productivity. What’s more, shank cutters made of tungsten carbide can process stainless steel titanium alloy and other refractory materials. But in the case of rapid alternating cutting force, its blade is easy to be broken. This kind of milling cutter, of course, will cost more, but with long service life, it is completely worth it.

These are just some basic knowledge about shank cutters.

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