What Kind of Tools Are in a Machine Shop?

What Kind of Tools Are in a Machine Shop?
  • Opening Intro -

    When talking about a machine shop, there tends to be confusion as to what it really is.

    A machine shop isn’t a place that makes machines.


It’s a production facility that can make specific parts for various machines and applications. Machinists and the tools they work with remove material from a solid hunk of metal, wood, or plastic to create a desired shape and form.

Inside a machine shop are dozens of different tools that can make just about anything; tiny parts for a watch or huge parts for ocean liners.

Machine shops service every type of manufacturing industry in the world, including the automotive, aeronautic, shipbuilding, and computer industries, by making the parts that make their products.

With such a wide range of industries covered, it begs the question: what kind of tools are in a machine shop?

Turning Machines

A turning machine is more commonly known as a lathe. They hold a workpiece in clamps and spin the piece at a high speed. While the material is spinning, a tool is pressed against it to remove material and create a cylindrical piece.

Wooden baseball bats and table legs are commonly made on a lathe, but any material can be cut on a lathe. Whatever you may call it, turning machines are an essential and incredibly useful tool in any machine shop.

CNC Machines

You will always find a Computer Numeric Controlled machine (CNC) in machine shops. CNC machines are programmed to create all kinds of parts. A programmer enters specific coordinates into the machine and it does the rest. The operator must load the material, hit start, and monitor for problems. CNC applications are added to lathes, mills, presses, and many other machine tools.

Milling Machines

A milling machine does the same work as a lathe, just in a different way. In a mill, the tool is stationary and the workpiece moves. The rotating cutting tool spins at a high speed while the material touches the tool to create concave surfaces, rounded edges, grooves, and holes. It’s a versatile machine capable of making many different forms, which is why it’s such an essential part of the machine shop.

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Hand Tools

Next to all these large, impressive machines are various small hand tools. You’ll find both electric and pneumatic tools; each has its own benefits. Machinists use files, calipers, saws, and vices to put finishing touches and deburr pieces.

The CNC machines and grinders do a good job, but there is always a final touch to put on a part to make sure it’s perfect. The work done in a machine shop is anything but simple, and the ultimate time, care, and precision goes into each and every job.

Image Credit: machine shop by Pixabay

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