Tool blanks are ungrounded rods or inserts for subsequent grinding, geometry, and edge design and fabrication. Tool blanks are used with lathe tool grinding in order to undercut the tip of a tool to provide relief so that the metal just below the cutting tip does not contact the work. Tool blanks are the form a piece takes when it has been prepared for turning. In metal cutting, tool blanks are converted into a final product by cutting extra material away using turning, drilling, milling, broaching, boring, and grinding operations.
A blank form tool is used to create a shape identical to the tool. For example, to grind form tools, a pattern of the finished shape would be used. A blank removal tool is used to remove material with a cutting or grinding tool. Various abrasive materials can be used, depending on the blank material and desired removal rate. A lathe is an example of a blank cutting tool that is used for turning and facing work in the lathe. For a micromechanical-milling tool, a tool blank can be nearly any diameter.
Cutting tools can be used with a computer numerically control (CNC) machining program to remove material from a workpiece until the final part is within an acceptable tolerance of the mathematical surfaces. Tolerances are of vital importance in the process, and the tool path generation algorithms must guarantee that deviations between the ideal surface and the actual surface are bounded.
With tool blanks, powdered metal is superior to common steel compounds because the carbide content can be evenly distributed throughout a piece of stock being formed. The uniformity of content allows metal engineers to design a specific compound knowing that those exact properties will be present throughout the blank from which the tools are manufactured. A polycrystalline diamond (PCD) is a synthetic diamond product that is produced by sintering together selected diamond particles with a metal matrix. PCD tool blanks can be created by sintering together the diamond and matrix under high temperatures and pressures. These types of tool blanks are high in uniform hardness and abrasive resistant in all directions.