As a CNC machinist, selecting the right milling tool is a critical part of the manufacturing process. In this guide we will be covering some of the best tools you can select and use for CNC cutting.

CNC Cutting Tools Composition

Before understanding which tool is ideal for you, it is important to understand the basics of how these tools are made. Specifically, from which materials are these tools made. With that being said let's take a look at the most commonly used materials:

Ceramics: Ceramics are extremely ideal for circumstances of high heat cutting environments. They are also corrosion resistant and are ideally fit for hard superalloys and steel.

Carbon Steel: Carbon steel is relatively inexpensive and in this case, ideal for low-speed operations used in turning, milling cutters, and twist drilling.

High-Speed Steel: High-Speed Steel is higher caliber than carbon steel in the sense that its composition facilitates long-term durability. It is ideal for circumstances where tough and resistant material is required.

Solid Carbide: Solid Carbide is ideal milling machines finishing applications.

Most Commonly Used Tools for CNC machining

Now that you understand the most commonly used materials for cnc cutting tools here are the top 8 best tools for CNC cutting.

End Mills


Fly Cutters

Twist Drills

Thread Milling Cutters

Tool Holders

Face Mills

Center-Spotting Drills


Tool #1 - End Mill

End mills are extremely proficient cutting tools when it comes to removing large amounts of excess material from workpieces. Being composed of sharp cutting flutes on the ends and sides, end mills are very beneficial for a wide array of cutting applications. Among these applications include the following:

Side milling (machining the edge or surface of workpiece)

Face milling (machining top face of workpiece)

Slot milling (machining two edge surfaces)

Plunge milling (machining along Z-axis)

Ramping (machining radial axis)

Tool #2 - Reamers

Reamers are great tools for adding surface finishes and for expanding holes in workpieces to a specific tolerance. It is also used to ensure that a hole has an accurately measured diameter and is most typically used for enlarging and finishing to accurate dimensions holes that have been drilled, bored, or cored.

Tool #3 - Fly Cutters

Fly cutters are single-point cutting tools that most commonly resemble a metal lathe tool mounted in a special holder. They are ideal for scenarios where operators are machining large and flat surface areas. In particular, fly cutters move along the surface of a material in a clockwise rotation, to help produce a polished finish and shine to the workpiece.

Tool #4 - Twist Drills

Twist drills are rotary cutting tools that are composed of two cutting edges and two flutes. These are grooves which are formed in the body which provide cutting lips, to permit the removal of chips and to allow coolant or cutting fluid to reach the cutting action. Twist drills also are usually reinforced in gold-colored coatings which are used to increase the drills toughness, durability and overall tool life making it a very long-lasting and viable option for dealing with hard workpieces.

Tool #5 - Thread Milling Cutters

Thread mills are great for cutting internal and external threads. They are ideal for cutting softer materials such as copper and aluminum or other nonferrous alloys that have high tap breakage. Thread mills also provide smaller cutting forces, allowing for the threading of thin-walled parts.

Tool #6 - Tool Holders

A tool holder is a machining tool that is used to secure the end mill in place. The main purpose as suggested by its name, is to hold the tool in place as precisely and firmly as possible. This is critical during CNC machining in order to prevent unfortunate events such as breaking your workpiece or CNC cutting tool. Given that different types of holders have varying levels of runout and balance here are a few tool holders to choose from.

Solid End Mill Holders

ER Collet Holder

Collet Chuck

Drill Chuck

Hydraulic and Shrink Fit Holders

Tool #7 - Face Mills

Face mills are ideally used for milling a face on the surface of a workpiece (usually a plate or bar). They are predominantly used to cut with the ends of the cutter rather than their sides. A face mill usually consists of one solid body with multiple cutter insertions that can be changed according to the project. The more cutters, the faster and more efficient the face mill will cut the desired workpiece.

Tool #8 - Center-Spotting Drills

Center-spotting drills are ideally used for creating holes that are suitable for a lathe center. They are tools designed to help create accurate conic holes before drilling, which helps prevent inaccuracy during the machining process.

Looking for the Right Tool? We Have You Covered!

At Gizmo Machine Tools, we currently have a variety of options if you are looking to buy milling cutting tools for your CNC machine.

As a Canadian corporation we service internationally in buying, selling and trading of machinery. With over 18 years of experience in the manufacturing industry our company focuses on providing customers with an alternative to expensive new machinery, when tooling up for a job or replacing existing capital equipment. If you have any questions or require assistance feel free to contact us today and we would love to help!