Round Shank Tools Wet Blasting

Precision automated finishing of round shank tools for coating durability and precise edge-honing

The importance of tool quality

Encompassing drill bits, end mills, thread mills or taps, bullnose router bits, burrs, step drill bits, and others, round shank tools perform a wide variety of jobs.

The extra investment customers make in high-quality tools, especially carbide tools, reflects the performance and longevity they expect. In fact there are quite a few reasons for investing in quality tools…

Round Shank tool selection

...including performance, durability and longevity, safety, cost efficiency, consistency in results, customer satisfaction, reduced downtime and compatibility.

For these reasons, customers typically turn to trusted brands they are confident will not let them down on quality.

It takes years or even decades to build a trusted brand, but that trust can be quickly lost if the tool performs below expectations.

Wet blasting can help manufacturers improve the quality of your round-shank tools
Edge honing to prevent damage to the cutting-edge

Another measure of quality is the durability of the cutting edge. In the same way a highly sharpened pencil is prone to snapping, a tool’s cutting edge when highly sharpened can become easily chipped and damaged.

The solution is to apply a specific edge hone that helps prevent the cutting edge from being damaged by chipping or curling and allows the tool to run at full production speed from new.

Wet blasting can apply this edge hone to a specific micrometre tolerance and profile, otherwise known as a K-factor, to suit the application the tool is designed for. Profiles can range from a waterfall hone with a K-factor greater than one to a reverse waterfall or trumpet hone with a K-factor of less than one.

Edge honing to produce the ideal chip

The precise edge hone that wet blasting produces allows the tool to generate an ideal chip with an optimum depth and curl, resulting in longer tool life and a better finish - and a tool that stays sharp for longer means fewer tool changes and less downtime. The perfect edge can be generated for a specific target material, further increasing the value of the tool.

"Let our edge help your edge"

A customer of ours was resharpening high-performance drills but was not edge-honing them. Using our automated Oncilla wet blasting machine (details below), they applied a specific edge hone which increased tool life by five to seven times.

Creating a highly reactive surface for coatings

A common area of quality concern for round shank tools is the successful application of a durable PVD coating. A highly reactive tool surface helps ensure even coating application and strong coating adherence.

Wet blasting (or vapor blasting, or aqua blasting, to give it its other names) is exceptionally good at creating these reactive surfaces, more so than any other type of finishing.

It can finish surfaces to the specific Ra surface roughness that is perfect for the application of coatings.

Finishing to a specific Ra is also important when it comes to drill bits, taps, or other types of round shank tools used in the medical industry as it is possible to finish tools to a Ra surface roughness that is ideal for effective sterilisation.

Wet blasting also delivers a perfectly even finish across the entire body of the tool.

Removal of coating imperfections

Opportunities to improve the quality of the tool continue after coating. Wet blasting after coating removes coating imperfections, like coating droplets, to leave a uniform surface with an optimum Ra surface roughness for the cutting operation required from the tool.

Peening coatings for increased durability

Coatings like PVD typically have an incumbent tensile stress that can reduce the durability of the coating. Wet blasting can be used to peen the coating, converting tensile stresses into compressive stresses and in turn, dramatically improve the durability of the coating.

Beyond the benefits of pre and post-coating and edge honing, wet blasting offers several other important benefits for round shank tool manufacturers…

  • Surface cleaning: Wet blasting effectively removes contaminants, oils, residues, and oxides from the surface of tools. This clean surface is essential for coatings, treatments, or subsequent manufacturing steps.
  • Deburring: Wet blasting is a highly effective method for removing burrs from tool surfaces.
  • Enhanced durability: By eliminating surface flaws, wet blasting can improve the durability and resistance of round shank tools to wear and corrosion, extending their operational lifespan.
  • Reduced friction and wear: Smoother surfaces resulting from wet blasting can minimise friction and wear during the tool's use, contributing to better performance and longer life.
  • Improved worker safety: As wet blasting eliminates airborne dust and contaminants, it contributes to a safer and healthier work environment for operators.
  • Environmental considerations: Wet blasting produces less waste and is more environmentally friendly compared to dry blasting methods, contributing to sustainable manufacturing practices.
The effect of wet blasting on a drill bit
Process control and automation

Another great advantage of wet blasting is its process control. With numerous controllable variables like air pressure and abrasive media concentration, it is possible to achieve the exact uniform surface finish required for the tool in question. Visit our control and automation page for a complete list of all the controllable variables.

Automation ensures the perfect finish achieved by those controllable variables is precisely delivered to every part of the tool's body. It also ensures the same complete and accurate wet blast finish is delivered every time.

As with most industrial automation, productivity is significantly increased making ROI particularly rapid.

The Oncilla and Puma + Vertical automatic wet blasting machines

Designed specifically for the processing of round shank tools, our Oniclla, Oncilla Cub, and Puma + Vertical wet blasting machines (or vapor blasting machines, or aqua blasting machines) are designed for efficiency and ease of use. 

The Oncilla machine is designed for premium-level tools where highly accurate process control and automation ensure an extremely high-quality finish every time. The robotic operation allows for one piece at a time to be processed so the wet blasting recipe of abrasive media, water, and air pressure can be refined, along with other controllable variables, for the perfect result for the tool's surfaces and cutting edges. An optional additional blast chamber allows for two finishing processes (for example, preparation for coating and edge honing) to be completed in one operation.

The Puma + Vertical wet blasting machine features a turntable with multiple satellites around its circumference. Each satellite holds a tool, so multiple tools can be processed at the same time.  The automated vertical action of the blast head and rotation of the satellites ensure complete 360-degree finishing.

Both systems are designed with ease of maintenance in mind and our filtration system ensures spent media is removed from the process leaving good quality blast media to create the required finish.

Watch our videos below to learn more about the machines.

Oncilla for highly accurate process control and automation of premium round shank tool finishing

Puma + vertical for the fast efficient surface finishing of multiple round shank tools

Additive manufactured round shank tools

Thanks to advances in additive manufacturing (AM), round shank tools can be manufactured using AM technology. Our wet blasting technology is highly suited to finishing AM components in all sorts of different industries, including round shank tool manufacturing. Learn more about the advantages of finishing AM components by wet blasting.

In conclusion...

In a crowded and highly competitive market, customers seeking high quality round shank tools will look to the brands they know and trust. Wet blasting can help ensure your tools repeatedly deliver the high quality expected from your brand.

Contact us to find out how we can help improve the quality of your round shank tools.

Round shank tool brochure, case study and white paper

Automatic wet blasting machines for finishing round shank tools

Oncilla Cub

Easily customisable
Easy to programme
High consistency of processing
Quiet operation
Small footprint
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Combined process steps
Easily customisable
Easy to programme
High consistency of processing
Quiet operation
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Puma +

Large working envelope
Small footprint
Wide Opening Door
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