Every hobby machinist needs to work efficiently. They take pride in the work they do. They don’t want to rush and do a bad job. But they do want the job finished. A tool that keeps you organized and helps work efficiently earns bench space. The R8 tool holder and collet tray deserve a spot.

Keep Tools and Collets Protected

Perform tool setup using an R8 tool holder tray to keep them in the right order and keep them safe. the best tray stores a wide range of collet sizes for all  tools. Then, when it’s tool change time, everything you need is close to you. Instead of spending time searching for your collet and searching for your tool you spend time machining.  It’s  what you love and what brings you to the shop! An R8 tray or a 5C collet tray made of heavy-duty material protects and stores expensive tooling and tool holding. That’s double duty and a good thing in the hobbyist shop.

Keep Tools and Collets Clean

Ever hear the saying “cleanliness is next to Godliness”? Mom told you that to make you wash your hands and face. Well, it applies to the home shop too. We all know, machining can be a dirty business. Between chips and fluid you can easily make a mess. If you don’t have a vacuum system, small particles fly through the air with the greatest of ease. They are a mess. And they make your collets messy too. Once coated in chips and swarf, collets are useless. Dirty collets are difficult to clean. Skip the mess and store collets in an R8 tray with a cover. Look for a clear cover, so you can see what’s at hand. Once again, don’t waste time hunting for collets and tools. Keep them organized in storage that keeps them clean. Use a covered tray.

Sequence with Your R8 Tray

Start by putting the tools  for the job in their collets. Then, just put  the collets in the R8 tray in sequence you will use them and speed up the tool changing process.

This way, when it’s time to make a change, your tools are already sequenced. Taking a few minutes at the start of the job will save more time once you begin work. Those collets are lined up like soldiers, just waiting to go to war. Between a sequenced 5C or R8 tray and your collet wrench, you’ll change tools fast. That’s less time setting up and more time machining. That’s why you’re in the shop, right?

CNC tool trays, arbors, fly cutters R8 tool holder

R8 Tool Holders, Collet Trays, Collet Wrenches and More

No matter what you need to keep organized and keep machining, The Tool Company has you covered. From R8 tool holders and 5C collet trays to collet wrenches, fly cutters, saw arbors and more. the Tool Company sells products made in the USA. Every product we sell is produced by American machinists for American machinists.

Don’t settle for cheap imitations in your shop. Buy your CNC supplies at The Tool Company.

You can have the finest SaberJet XP equipment and the sharpest blade for the material and still end up with a less than quality cut. High quality cuts require the right saw arbors, the proper coolant or lubricant for the material, and just the right combinations of feed and speed.

How Slitting Cuts Differ

If you visit any of the internet forums frequented by pro and hobby CNC’ers  you will see hundreds and hundreds of threads about slitting saw cut problems. Grown men figuratively cry over broken blades, broken arbors, and ruined work. Seems like if it can go wrong when you are machining, it will probably go wrong when you make a cut with a slitting saw. But some times, you just gotta have a slitting saw cut.

Pros. Slitting saws are perfect for a very narrow cut. You don’t want to use them for thick or deep cuts. But even if you must go deep it’s still easier than using an end mill.

Cons. Slitting saws need slow cutting speeds. Especially for large blades. Feed speeds need to be slow, too. But don’t let the blade dwaddle in one place or run super slow. Slitting cuts need lots of cutting oil or lubricant. If the slit is really thin, it’s hard to get the fluid into the scene of the cutting action. Same for deep slits.

Don’t Skimp on the Fluid

It doesn’t matter the material or the blade type, slitting cuts demand plenty of lubricant. Slitting saw blade are thin and fragile.

The blade metal is heat treated. That keeps it hard and sharp. As the blade cuts, friction is created. Friction equals heat. Heat ruins blade treatments.  So, the blade dulls quickly. In addition, swarf can fuse to the blade. Swarf fusion ruins work and kills blade. All bad things.

Stop swarf fusion with plenty of cutting oil, lubricant, or even air. Provide a constant flow of liquid or air to the slitting blade. The blade stays cool and the chips stay clear. All good things.

precision saw arbors

Don’t Skimp on the Saw Arbors

So you have a most excellent piece of equipment, a fabulous saw blade, and a flood of fluid, coolant or air. It’s the perfect set up. Don’t mess it up with a crap saw arbor.

There are plenty of cheap, imported saw arbors on the market but you need to steer clear of them. You get what you pay for when it comes to CNC’ing. If you don’t pay much, you won’t get much. Chinese-made  arbors are rarely every true. That’s a problem when making horizontal slits and slots.

In one of those famous internet forums, a fellow CNC’er complained that his saw was wandering like a drunk sheepherder. The group told him to get a grip and get a saw arbor made by  Sierra American! Except they forgot to tell him where to find Sierra American products. And that’s at The Tool Company.

slitting saw arbors setSlitting Saw Arbors and Precision Arbors

Whether you need an arbor for ultra precision  or a quality slitting saw arbor, trust The Tool Company for saw arbors engineered for CNC applications.

Buy slitting saw arbors to fit blades from ¼” to 1 ¼”. Enjoy deep, low profile caps and enjoy reduced slippage. The extra long reach out takes you where other slitting saw arbors won’t go. Forget the drunk sheepherder here, just a faithful servant.

All Tool Company products are made in the USA. Don’t settle for cheap imports.

Buy your slitting saw arbors on-line from The Tool Company and make quality cuts.

Anything in the world that spins has a little problem. This problem has many names, but in machining we call it runout. No mechanical system spins perfectly. Runout is the amount of inaccuracy in spinning mechanical systems. Runout is caused when the turning tool or shaft isn’t in complete alignment with the main axis. While it may be a common problem that doesn’t mean it is a small problem. Frankly, it is a huge problem. Thank goodness it is easily solved with a collet wrench.

TIR Measures Runout

When the drill chuck can’t hold the bit dead center, it turns on a secondary axis as it rotates. This is secondary axis is runout. Total indicator runout (TIR) measures concentricity to determine runout. Runout refers to the spin in a specific location. To measure runout, press a dial indicator  against the rotating part as it turns. A dial indicator amplifies all variations. Through amplification, these variations become large enough to see with the unaided eye. The dial indicator takes any deviation from concentricity and makes it large enough to detect and measure. That’s crucial for accuracy because you can’t adjust what you can’t measure. Measure what you can’t see is hard. But, if you can see and measure deviations, you can adjust for them.

How to Correct Runout on a Drill Press

Before you make yourself crazy, start with the basics. Sometimes all  you need to do to correct runout on a drill press is simply clean it. Just fully open the jaws and use compressed air to blow them out. Just a single speck of debris in the jaws can cause runout.  After cleaning, verify that the drill rod is true. Check the runout on the spindle and check the bearings on the spindle. Either causes runout.

Ranger RL 8500 Brake Lathe

How to Correct Runout on a Brake Lathe

Correcting runout on a brake lathe means taking care of the arbor. You must periodically inspect the arbor and spindle for rust or metal chip buildup. Use fine steel wool and a little WD40 to clean the arbor. Stay away from sandpaper and wire brushes. Removing metal only makse the runout worse. Check the spindle bearings. When the lathe is properly set up and the arbor is good, this is most likely the runout source.

use a collet wrench to tighten collets

Use a Collet Wrench to Protect Your Collets

Preventing runout is easier than correcting it.  Collets that are too lose or too tight produce runout. Runout will also damage the collet over time.

Use a collet wrench to tighten all three jaws evenly. Just slip the  prongs into the collet top. Turn the wrench to thread the collet using the right amount of torque.

So stop runout and get a collet wrench from The Tool Company

5c collet wrench

Get a Collet Wrench

The Tool Company collet wrench has a concave face. Enjoy perfect alignment the first time every time.  The heft of the tapered handle is comfortable. The bright orange handle stands out. It’s easy to find this wrench.

Buy your collect wrench at The Tool Company and stop runout before it starts.


Gone are the days when you first started machining. Was your first machine an end mill? Did fly cutters terrify you?  As a seasoned machinist, do you get the most out of your tools? Stretch your mind and skills. Think out of the box. Here’s new slitting saw and slitting saw arbor uses. Maybe one will spark your imagination.

saw arbors hold saw bladesSlice it Off

No, don’t use your slitting saw arbor and blade to remove a finger or other body part. But that doesn’t mean you can’t cut a part off and finish it by hand. The result won’t be the same as with a fly cutter, but it is an alternative. On a 3 axis mill, just cut the piece off with a slitting saw. Once removed, finish the underside by hand. This is the perfect solution for machining a very thin part or working on a piece that is particularly hard to hold. Just cut it off and finish it by hand. Hand finishing the piece saves time. If you ruin the work with a machine finish, you’ve got to start over. It wastes time, money, and material.

Cut a Relief Slot

Does your part need a little relief? Don’t let it break. Cut a relief slot and prevent a break.

Relief slots provide just enough give without destroying the integrity of the part.

A relief slot would help here


Cut your relief slot with a slitting saw. Hold the blade firmly in place with a slitting saw arbor and make the slot in just one or two passes. A slitting saw arbor with a deep cap and low profile will get you as close as you need to be.

slitting saw arbor set

Selecting a Slitting Saw and Slitting Saw Arbor

Because slitting saws are thin and run fast, they get hot fast too. Select a carbide blade  if the budget allows. While steel is less expensive, carbide lasts longer.

No matter the blade material, use copious amounts of fluid. Did you know that slitting saws run hot? Of course you do, we just told you! A flood of coolant lets you cut long and cut fast.

Picking the slitting saw arbor is easy. Just buy one at The Tool Company. Their deep, low profile caps  get your blade close. The “Vibra Core” design absorbs vibration. Anytime you reduce vibration you reduce runout.

The slitting saw arbor made in America for American machinists. Just like everything at The Tool Company. Buy yours today and start looking at the slitting saw differently. It’s one of the most versatile and underused tools in your box.



Most articles in this blog are about CNC tool trays, CNC tooling and CNC techniques. But we’ve never covered the topic of CNC machining in general.  Until now.

What Does CNC Mean?

CNC is an acronym. It stands for Computer Numeric Control. CNC refers to a machine that cuts, carves, routes, or mills under the control of a computer running sophisticated software. It is not robotics. Saw blades, router bits, drill bits and face mills are tools that are attached to a CNC controlled machine.

Machining in Three Dimensions

Regular mills and other machines operate on an X axis and a Y axis.  Remember math class? The X axis is horizontal line and the Y axis is vertical, perpendicular to the X. On the bed of a machine, the X axis is horizontal and the Y axis is the vertical. But CNC machining operates in 3 dimensions. A CNC machine uses the Z axis. The Z axis defines the movement of the cutter up and down.

Computer Technology Changed Machining

Digital technology changed machining in a big way. Before computers controlled machines, if you needed to drill multiple holes in a work piece, you had to manually operate the drill press up and down and feed the material at the same time. And you didn’t start that process until you inserted the tool in the spindle.

Digital technology created computers and software capable of moving the drill press and feeding the material. Now, CNC instructions tell the machine how and when to move.

Computer assisted drawing (CAD) represented a quantum leap forward in machining.  With CAD, you  design an object using computer software, then use software to convert the design into digital instructions the machine uses to produce work. With CNC, humans use software to control the machinery, not their hands.

cnc tool traysCNC Tool Trays, Saw Arbors and Multi Stops

The Tool Company knows CNC and manual machining. Whether you need a multi-stop for your manual knee mill or CNC tools and CNC tool trays to keep them safe The Tool Company has what you need.

CNC tool trays hold tools for manual machinists, fly cutters work on CNC and manual machines, and saw arbors get you up close and personal, no matter your machine.

Turn to The Tool Company for all your CNC needs.

Why is precision cutting so scary for the hobby machinist? It ranks right up there with fly cutting in the fear factor. Maybe it’s because precision means control and the home machinist isn’t confident in their skill. But, control shouldn’t scare you when you use the right ultra precision saw arbor.

Think of it like this: a precision blade is just a saw that makes small cuts. They cuts may be in wood or  metal. What they have in common is size. They are small. Small cuts demand precision. You must get close to the work area and have rigidity.

How to Make Precision Cuts

Now we’ve defined a precision cut, let’s make some. Here is how:

  • Proper feed and speed rate – When isn’t using the right feed and speed important? That precision saw blade may look like a conventional circular saw blade but it isn’t. It is fragile. Get close, run slow and low.
  •  Use fluid – Be generous with your fluid.
  •  Keep it clean – Remove all chips with each pass
  •  Go one Way – Never “saw” back and forth. Always cut in one direction

How to Pick an Ultra Precision Arbor with Precision

All saw arbors hold the blade in place. But ultra precision cuts require an ultra precision saw arbor. Use the same precision in selecting your arbor as you do in making your cut. Remember, ultra precision cuts require ultra rigidity. The blade must be close to the work piece. A cap holds your standard saw arbor in place. If the work is held by a vise, that cap is a problem. If the clamping screw and vise meet up you’ve got a real problem. Avoid that problem with an ultra precision saw arbor from The Tool Company. The  deep cap that creates a low profile. The blade gets closer to work area than with a conventional arbor.

ultra precision arborThe Tool Company’s Ultra Precision Saw Arbor

This purchase is easy. Just buy your ultra precision saw arbor at The Tool Company. Not only will your saw arbor get close to the work, you’ll get:

  • Excellent vibration absorption
  • Durable weldon shank
  • Extra Long Reach
  • 5 Year Warranty

Every saw arbor we sell is proudly made in the USA. Buy your saw arbor individually or in sets. Don’t let precision cuts scare you. Make ’em with an arbor from The Tool Company.

The Tool Company is excited!  We’ve seen the data on the monthly Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories, and Orders report and the news is good. The Tool Company, the CNC fly cutter and all things CNC shop that supports American manufacturing, celebrates this good news. We know manufacturing creates jobs. Not only in one industry, but all up and down the supply chains. That’s good for everyone.

Final May Numbers on Orders and Shipments

According to the Census Bureau, orders were down to $493.6 billion. That’s a light 0.7 percent decrease. Shipment numbers were up. In fact, unfilled orders decreased to $1,171.1 billion (down 0.5 percent). Get those goods out the door!

Shipments of manufactured durable goods?  Up after two consecutive monthly decreases!
Shipments increased $0.9 billion or 0.3 percent to $254.2 billion. Can it get better? Yes. Machinery led the increase, $0.3 billion or 1.0 percent to $33.4 billion. That’s three of the last four months for machinery.

Every CNC mill, CNC fly cutter, drill press and CNC accessory shipped means someone is going to use it. They’ll be used in US shops and factories making even more equipment and goods.

Even though experts think a possible trade war with China looms. These worries affect auto manufacturing. Who knows what can happen in the next few months. Still, celebrate the good news today!

Manufacturing is Vital to the GDP

Manufacturing is vital to the American GDP. It’s taken it on the chin, but it is steadily recovering. That’s important. Manufacturing punches above its weight when it comes to economic impact.

Those manufactured goods require a supply chain. That chain generates demand for goods and services from other sectors. The demand is felt in energy and natural resources, construction for new factories, accounting, engineering, and software. Everyone grows with strong manufacturing.

The GDP value of manufacturing exceeds the value of the finished good produced. Too bad it’s not calculated in. See, manufacturing’s GDP contribution doesn’t include the goods and services it consumes.  Manufacturing is responsible for a large share of the demand for goods and services produced in the United States.

Grab Your CNC Fly Cutter and a Machinist and Celebrate

Why grab the CNC fly cutter? You know it creates an unbeatable finish. The icing on the cake. Like these May numbers. Share the good news. Grab a machinist and tell them. If it came from the Census Bureau and The Tool Company it must be true. Isn’t everything on the internet?

Seriously, The Tool Company respects American manufacturing and the hobby machinist. Both help the economy. We serve both sectors. So, get to work. What are you waiting for?

You can start with the best equipment and the finest blade. But, if you don’t use a high quality saw arbor, the right fluid and the proper feeds and speeds you won’t end up with a quality cut. Quality cuts come from quality saw arbors.

saw arbors hold saw bladesHow Slitting Saw Cuts Differ

The internet is packed with forums for machinists. One of the most common denizens of these forums are those with slitting saw cuts. They complain about broken blades, broken arbors, and tons of destroyed work pieces. If it can go wrong in cutting, it will probably go wrong with a slitting saw cut. But  some times you just need that slender cut from a slitting saw.

Pros. Slitting saws excel when you need a very slender cut. No, they aren’t designed for thick cuts or particularly deep cuts.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t cut fairly deep. It’s harder to get a thin slot with an end mill than a slitting saw.

Cons. Don’t hurry. Slow speeds are the norm for most slitting saws. This is especially true when the blade is large. Feed speeds are also slow. But that doesn’t mean you can let the blade dwell. Slitting saws demand copious amounts of cutting oil or lubricant. Sometimes it is hard to get fluid to the cutting site if the slit is particularly thin or deep.

Be Generous with Fluid

No matter the material or blade, use generous amounts of lubricant. Slitting saw blades are very thin. They are also incredibly fragile. That’s why they break so easy and confound those forum denizens.

The saw blade has been heat treated to keep it hard and sharp. As the blade cuts, it generates friction. Friction creates heat; and heat destroys the blade treatment and dulls the blade quickly. Chips and/or  work material  fuse to the blade. Now you’ve ruined the work and murdered the blade.

Plenty of cutting oil or lubricant provides a constant cooling. It keeps the blade clear of chips. It is good to be generous with your fluid.

ultra precision arborUse a Quality Saw Arbor

If you have an awesome machine, a spectacular blade, and a truckload of coolant, don’t ruin things with a crap saw arbor.

Many cheap, imported arbors flood the market. With tools, you always get what you pay for. Don’t pay much, don’t get much. Those imported arbors are warped. That’s a real problem for true horizontal cuts.

One internet forum denizen complains his saw was wandering like a drunk sheepherder. The group told him to get with it and get a good arbor. That would be like  a saw arbor from The Tool Company!

slitting saw arbors american madeSlitting Saw Arbors, Precision Arbors, and More

Whether you need an arbor for precision cutting or a quality slitting saw arbor, trust The Tool Company for arbors that are true and designed for CNC applications.

The Tool Company can set you up with slitting saw arbors that fit blades from ¼” to 1 ¼”. Complete with deep, low profile caps to reduce slippage. Forget the drunk sheepherder. Think reliable sheep dog.

Every saw arbor is USA made. No cheap imports that aren’t true. Order your slitting saw arbor today and say good-by to broken blades and ruined work. Hello clean slots.


25 Jun 2019

Morse Taper versus the R8 Tool Holder

There are no tags

The most common cutting tools in CNC machining are drill bits and end mill. They don’t do the same thing, but they each earned a place in the shop. Collets or end mill holders hold end mills in place. Chucks hold drill bits.  Collets cost less then end mill holders. They grip better than an end mill holder as well.  There are two types of collets: Morse taper and R8. Do they work the same? When it comes to performance, does the R8 tool holder work better, worse or equal to the Morse taper. How do the two compare? Let’s see.

Up First – The Morse Taper Tool Holder

The Morse Twist Drill Company engineered the Morse taper. It is an American invention. Stephen Morse  invented the twist drill and needed a way to hold the tool. So the company he founded in Massachusetts created the Morse taper to hold the bits in their drills.

A continuous taper is the key feature of the Morse taper.  A set screw secures the collet in place. Morse tapers and drawbars don’t go together. If you see a machine with a drawbar it’s been modified.

The Morse taper is best for tools that are changed infrequently. The Morse taper isn’t the best tool holder for automated tool changing. Auto tool changing is the bailiwick of the R8 tool holder.

The Morse Taper is best used for mini mills and hobby shops. It’s not the best solution for the industrial shop.

R8 tool holder

courtesy Exact Tooling

Up Next – The R8 Tool Holder

The Bridgeport Machine Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut developed the R8 tool holder for quick tool changes. As machining grew, so did the need for quick tool changes.  R8 tapers are easy to spot. They are straight and then flare to a taper.

No set screw darkens the doorway of the R8 tool holder. This beauty uses a drawbar. Now you have much more efficient tool changing. The R8 tool holder is right at home in industrial settings. Try to maintain the same z height every time you remove and reinstall the tool a Morse taper. Yeah, keep trying. The R8 tool holder makes it much easier. That’s why professional machine shops love them.

You can even find R8 endmill holders pretty easy. And, because they are not rare, they don’t cost much.

R8 tool holder protects colletsR8 Tool Trays Protect R8 Collets and Tools

So, if you’ve made the move to use R8 collets, they need a place to stay. The Tool Company sells trays that secure your R8 collets. Protect your tooling with a strong, high-impact plastic R8 tool tray. Look, if you only use the best, then only use R8 tool holders. Then keep them safe in a tray made in the USA and sold by The Tool Company.  Buy now and protect your R8 tool holders with a tray that keeps them safe and organized.

The fly cutter has a variety of uses. That’s why it has a place in most machinist’s shops. Whether you machine manually or are into CNC machining, fly cutters are your specialized cutting tool with many uses.

Use fly cutters for:

  • Shallow cuts
  • Broad cuts
  • Quickly removing small amounts of metal

Use your end mill to remove large areas and then grab that fly cutter for the smoothest finish. Fly cutters outperform a face mill every time. Make fewer passes and score a smoother finish.  Nothing beats fly cutters for fine finishing.

Look at these ways to use fly cutters.

Bed Leveling

CNC’ing requires a tabletop that is absolutely smooth and absolutely level.  Even when you level the legs, the bed or top of the table may still have dips and bumps that will ruin performance.  That means you must resurface the bed at least several times a year.  The best way to do this is with a fly cutter.

Since this is a large area, you want to use a large fly cutter.  The Sierra American FC-25 is a 2 ½” diameter fly cutter.  It will allow you to clear a large area smoothly and quickly.  When you setup, allow for a 40% overlap and just skim the surface to remove 1/16” at the first pass.  That’s probably all you need to get the smooth, level surface your machine demands.

use a fly cutter to machine a head

Mercedes head

The Fly Cutter in the Machine Shop

If a head gasket is blown or you must change the compression ratio, a fly cutter is your go-to tool.  That’s because it can completely resurface a head. That’s called “skimming” in an automotive machine shop.

Cylinder head skimming is a head saver and savior. As long as the head isn’t cracked and can hold pressure, refinish the face with a fly cutter by removing 0.0002” of the surface to return it to a smooth and flat state.  If you use a face mill, you may get crossover lines. While the lines will be almost impossible to see, they will surely affect performance.

Does an exhaust or intake manifold need cleaning up due to corrosion or erosion. Or, maybe the angle needs to be changed slightly to better align with an aftermarket intake manifold. The deck surface on the block may need to be resurfaced. When resurfacing these parts, you must do it quickly, efficiently and correctly.  Use a fly cutter and not a face mill.

fly cutter setThe Best Fly Cutters Give the Best Results

If you want the best results you need the best fly cutters. You need to use a fly cutter from The Tool Company. Every fly cutter, CNC tool tray, and saw arbor we sell is made right here in the USA.  Our fly cutters are:

  • Heat-treated
  • Balanced to run at high RPMs
  • Use large set screw for blade stability

You get a fly cutter and a  5 year warranty.  Why settle for inferior fly cutters and inferior results?  Order your fly cutter today.

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