What are Different Types of Metalworking Tools?

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  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2019
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Metalworking tools are used to cut, shape, bore, and thread various types of metal. Many different types of metalworking tools are available for these tasks. These tools may be hand operated or powered by electricity or air. The most common types of hand operated metalworking tools include hacksaws, shears, hammers, and files. Powered tools typically consist of grinders, band saws, drills, taps, and dies.

A hacksaw is a tool designed especially for making precision cuts in metal. This saw typically has a narrow blade with numerous fine teeth. Hacksaws can be used to cut almost any type of metal including hardened steel, cast iron, copper, aluminum, and brass. This metalworking tool usually leaves a rough surface behind after the object has been cut. Hacksaws are frequently used in the plumbing trade for cutting copper piping.

Shears are a metalworking tool typically utilized for cutting sheet metal. Although most shears are operated by hand, mechanically powered models are also available. Small, hand operated shears are sometimes referred to as tin snips. Large, compound action shears are typically used for cutting thicker metal. Shears usually produce a straight, smooth cut in sheet metal materials.


Hammers are generally employed in metalworking to straighten or curve a work piece. A hammer is also used to thin metals and make them more flexible. This tool is frequently utilized on heated metal in the ironworking trade. A file is often required to smooth rough edges left behind when cutting metal. Files are also needed to shape or notch a workpiece.

Grinders shape areas of metal that are too large for a file. This powered metalworking tool can be hand-held or table mounted. It features a rapidly spinning abrasive wheel or disc and may be used for several purposes. Typical uses for this tool include sanding, polishing, cutting, and sharpening. A grinder may be electrically or pneumatically powered.

A band saw is a mechanically powered hacksaw capable of quickly cutting large pieces of metal. This tool is available as a bench mounted or hand-held model. Bench mounted models are generally much larger than hand-held varieties. A drill, another variant, is a metalworking tool used to bore holes in a metal workpiece and may be table mounted or hand-held. This tool can bore holes in a variety of diameters and depths and can be electrically or pneumatically powered.

Taps and dies produce a threaded surface on the inside or outside of a metal work piece. Taps cut threads on the inside of a workpiece while dies produce threads on the outside. These tools are often utilized for metal piping although they are also needed for many other applications. These metalworking tools are also useful for repairing damaged threads.


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