As a manufacturer relying on CNC machining for producing various products, the importance of maintaining your precision cutting tools cannot be overstated. Proper tool maintenance plays a crucial role in ensuring peak performance, maximising tool life, and optimising overall manufacturing efficiency. From PCD (polycrystalline diamond) and TCT (tungsten carbide-tipped) to solid carbide and HSS (high-speed steel) cutting tools, every tool requires consistent care and maintenance to ensure its functioning at an optimal level throughout its lifetime.

At Prima Tooling, we are dedicated to offering cutting-edge precision cutting tools for various manufacturing sectors, such as woodworking, metalworking, composites, and foam. In addition to providing high-quality tools, we also focus on helping our clients understand the importance of tool maintenance and provide valuable maintenance tips and techniques that can be easily adopted.

In this informative article, we will guide you through the ins and outs of tool maintenance for CNC machining, covering topics such as inspection routines, cleaning methods, lubrication, resharpening, and proper tool storage. We will also discuss the benefits of proper tool care and its impact on the effectiveness of cutting tools in your manufacturing processes. Furthermore, we will provide insights into understanding when a tool has reached the end of its lifespan and needs replacement.

By the end of this informative piece, you will have gained a comprehensive perspective on tool maintenance practices and the significant impact they can have on the performance, efficiency, and economic advantages of your CNC machining operations. With this knowledge and insight, you will be better equipped to preserve the quality and longevity of your cutting tools, ensuring that your manufacturing productivity remains consistently high and cost-effective.

Regular Inspection and Monitoring

1. Visual Inspections

Performing regular visual inspections of your cutting tools is crucial for identifying any signs of wear, damage, or other potential issues that may affect performance. Look for signs of chipping, dull cutting edges, and unusual wear patterns. Address any observed issues promptly to avoid further potential damage and decreases in machining quality.

2. Dimensional Checks

For tools with critical dimensions, regular dimensional checks using measuring instruments like micrometres and gauges can help ensure that they remain within the required tolerances. Monitoring these dimensions will help identify a decrease in performance or the need for tool reconditioning.

Cleaning and Lubrication

1. Tool Cleaning

Keeping your cutting tools clean and free of debris is essential to prolong their life and maintain their performance. Accumulated debris may cause a decrease in cooling efficiency and compromise the accuracy of the cut. Using a soft-bristle brush and cleaning solvents can help remove dirt, grease, and built-up residues from your tools.

2. Lubrication

Applying appropriate lubricants and coolants to the cutting tools and the workpiece can prolong tool life, reduce friction, and facilitate better surface finishes. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for lubricant types and application methods.

Resharpening and Tool Reconditioning

1. Resharpening

A dull cutting edge not only compromises the quality of the cut but can also lead to increased wear on your tools and machine. Regularly resharpening your cutting tools ensures optimal performance and extends tool life. Ensure the resharpening process follows the manufacturer’s guidelines.

2. Tool Reconditioning

Beyond sharpening, many cutting tools can be reconditioned or refurbished to return them to a like-new state. This process may involve repairing damage, recoating surfaces, and restoring geometries. Reconditioning extends tool life and offers cost savings by delaying tool replacement.

Tool Storage and Handling

1. Proper Storage

Ensure that your cutting tools are stored in an organised manner, preferably in a designated tool storage area. Utilise appropriate racks, drawers, or holders to prevent damage to the cutting edges and coatings. Keep the storage area clean and free of dust, moisture, and temperature fluctuations to avoid corrosion and premature wear.

2. Handling

Handle cutting tools with care to prevent accidental damage. When installing or removing tools, always follow the machine and tool manufacturer’s guidelines to avoid damage and maintain safety.

Benefits of Proper Tool Maintenance

1. Extended Tool Life

Regular maintenance helps maximise the lifespan of your cutting tools, reducing the need for premature replacements, and providing cost savings.

2. Improved Performance

Keeping your cutting tools in top condition ensures optimal performance, higher dimensional accuracy, and superior surface finishes in your manufacturing processes.

3. Increased Efficiency

A well-maintained cutting tool functions more efficiently, requiring less energy and reducing machine wear. Additionally, properly maintained tools help minimise downtime due to unexpected tool failures, further bolstering overall efficiency.

4. Cost Savings

Investing in tool maintenance can result in significant cost savings over time by reducing tool replacement costs, energy consumption, and lost production time due to unscheduled downtime.


Effective tool maintenance is a vital aspect of successful CNC machining operations. Ensuring that your cutting tools receive the care and attention they deserve will not only maximise their overall performance but also prolong their life and contribute to reduced costs and increased efficiency in your manufacturing processes.

By implementing the maintenance practices highlighted in this article and partnering with experts like Prima Tooling, you can take full advantage of the performance and longevity offered by high-quality PCD, TCT, solid carbide, and engineering machining tools, propelling your manufacturing operations towards success.