In CNC routing the tool bit makes the cut by removing material in chips. This material removal depends on what is called the chip load. The chip load is a function of the flute. The flute is the cutting edge that spirals around the tool. Tools can have one, or multiple flutes. If there is one flute then the chip load is equal to the amount of travel in one revolution of the tool. If the two has two flutes then the chip load is equal to one half of the amount traveled in one revolution. With three flutes it would be equal to one third of a revolution and so on. Feeds and speeds will also have important implications for the chip load and are determining factors in increasing or decreasing chip loads.

When the tool turns to remove the chips it produces heat. This heat is a significant cause of tool wear and decreases the tool life. For this reason often times a coolant such as a mist is used while cutting. Another aspect that significantly decreases the heat is to remove the chip. The heat from the cut will then travel away from the material being cut with the chip. Therefore the larger the chips cut, the more heat they will carry away from the cutting tool with them.

Another consideration pertains to what happens to the chips once they have been removed from the piece of material. This is where a dust collection system comes into play. A dust collector system uses suction power to remove discarded chips from the workspace. Without one the removed chips can build up and affect the cutting process. The tool will become overloaded, and blocked by the loose chips, and the effectiveness of the cut will be compromised.

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