7 Essential Tools For Modern Machine Shops


Nowadays, what goes on in a modern machine shop can still be a big mystery, particularly for those who don’t speak the language of machining. Generally, a machine shop is responsible for going through the metal fabrication process. The metal being prepared and worked on are those which form parts of specific products.

For metal fabrication to succeed, all the raw materials being processed must conform to uniform humidity levels and other specifications.

Uniformity is a goal, as can be done with the aid of using modern and sophisticated tools.

There are so many different tools a modern machine shop can have that it won’t be possible to name them all for you in one go. This list gives you a few tools to gather your shop’s industrial supplies from Reid Supply and other providers.

1. Abrasive Cut-Off Saws

An abrasive saw is also known as a cut-off straw. It is a powerful tool usually used to cut hard materials such as concrete, metal, and tiles. When used with the correct technique of cutting, an abrasive saw can help your machine shop achieve its desired cuts with lesser and easier effort. It can be done through the cutting action performed by the abrasive disc of the abrasive saw. So, if you have a shop that does intensive cutting on hard materials, having an abrasive cut-off saw can speed up your shop’s processes.

2. Engine Lathe

The engine lathe is one of the most crucial machining tools there is. It’s characterized as a horizontal metal-turning machine, referred to as the father of all machine tools used in the fabrication and construction industry. The reason being the engine lathe has many other fundamental mechanical elements aptly incorporated into the design of other machine tools.

3. Drilling Machine

A drilling machine, also known as a drill press, is made of a fixed drill mounted or bolted to a workbench or stand. Drilling machines are typically used in a like manner as you would a handheld or power drill. The only difference is the stationary nature of a drill press. It makes it more advantageous because it’ll require less exertion to achieve proper drilling.

4. Bench Grinder

A bench grinder is one of the most practical modern machine tools that can help extend the life of your other more frequently used tools. With a bench grinder, you’ll have the means to restore to their former glory those machine tools which are dated, rough, and dull.

Bench grinders are characterized as having two spindles with wheels that are attached to either side of the motor. It can achieve a variety of functions, depending on what it is you want to achieve. Generally, those functions of a bench grinder include buffing out imperfections, cleaning, sharpening, and polishing.


6. Planing Machines

Planing machines generally have the same function as shapers do. But, planers are up a notch higher with how they can machine longer workpieces. Depending on your planer, some can work with boards up to 50 feet long.

A planer is usually mounted on a reciprocating table which, in turn, moves the workpiece beneath a type of cutting tool. This tool stays stationary during the cutting stroke.

7. Milling Machines

Similar to the function of drilling machines, milling machines use a stabilized rotating cutter for it to machine metal pieces. But unlike a drilling machine, milling machines offer more versatility in working with metal by additionally performing sideways cuts.

The features of your milling machine can differ according to the specific type you have. Some have a mobile cutter, while others have a portable table that moves around the stationary cutter. Some of the common types of milling machines found in shops today include:  

  • Omniversal milling machines; 
  • Hand milling machines; 
  • Universal milling machines; 
  • Plain milling machines. 

8. Metal Cold Saws

A metal cold saw is an answer if you’re looking to be able to cut through either ferrous or non-ferrous material. This type of saw provides a clean and consistent result.

As its name implies, however, a cold saw doesn’t use heat for it to be able to run its course. Instead, cold saws keep the material being cut and the blade cool. Many metal fabricators today use a metal cold saw simply because of its speedy and accurate ability to cut speed.  


If there’s common ground with the different modern tools listed above, it’s how most modern tools today are improvements of the manual tools used many years back. Technology has made it possible for tools to evolve, bringing in higher levels of efficiency and accuracy. If you’re in the manufacturing business and plan to set up a machine shop, you don’t have to pressure yourself to have all modern tools at once. Start only with those basics you’ll need, according to the purpose a specific tool is slated to be able to do.


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