Hand Reamers - 3: Facts and Features
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WARNING: Machine tools present a safety hazard. Improper operation can result in severe injury. These topics are for non-laboratory study only and are not to be used in conjunction with the operation of any tool or machine described herein. Never use a machine tool without the supervision of a qualified instructor.
The reamer is a multi-fluted tool. Cutting action occurs only on the tapered flutes at the front of the reamer. The flutes behind the cutting taper are for guiding only and do not cut material. The cutting action can be referred to as a scrapping of material.
Reamers are typically made of high-speed steel or high carbon steel.
They can be distinguished from machine reamers by the fact that they have a square at the end of the shank to use in conjunction with a T-handle wrench.
Notice the difference in the picture below. The top picture shows five machine reamers. The bottom picture shows a hand reamer.
Hand reamers typically have a shank that is smaller in diameter than the body so that the whole reamer can be passed through the hole.
Hand reamers have at least one chamfer on the nose to help the start of the operation
(ref ANSI standard B94.2)
The main features of hand reamers are identified in the image below.

The flutes cut raw material in the hole to be reamed. The flutes have a cutting edge and a cutting face similar to most cutting tools. The heel of the flute is that portion that resides in the starting taper of the tool.

The cutting action is started in the hole by the starting taper at the end of the reamer which merges with the periphery of the flutes on one end and with the bevel end on the other.

The exact size of the reamed hole is governed by the basic diameter of the reamer

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