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Article: File (tool)

File (tool)

History and Development of Files

  • Early filing or rasping has prehistoric roots
  • Lapping is also quite ancient
  • Bronze Age and Iron Age had various kinds of files and rasps
  • Files were already quite advanced during the Middle Ages
  • Modern iron or steel files took time to become common
  • Files made of case hardened steel bar
  • Teeth are generally parallel and sharp
  • Rasp is a form of file with individually cut teeth
  • Files with abrasive surfaces have been developed
  • Abrasive surfaces include natural or synthetic diamond grains or silicon carbide

Importance of Filing in Construction

  • Filing was important in the construction of mechanisms before the industrialization of machining
  • Component parts were hand-fitted for assembly by filing
  • Locks, clocks, and firearms were manufactured using filing for centuries
  • Filing was heavily dependent on machining in the mid-19th century
  • Milling and grinding have replaced filing in modern manufacturing

Types of Files

  • Files come in various materials, sizes, shapes, cuts, and tooth configurations
  • Steel files are made from high carbon steel
  • File nomenclature varies, but there are generally accepted names for certain kinds of files
  • Files can be blunt or tapered
  • The cut of the file refers to the fineness of its teeth

Specialized Files

  • Swiss-pattern files have teeth cut at a shallower angle and are graded by number
  • Some flat files have teeth on only one face or one edge
  • Needle files are small files with a narrow, pointed tang
  • Riffle files have a curved shape and are used for smoothing inside holes and circular grooves
  • Half round files have one flat and one convex surface
  • Barrette files: tapered in width and thickness, with a rounded point at the end, used for flat work
  • Checkering files: parallel in width and gently tapered in thickness, with teeth cut in a grid pattern, used for making serrations and checkering work
  • Crochet files: tapered in width and thickness, with two flats and radiused edges, used for filing junctions between flat and curved surfaces
  • Crossing files: half round on two sides with one side having a larger radius, tapered in width and thickness, used for filing interior curved surfaces
  • Dreadnought and millenicut files: heavily undercut with sharp coarse teeth, used for removing large quantities of material from aluminum alloy, copper, brass, or plastic fillers
  • Equalling files: parallel in width and thickness, used for filing slots and corners
  • Farrier Rasp files: tanged rasps used by farriers and blacksmiths, with a rasp on one side and double cut on the reverse
  • Fret files: square or rectangular with three flat sides and one side having a concave groove, used by luthiers to file frets on instruments
  • Half round ring files: taper in width and thickness, used for filing inside of rings
  • Joint round edge files: parallel in width and thickness, with rounded edges, used for making joints and hinges

Diamond Files, Needle Files, and Riffler Files

  • Diamond files have small particles of industrial diamond embedded in their surface
  • Used effectively against hard materials like stone, glass, hardened steel, or carbide
  • Can be used with a back-and-forth motion without damaging the file
  • Also known as diamond laps
  • Teeth are particles held in place by a softer material
  • Small files used when surface finish is a priority over metal removal rates
  • Often sold in sets with different shapes
  • Suitable for smaller work pieces
  • Used for precision work
  • Cross-sectional shapes include pillar, half round, barrette, square, round, and triangular
  • Small to medium-sized files with various cross-sectional shapes and profiles
  • Used in hard-to-reach or unusually shaped areas
  • Used as an intermediate step in die making to improve surface finish
  • Commonly used in plastic injection molding or die casting
  • Enable filing in cavities or complex shapes

File (tool) Data Sources

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