Broaching is a machining process that uses a toothed tool, called a broach, to remove material. There are two main types of broaching: linear and rotary. In linear broaching, which is the more common process, the broach is run linearly against a surface of the workpiece to effect the cut. Linear broaches are used in a broaching machine, which is also sometimes shortened to broach. In rotary broaching, the broach is rotated and pressed into the workpiece to cut an axisymmetric shape. A rotary broach is used in a lathe or screw machine. In both processes the cut is performed in one pass of the broach, which makes it very efficient.
Broaching is used when precision machining is required, especially for odd shapes. Commonly machined surfaces include circular and non-circular holes, splines, keyways, and flat surfaces. Typical workpieces include small to medium-sized castings, forgings, screw machine parts, and stampings. Even though broaches can be expensive, broaching is usually favored over other processes when used for high-quantity production runs.
Broaches are shaped similar to a saw, except the height of the teeth increases over the length of the tool. Moreover, the broach contains three distinct sections: one for roughing, another for semi-finishing, and the final one for finishing. Broaching is an unusual machining process because it has the feed built into the tool. The profile of the machined surface is always the inverse of the profile of the broach. The rise per tooth (RPT), also known as the step or feed per tooth, determines the amount of material removed and the size of the chip. The broach can be moved relative to the workpiece or vice versa. Because all of the features are built into the broach, no complex motion or skilled labor is required to use it. A broach is effectively a collection of single-point cutting tools arrayed in sequence, cutting one after the other; its cut is analogous to multiple passes of a shaper.