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Engineers Files Explained | Types of file

Today we will learn about engineers files explained, as we know hand tools are used to remove small amounts of material, usually from small areas of the workpiece.  
Do you know why hand tools are used ?Hand tools are used because of following reason:
  • If no machine is available, 
  • The workpiece is too large to go on a machine
  •  The shape is too intricate or simply that it would be too expensive to set up a machine to do the work.
As you know the necessity of a hand tools now we will know about a hand tool , engineer's files.

Engineer’s files

Engineer’s files

Files are used to perform a variety of tasks, from simple removal of sharp edges to producing complex shapes where use of the device is impractical.Files can be obtained in a variety of shapes and in lengths from 150 mm to 350 mm.

Single-cut file:

When a file has a single series of teeth cut across its face it is called single-cut file,Figure of single-cut file is shown below.

double-cut file:

When a file has double series of teeth cut across its face it is called single-cut file.Figure of double-cut file is shown below.

Single-cut and double-cut file
Single-cut and double-cut file

What is grade of cut of file ?

The grade of cut of a file means to the spacing of the teeth and determines the coarseness
or smoothness of the file. In today generally three standard grades of cut in common use, from coarsest
to smoothest, are bastard, second cut and smooth. 

How file are identified ?

File are identified by their shape ( hand, flat or pillar ) or by  their cross section (square, three-square, round, half-round or knife )

Types of engineers files

Types of files are listed below check about types of engineer files in details:

  1. Hand file.
  2. Pillar file.
  3. Flat file.
  4. Square file.
  5. Three-square file.
  6. Round file.
  7. Half-round file.
  8. Knife file.
  9. Dreadnought files.
  10. Needle files.
Now we will see about types of engineers file in details with the help of figure.

types of files,Engineers file

Hand File

This file is for general use, generally on flat surfaces. It is rectangular in cross section, parallel in width along its length, but tapers slightly in thickness for about the last third of its length to the point.

Pillar File

Pillar file has the same section as a hand file but of a thinner section. It is used for to make narrow slots and keyways.

Three-square file

Three-square file is used to complete surfaces less than 90 degrees, angular holes and recesses. The three-square or triangular file has a 60-degree triangle cross-section, parallel to about two-thirds of its length, then tapping toward the point. All three faces are double-cut and pointed.

Square file

The square file is of the square cross-section, parallel for about two-thirds of its length, then tapping toward the point.Square file is used for filing small square or rectangular holes with key-ways, slots and 90 degree sides.

Round file

The round file is of a parallel, circular cross-section for approx two-thirds of its length and then tapping towards the point. The second-cut and smooth files are single-cut. Round file is used to enlarge round holes, enlarge slots, and eliminate inner round corners.

Half-round file

The half-round file consists of a flat and a curved side. Parallel to about two-thirds of its length, then taper in width and thickness toward the point. The flat side is double-cut and the curved side is second-cut and single-cut on smooth file. Half-round file is an extremely useful dual-purpose file for flat surfaces and for very large curved surfaces for round files.

Knife file

The knife file has a wedge-shaped cross-section, the thin edge is straight, while the thick edge lies approximately one third of its length. The sides are double-cut. Knife file is used in this file sharp angle filing.

Dreadnought files

When the soft material is being filed, the material is easily removed and the teeth of the engineer's file are quickly closed. When this happens, the file is not cut but skid on the surface. This causes the file to be paused continuously to clear it so that it cuts properly again. These files are designed to remove material rapidly and with little effort, as the deeply curved teeth produce small spiral that clean themselves from the tooth and therefore prevent occlusion.
Their main use is in filing soft materials such as aluminum, lead, white metal, copper, brass and bronze.They can be used on large areas of steel as well as non-metallic materials such as plastic, wood, fiber, and slate.This type of file is available as 150 mm to 400 mm long, hand, flat, half-rounded and square. Available cuts are broad, medium, standard, fine and extra fine.

Define Dreadnought file

To overcome the problem of clogging, files have been developed which have deep curved teeth on their face and are known as dreadnought files . Diagram of dreadnought file is shown in given figure below.

Needle files

Needle files are used for very granular work in tool making and fitting, where very small amounts of material have to be removed in complex shapes or in limited space.This type of file is from 120 mm to 1 mm available, of which about half the size of the file is cut and the rest is thinner.

Needle files and Dreadnought file
Needle files and Dreadnought file


The information provided about engineer's files and types of engineer's file will help you to improve your knowledge and you will be more aware about this topic.I hope this topic will help you to solve your question and clear your doubt about engineer files explained.



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