Live tooling usually describes driven tools that work around a piece of material, as opposed to tools that stay in one place while the material moves. Given their mobility, you know these tools have to be tough and relatively simple to care for. When choosing live tools for your workshop, you can look for options that increase the strength and durability of the specific tools, making it less likely that the tools will break down and more likely that the pieces you produce will meet specifications easily.
Stability Through Depth
Tools that attach to the machinery by sitting in a divot or other indentation need to be seated deeply enough so that they don't shake or tilt as the machinery runs. Even if the tool is bolted in place, a shallow placement allows more of the tool to be subject to shear forces that could cause it to bend to one side. While it doesn't take much to stabilize these tools, the ones that can sit in deeper indentations and divots will be more stable, as more of the tool will be held in place and not exposed to direct shear forces.
Tools get hot when they're in use, and machining tools — with their higher speeds — can get really hot, to the point of causing machinery to overheat. You need coolant to help regulate the temperature of the tools and machinery, but what you might not realize is that the pressure of the coolant may need to change when you get new live tools. High-pressure coolant can quickly cool metal and remove debris before that debris can affect the results of the tooling. Remember that this debris can be tiny and relatively tenacious (almost like glitter, if you want to think of it that way), and coolant pressure goes a long way toward keeping the tool clean.
Quick vs. Customized
Sometimes you need to mass-produce items very quickly. Other times you need to produce customized parts that need exact dimensions and that don't have a wide tolerance range, which means these parts need more time and care during production. Live tooling can work very well for those more customized parts, but if you need to mass-produce items very quickly, look for parts that allow for faster tool changes to help keep production moving.
Live tools offer a wide range of options and features, so take your time when choosing. You may want to speak with a live tooling company representative about these features to ensure you choose the right items for your workshop.