Broaching is a common machining process that’s used to selectively remove material from a workpiece. It differs from other machining processes by relying on a specific tool called a broach. As the broach pushes against or pulls through the surface of the workpiece, it leaves behind a hole. The primary advantage of using broaching when compared to other machining process is that it’s able to create holes in odd and unique shapes.
Broaching was pioneered during the mid-1800s when it was used to create pulleys and gears. During the early 1900s, it was used to create barrels for firearms. Today, broaching is used to create everything from small fasteners to automotive transmission gears, airplane components and more.
The main benefit of broaching is that it’s able to create oddly shaped holes in workpieces with extreme precision. If a circular hole is needed, an alternative machining process may be used. For hexagon and other odd shapes, though, broaching is the perfect process for the job.
On the other hand, broaching machines can be quite expensive, typically costing tens of thousands of dollars. And in addition to a broaching machine, manufacturing companies must also invest in a broach. If the process is being used to create a specific shape for a specific workpiece, a custom broach must be used. Custom broaches alone can cost several hundred dollars.