- What is a Needle File?
- What Are The Main Uses of A Needle File?
- What Are The things To Consider Before I Start?
- What Are The Different Types of Files and Their Uses?
- 1. American Pattern:
- 2. Swiss Pattern:
- Why is a Needle File So Special?
- Types and Characteristics of Needle Files
- Flat / Dead
- Half Round
- Round / Oval
- Three Square / Triangle File
- How Do I Choose The Best Needle Files?
- What is the Advantage of Using a Diamond File?
- Multipurpose Diamond Needle Files Set
A needle file is an important and integral investment for any jewelers, hobbyists, luthier, miniature sculpting and a variety of light finishing work! That’s why we made this complete guideline of everything that you have to know, to ensure that you are buying the perfect file that meets your needs.
Needle File Kits come in a range of different shapes often sold in pack, so you can pick and choose the right file for your job. On this page, we made everything easier for you! We made a detailed and informative definition of each needle file including its uses. And soon after, you can already decide what file is needed for a particular job.
WHAT IS A NEEDLE FILE?
A needle file is a tool commonly used by a jeweler or crafter to cut fine amounts of material from a design or a small piece of workpiece – including miniature figure prints and wood works. The most common file is a hand tool made from a hardened steel bar with a series of sharp, parallel ridges called “teeth” or narrow and pointed ridges that faces upward. The needle file is a very small tool made up of a series of teeth laid out on a piece of metal and usually has a handle on the end.
They are usually sold in sets of five or more files per kit, including different shapes so that you can choose a file shape that is as close as possible to the contour of the piece you are filing.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN USES OF A NEEDLE FILE?
Needle files are smaller versions of files that are used for filling down excess material which would be hard to access using a regular hand file. Here are some of the main uses of a needle file and why it is very essential to every jeweler, craftsperson or to anyone who just loves to work with materials that has small nooks and crannies.
- Light finishing works – pottery, jewelry and mini sculptures
- Filing and shaping of a metal, glass or stone
- Deburring or removing sharp edges from drilled holes
- Setting a metal, steel or alloy
- Chamfering of woods, plastics and polymer clays
- Tidying up pierced work and parts of a jewellery
- Apply finishing touches on the shape of the metal
- Smoothens and defines the edge of a metal
- Filing in tight spaces without marking the metal
- Carve intricate details; 3D Printed models detailing
- Make punctures and holes in beads
- Also perfect for Quadcopter and HO Train Rail building
- All Around Tool for any guitar works
WHAT ARE THE THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE I START?
By Hildegard Dodel - Hildegard Dodel, with written permission https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2462970
With the different cuts, shapes and difference in the files that are available in the market we have to consider three factors to meet your specific needs. This includes:
- The material you will be working with
- The level of detail you want to achieve
- The style of the object you will be making
It is highly recommended to get to know the different types of needle files available so that you can educate yourself on the main uses of each specific file. Allow me to help you choose the right type of metal files for the designs you want to create by understanding the different types of files.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF FILES AND THEIR USES?
Choosing the most appropriate needle file will help you file different areas of your work. The difference in the files is based on the cut of the teeth, size and the shape of the file. The teeth in the file are specifically designed to create different output on an object. Most hand files are classified as American Pattern or Swiss Pattern.
1. AMERICAN PATTERN:
These files are available in three grades of cut only, Bastard Cut, Second Cut and Smooth Cut. The length of the files affects the coarseness of the outcome, shorter files are used for finer work and the longer file produces the coarsest output.
Credits: Glenn McKechnie - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
2. SWISS PATTERN:
On the other hand, these files are available in seven cuts which provide more exact measurements and finer cuts. The coarseness grades are ranging from No. 00 to No. 06 and are available in a wide variety of fine cuts. These files are smaller and finer that American pattern files which is very ideal for detailed work.
Credits: Lucasbosch - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
One example of an exclusive Swiss Pattern is a Needle File. These are special set of fine files used by jewelers, die makers watchmakers and fine tool makers. Swiss Needle Files are available in 12 shapes, with round knurled handles, ranges from No. 0, 2, 4 and 6 are often sold in sets of 4” lengths.
WHY IS A NEEDLE FILE SO SPECIAL?
Credits: Glenn McKechnie - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
These small needle files are used in applications or craft work where the surface finish takes priority over metal removal rates especially on smaller work pieces. When used with a handle, they are considered as one of the safest file type to use even for beginners. Another special feature of needle files with a handle is - they were designed using the Collet Principle which allows files to be exchanged quickly when needed.
TYPES AND CHARACTERISTICS OF NEEDLE FILES
Teeth are on the broad flat side only, tapered in width and thickness, coming to a rounded point at the end, can be used for doing flat work.
These are rectangular cross section file which is parallel in width and thickness; they are usually double cut with single cut edges and are used mainly for filing slots and corners.
FLAT / DEAD
The most common shape and has teeth on both sides with one edge smoother than the other, it is slightly tapered in thickness and can be used for finishing flat surfaces.
Used for precision filing of small area and for miniature work, these are the finest quality jeweler files wherein the teeth are very sharp and cross cut assuring even filing, the handles are usually knurled to provide sure grip and safety.
These are parallel in width and thickness, with round edges. The flat side is safe with no teeth and the cut is on the rounded edges only it is ideally used for making joints and hinges.
Usually tapered in width and thickness, but the edge has the same thickness as the whole length while having an arc to it. Most common uses are for slotting and wedging works.
It has one flat and one convex surface; can be either tapering slightly; or with one flat and one low domed side maintaining an even thickness and width. This file has teeth on both sides and is excellent for filing flat and curved surfaces, corners and the inside of larger rings.
ROUND / OVAL
Files that are round in cross section and has equal diameter over their length (not tapered). They are used for smoothing inside holes, circular grooves and for sharpening certain kinds of saw.
Parallel in width with a diamond-shaped cross section. These are thinner than knife files and are used for filing slots.
Gradually tapered and has teeth on all four sides can be used for a wide variety of tasks such as filing flat and straight angles.
THREE SQUARE / TRIANGLE FILE
Triangular in cross section which may taper gradually, it has teeth on three flat sides. It is used for filing point prongs on marquise or pear cut settings, sharp angles or creases in metal.
HOW DO I CHOOSE THE BEST NEEDLE FILES?
Now that you already know the huge amount of needle files available, it is time to invest into the best tool to perfect your craft! Choosing the right file will save you time and money.
- Get a good set of quality needle files and start with all the basic shapes like flat, half round, round, square and triangle pack.
- Check the hardness of the file. The hardness of the file determines what type of metals it can be used on. Do not get a file that is softer than your work piece or you will end up destroying your file.
- Consider the brand of the file that you want to purchase. It is better to have fewer good quality tools than to have a large selection of tools that may break or not work at its best.
- Explore the material used on the file. Needle files have two popular varieties; the traditional steel file and the diamond file type. The main difference between the two is the teeth, here is a summarized overview of the two materials:
|TRADITIONAL STEEL FILE||DIAMOND NEEDLE FILE|
|Manufactured using traditional steel and has similar grits like a saw||Manufactured using electroplating diamond onto steel blanks using nickel|
|Teeth are lined up in one same direction||Has no teeth, but has diamond grits|
|It only cuts in one direction like a saw, either forward or backwards||Can work and cut in all directions, pull and push stroke, sideways and twisting motion|
|Produces a more abrasive finish than diamond file||Produces a better finish because it can work effectively with different directions|
|Cannot cut as fast as a diamond file because of the limitation in its directions||Can cut twice as fast as a traditional steel file because it allows circular motion|
WHAT IS THE ADVANTAGE OF USING A DIAMOND FILE?
- You can use the tip of a diamond file for detailed areas such as ring shanks, mini toys assembling and building
- The fine, tiny points of the diamond file can get into tiny areas especially for deep burring and smoothing miniature 3D print models
- Sharpen carbide cutting tools easier than an abrasive file, also works faster than an electric grinding wheel, also works best for luthiers who wants to create a perfect curve with a limited time available
- Enlarge and open bigger holes in hardened surfaces such as watches, clocks, beads and jewel holes without leaving any noticeable marks.
- Remove excess solder right into the solid joint and clean up both horizontal and vertical surfaces. A great example of this is a ring band; you can produce a finer finish than a traditional steel file.
- Can easily alter clock crystal sizes and watches with minimal time required.
- More efficient in radically changing the surface of a pallet of clock and watches that are very hard and burred over time.
- Can produce superfine finish when shaping precious stones for jewelery or making small alterations.
- Diamond files can easily repivot French clocks and watches even those with hard surfaces.
- Bevelling cut crystal glasses and filing glass rims are possible because of its versatility
- Sharpening household objects like scissors, knives, garden tools, guitar and violin strings, fishing hooks and ice screws to a sharp finish with very little time needed.
- Makes cross graining of burnishing tools easier and you can easily restore their burnishing ability in no time.
MULTIPURPOSE DIAMOND NEEDLE FILES SET
Now that you know the basics and the guidelines, are you ready to build your own professional jewelery making tool kit? I’m sure you are! But let’s face it – not everyone has the budget to pick up their ideal needle file kit right? That is why we are glad that we are able to make a good review on Gaxcoo Multipurpose Diamond Needle Files Set – you can get the job done without breaking the bank.
Here is our review:
EXCELLENT QUALITY: This popular set is ideal for all delicate work like metal works, wax carving, light detailed sanding and precious metals fabrication; it also comes with a comfortable rubber grip handles. Aside from that
MULTIPURPOSE: Can be used on wood, plastic, metals, ceramics, glass and metals – both soft and hard metals.
HIGH PRECISION NEEDLE FILE SET: Excellent for anything that requires precise light work and fine accurate filing of metal parts.
COMPLETE SET: Comes with 10 needle shapes: Knife, Half Round, Dead, Oval, Taper Flat, Round, Square, Triangle, Half Round and Flat
- FREE GIFT: Comes with a FREE Micro Soft Wire Cutter - perfect match to complete your diamond needle files collection.
These Diamond Needle Files by Gaxcoo are essential jewelery making tools that are perfect for professional jewelers, craftsperson, watch makers, engineers, and model makers.
Are you still in search for the best diamond needle file for your craft? Or are you just getting started in owning your first needle files kit? Buying a set of various shapes is a good place to start. This set will only cost you $14.90 and with the 100% money back guarantee, you can just focus on your craft - and with constant practice, you will develop your own style of filing!
So if you don’t own a set yet, go get yourself some and experience the fun and excitement of creating something beautiful out of your own hands!