The method of cutting teeth on a cylindrical gear by the hobbing process has been in existence since the late 1800s. Advances have been made over the years in both the machines and the cutting tools used in the process. This paper will examine hob tool life and the many variables that affect it. The paper will cover the state-of-the-art cutting tool materials and coatings, hob tool design
characteristics, process speeds and feeds, hob shifting strategies, wear characteristics, etc. The paper will also discuss the use of a common denominator method for evaluating hob tool life in terms of meters (or inches) per hob tooth as an alternative to tool life expressed in parts per sharpening.