A gear shaper cutter is actually a gear with relieved cutting edges and increased addendum for providing clearance in the root of the gear being cut. The maximum outside diameter of such a cutter is limited to the diameter at which the teeth become pointed. The minimum diameter occurs when the outside diameter of the cutter and the base circle are the same. Those theoretical extremes, coupled with the side clearance, which is normally 2 degrees for coarse pitch cutters an d1.5 degrees for cutters approximately 24-pitch and finer, will determine the theoretical face width of a cutter.
Cutter sharpening is very important both during manufacturing and subsequently in resharpening after dulling. Not only does this process affect cutter "over cutting edge" quality and the quality of the part cut, but it can also affect the manner in which chip flow takes place on the cutter face if the surface finished is too rough or rippled.
Gear shaping is one of the most popular production choices in gear manufacturing. While the gear shaping process is really the most versatile of all the gear manufacturing methods and can cut a wide variety of gears, certain types of gears can only be cut by this process. These are gears closely adjacent to shoulders; gears adjacent to other gears, such as on countershafts; internal gears, either open or blind ended; crown or face gears; herringbone gears of the solid configuration of with a small center groove; rack; parts with filled-in spaces or teeth, such as are used in some clutches.