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  #1  
Old Mon 04 June 2007, 14:36
Loren Gameros
Just call me: Loren
 
Costa Mesa
United States of America
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Tapping threads into metal

Hi Gerald and Everyone,

I am about to start tapping holes and I was wondering if you guys are tapping by hand (cordless drill) or using a press? I see that some blind holes are required for the racks and I am not sure the best or most appropiate way to go about this? Trying to get them perfectly straight is a real pain. I had considered a tapping head, (Tapmatic Tapping Head) is this a bad idea for blind holes?

Thanks Loren
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  #2  
Old Mon 04 June 2007, 17:41
J.R. Hatcher
Just call me: J.R. #4
 
Wilmington, North Carolina
United States of America
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Last week I spent a few hours installing a reversing switch on my drill press. It was well worth the trouble, but first hole (6mm) I tapped, I broke the tap (how? don't ask, operator error). The next 30+ went smooth as silk. The few holes I need to tap in blind holes I'll start the tap using the drill press by hand. Get a short rod that fits the hole that the chuck key fits to help turn by hand (unplug the press), use a press vice, you will need to put a little down pressure to overcome the up spring of the press. Happy tapping J.R.
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  #3  
Old Mon 04 June 2007, 21:26
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
There are only 8 blind holes to be tapped. 2 of those holes on the one y-axis rail will probably never be used. They can be the learner holes.

A tapmatic would be a total overkill for this small quantity.

Those blind holes have a lot more thread turns (depth of hole) than required by the diameter of the screw - therefore you can easily afford to drill the pilot hole bigger than what the tables tell you. My drills are every 0.5mm, so I just drill 0.5mm bigger. That makes the hand-tapping a LOT easier.

For the drill-tapping, I have always wanted to have one of these levels on the back of the cordless for vertical tapping:.........



.......but normally I call someone over to stand to my side and tell me if I am going vertical.

In general, I judge the length of thread against the thickness of the nut that would normally be used on a particular screw to decide if I can drill the pilot hole a bit bigger.
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  #4  
Old Sun 22 July 2007, 18:01
J.R. Hatcher
Just call me: J.R. #4
 
Wilmington, North Carolina
United States of America
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Gerald I didn't know where to post this, so please move as needed. I have a suggestion, on the motor mounts in place of the + for the tapped motor mount holes why not let the laser cut 5mm holes and be done with it. The most someone would have to do is chase the hole with the drill bit. From what I've seen the laser is so accurate that wouldn't even be necessary. I didn't have a problem but I can see the potential. Drilling from scratch if the bit walked a little there sure would be one. Just a thought what do you think? J.R.
ps I did have to weld up a few holes, just not in the motor mounts
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  #5  
Old Mon 23 July 2007, 01:23
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
JR, the laser guys around here don't like piercing holes where the diameter is smaller than the plate thickness - they will do it, but the quality suffers. Also, the lasering sometimes leaves a hard crust that the taps don't like. A drill particulary does not like to take out only the laser crust - the drill wants a bigger bite. For general purpose drawings, to be used by any old laser cutter, and to be drilled and tapped by any quality drills or taps, I didn't want to take that chance. But yes, the laser accuracy, versatility and cost is pretty impressive - realise that you are going to be doing the same to wood!
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  #6  
Old Sat 13 October 2007, 08:13
GregA
Just call me: Greg
 
Dundee MI
United States of America
I am from the school of hard knocks. I have broken taps twice. I am not certain ~how~ I broke them. Other than that, I have dozens of successful taps. What am I doing wrong when I break them?

Sorry for the newb question.
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  #7  
Old Sat 13 October 2007, 08:45
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
tapping without the tapmatic

...here in sunny florida I do it this way,
- purchase high speed, automated tap (they look like a drill point on the point and standard tap up the shaft, 4 flutes and tapered.
- chuck them up in my cordless dewalt with the clutch setting really low. Advance, back up , advance, back up.
- drill the hole the proper diameter
- run the tap with tapmagic cutting solution on the tap
- tap all day long.

Standard holes in my shop are mostly 1/2-13 UNC or 1/2-20 UNC. Fine threads have a tendency to strip out and hand tapping is recommended.

(this only really works for thru taps...bottom hole still should be done by hand.

Sean
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  #8  
Old Sat 13 October 2007, 16:43
Doug_Ford
Just call me: Doug #3
 
Conway (Arkansas)
United States of America
GregA,

I was taught by my machine shop instructor to reverse the direction of the tap every half turn or so to break off the burr created during the tapping process. Are you doing that? You don't have to do that for the first few revolutions. If you do, you'll never get it started correctly. I just go by the feel of the resistance to turning. I usually break taps when I have cutting oil on my fingers and my hand slips off the handle pushing it sideways. They're pretty brittle compared to the steel they're cutting. Are you using the correct drill bit for the tap? The correct size is usually written on the tap.

Doug
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  #9  
Old Sat 13 October 2007, 20:50
GregA
Just call me: Greg
 
Dundee MI
United States of America
Everyone with Advice thanks...

I am not breaking them all the time. I pretty much worked out the technique you described.

I was referencing one broken tap I had recently. It was a jacketed tank that I had custom built so there was a lot of time and money in it already. I was putting a thread in for an electric heater, and the tap was going along fine... Then it was like the tool slipped out of the thread... then the next turn it broke free... Next day was plasma cutter + chisel and ball-peen hammer. I was able to still use it after all that but... That day sucked...

Im guessing I should practice with the drill technique before I use it on anything I want to keep. Thanks for advise.
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  #10  
Old Sun 14 October 2007, 09:47
Doug_Ford
Just call me: Doug #3
 
Conway (Arkansas)
United States of America
It seems like the more time you've invested in a workpiece the greater your chances of breaking a tap in it.
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  #11  
Old Sun 14 October 2007, 12:08
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Quote:
Originally Posted by GregA View Post
I have broken taps twice. . . . . . . . What am I doing wrong when I break them?. . . .
- Wrong "number" tap. In a set of 3, you must start with the most tapered, the number 1 tap.
- Blunt tap. A rusty tap is a blunt tap - the sharp tips are the first to rust off.
- No lubrication. Fat/lard/tallow/butter all work fairly well - no excuses for not having tapping oil.
- Pilot hole too small. If the hole is deeper than the thread diameter then you can increase the pilot hole size a little. . . .
- Not reversing often enough to break the swarf. Rather go half turn forward, quarter turn back in the beginning - "negotiate" the tap into the metal. Give & take....
- And then the biggest tap breaker.....trying to do it with only one hand. Use both hands on both handles of the tap wrench to make sure you apply an even torque to the tap. No bending load must be applied to the tap. With one hand you twist AND bend the tap - never bend the tap.
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  #12  
Old Sun 14 October 2007, 13:11
driller
Just call me:
 
My biggest problems have been too small a hole (wrong size drill)
followed by no cutting fluid.

When I tap, I put fluid one every hole to let it drip down into the hole, then also on the tap itself.

a can of tappin fluid is less than one tap. no excuse !

There is one thing missing on your list. That is on blind holes.
Cleaning out the chips ! on blind holes, you must withdraw the tap, use a blower and remove all the chips. get a thick sewing needle and make sure there are none stuck (compressed) in the hole.

I have long since, switched to gun taps so I can tap with my drill press or hand drill.

If you plan on tapping lots of holes, the cost of a tapping head is worth the price. It talks far longer to drill holes than to tap them with a tapping head.

Dave
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  #13  
Old Sun 14 October 2007, 13:53
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
For hand tapping I prefer a paste to a oil. The tap is pushed into the tub of paste before use. The lumps of paste stuck to the tap melt and give a good flow of lubricant. Traditional, and excellent, tapping paste is tallow (fat or lard), but butter also does a good job.
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  #14  
Old Sun 14 October 2007, 21:46
GregA
Just call me: Greg
 
Dundee MI
United States of America
Ive found a number of power tapping tools in the McMaster catalog, It also looks like I need to switch to a "gun" tap for power tapping.

Can anybody suggest a link for a product that doesn't carry the McMaster premium?
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  #15  
Old Sun 14 October 2007, 23:41
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
The "gun" taps, or what Sean called the "high speed, automated tap (they look like a drill point on the point and standard tap up the shaft, 4 flutes and tapered.)", are great for hand tapping as well. Our other name for "gun" taps is "spiral point" (not spiral flute - that is something else) taps.

If I had to buy from McMaster, I would be buying 2671A74 and 2671A75, as well as a "set" 8305A37 & 8305A57 for the blind holes at the rack ends. For holding the taps, I would go no further than a 2550A65 and 25605A75. For lube; 1398K13. I could happily do all the holes without any power tools, or attachments for power tools - THAT is when the inexperienced really break taps!
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  #16  
Old Mon 15 October 2007, 00:08
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Another tip is to countersink the pilot hole before starting to tap. After tapping, the holes should be de-burred again. I would want a 3285A36 90 degree so that it could be used for the other serious countersinking as well.
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  #17  
Old Mon 15 October 2007, 04:50
GregA
Just call me: Greg
 
Dundee MI
United States of America
Gerald D,

Best answer ever. Thanks

So since that has been so decisively answered, mind if I ask another question that is not entirely mech mate oriented? When drilling whole with a small bit... say 3mm how do I get the drill bit to stay in the impression I made with the punch? If I press to hard with the drill, the bit tends to bend.
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  #18  
Old Mon 15 October 2007, 05:32
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
Center punch with a 1kg [2lb] hammer, and

Concentrate on not bending the drill - push down in line with the bit. Again, two hands are much better than one - same as for tapping.
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  #19  
Old Mon 15 October 2007, 07:28
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
If you are drilling and you don't immediately see swarf/chips coming off the drill tip, then STOP! Either your drill is blunt or you are not pushing hard enough. If you continue "drilling" while no swarf/chips are produced, you are only making lots of heat and changing the metallurgy of the drill bit and the work piece.

Woodworkers' drills (and drill presses) are mostly too fast for metalwork.

I don't bother with cobalt drills. You can manage without a drill-press - in fact, drilling the X-rail mounting beds cannot be done with the typical drill-press.
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  #20  
Old Fri 04 September 2009, 11:21
jehayes
Just call me: Joe #53
 
Whidbey Island, Washington
United States of America
Tapping threads into metal

Moved from elsewhere:

For those of us who are new to metal working, can someone tell me the proper sequence for tapping holes. I am working on the holes for the locking bars in the gantry (part 10 20 235). In the set of taps I have there are three variants of each size tap: a pointy one, a less pointy one and a blunt one. Am I supposed to use them in succession? Or are there places where one is appropriate rather than another? BTW - These are through holes. Thanks
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  #21  
Old Fri 04 September 2009, 11:31
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
For through holes, the "pointy one" can do the whole job. Just tap through till it turns freely.
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  #22  
Old Fri 04 September 2009, 11:42
Jan de Ruyter
Just call me: Jan
 
Pretoria
South Africa
Hi Joe, the set is sometimes numbered 1,2 & 3, For a blind hole, use #1 first, then #2 and lastly #3. This sequence is used when tapping blind holes. With through holes, only Tap #1 is threaded right through, which is usually sufficient.

Use tapping oil, which improves the cut and prolongs the life of the tap. Normal automotive oil is better than nothing but is not entirely the right thing to use.

You can use a suitable battery powered drill to do the tapping, saves a lot of time. Go at low revs and make sure you hold the drill perpendicular, else the tap can break, which is an entirely new chapter of fun.
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  #23  
Old Fri 04 September 2009, 12:01
jehayes
Just call me: Joe #53
 
Whidbey Island, Washington
United States of America
Thanks to both for such a quick response. I have tapped the first hole! A milestone for me.

Joe
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  #24  
Old Fri 04 September 2009, 12:04
Gerald D
Just call me: Gerald (retired)
 
Cape Town
South Africa
After tapping a thread, it is good practice to lightly de-burr the entry/exit with a countersink cutter.
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  #25  
Old Sat 05 September 2009, 11:59
jehayes
Just call me: Joe #53
 
Whidbey Island, Washington
United States of America
will do. thnx
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  #26  
Old Sun 06 September 2009, 17:24
jehayes
Just call me: Joe #53
 
Whidbey Island, Washington
United States of America
Tapping solutions

After good advice on tapping from Gerald and others, I realized my skill levels wasn't up to straight hand tapping and I decided to invest a little in a hand tapping machine from Grizzly. It is not expensive and it makes great taps with ease (no, I don't shill for Grizzly, but I do like their stuff). So far I have used it to tap all the holes in the clamp strip for the gantry and in the spider plate with no problems. Figuring how to use it to tap the X-beams will be interesting.

Unfortunately, the machine only comes with inch collets, not metric.

You can see the machine here: http://grizzly.com/products/Hand-Tapping-Machine/G8748
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Grizzly_Tapper.jpg (73.5 KB, 569 views)
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  #27  
Old Sun 06 September 2009, 18:14
sailfl
Just call me: Nils #12
 
Winter Park, FL
United States of America
Joe,

Taping is not that difficult. I would suggest you try on some scrape pieces before you try on what you want to tap. Keep the tap 90 degrees and you will be fine. Some oil to make things work better.

Good luck. Remember to reverse to remove metal on a regular basis.
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  #28  
Old Sat 07 November 2009, 07:34
Robert M
Just call me: Robert
 
Lac-Brome, Qc
Canada
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Securing / screwing rail on the mains beams !

Copied from another thread:

One question / option that been bothering me and I知 still not certain about ?

As for the screwing in place the rails on the main table beams, original design are to be hold down by screws & tap holes in the main beams.
Anything not right by no taping holes and going instesd w-drill through holes to then use screws, nuts and those bevel washers ?!?

Reasons I知 looking at this second option, I tend to imagine it would be faster & easier to do ( and as good) vs the drilling and tedious task of making those threads in the beams !?
Thanks, Robert
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  #29  
Old Sat 07 November 2009, 09:42
smreish
Just call me: Sean - #5, 28, 58 and others
 
Orlando, Florida
United States of America
Robert, I have done both.

The bolt option works, it's just a bit of a pain to align the washer on each and every one as you move along. I would make sure NOT to over drill the beam hole and keep that is close to tolerance as the bolt size to minimize movement of the fastener/rail during machine vibrations.

Tapping those 5/16" holes with my screw gun only took about 20 mins for all of them.

Use the right lubricant and get tapping with a spiral point tap.
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  #30  
Old Sat 07 November 2009, 16:46
Robert M
Just call me: Robert
 
Lac-Brome, Qc
Canada
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Yep, thanks SeanI値l kick my butt and tap with a little more patience

I知 usually a very patient guy on elaborate & tedious work, but I値l be honest . I知 getting really anxious to get this project moving a bit faster and hate the thought of hand taping so many holesa repetitive boring task
Till you told me you did yours with a drill, I was a little intimidated using my battery screw gun to tap, as I had a few time ( not on this project although) broken taps in the hole while in hand / manual modeI would just hate to see this happen on this project this time

Bear in mind, loving this steel making experience with this project, but it痴 neither my field expertise nor hobby to play making stuff with steel.
When no experience, I tend to move slower and more intimidated, afraid to screw up what I fell can happen. Thinking of a Murphy痴 law. (doesn稚 he say something likeWhen thing are going alright, something wrong is bound to happen. Close to that !!)

What lube do you use?

I致e use drilling & tapping oil for all my drilling ( a darn there is a lot of holes in my bolt on project !! ) and seems fine, but did not try it for tappingYET !!

WellThanks again Seanneeded that push..
Amicalement, Robert
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