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TAPPING

A tap removes material from a pre-drilled or punched hole. The result produces threads within the drilled hole. The cutting edges at the front of a tap remove material from the work piece. The chips are stored in the flutes, or pushed forward in front of the tap, or are drawn up along the flutes, removing the chips and cutting fluids from the hole.

TERMINOLOGIES

Tap Legend: A = Overall Length B = Thread Length Including Chamfer C = Square Length D = Shank Diameter E = Size of Square Overall Length - Length of body and the shank Thread Length - Part of the body containing the threads Chamfer - Tapered portion at the front end of the tap. Both the chamfered portion and the first full thread beyond the chamfer produce the finished thread of the part Square (Flats) - The squared end of the tap shank Square Length - Length of the square Size of Square - Thickness of the square Shank - Part of the tap that fits into the tap holder. The end is made square for driving and rotating the tap. The square surface is known as flats Body - Made up of the flutes, land, core, diameter, thread length and chamfer. These elements produce the threaded hole Flutes - Grooves or valleys that run along a body of a tap. They provide a path for the removal of chips and carry cutting fluid to the front of the tap. Increasing the number of flutes, increases the strength of the tap and reduces the amount of space for chip flow Land - The area of the tap between the flutes that contains the threads Core - Center portion of the tap that separates the flutes and provides strength to the tap. As the number of flutes increases, the core becomes larger, increasing the strength of the tap Diameter - The diameters of the threads of a tap are largest at the front, behind the chamfer. The thread diameter decreases slightly toward the shank, known as the back taper. The back taper creates Clearance between the workpiece and the tap Crest - The top surface joining two sides of a thread. In an internal thread the crest is at its minor diameter. In an external thread the crest is at the major diameter Base of Thread - The bottom section of the thread

Through Hole - Hole that goes all the way through the part Blind Hole - Hole that does not go all the way through the part, but the threads must come as close as possible to the bottom of the drilled hole Major Diameter - The largest diameter of the thread. Also known as the outside diameter Minor Diameter - The smallest diameter of the thread. Also known as the root diameter Thread Height - The radial distance between the crest and the base of thread Length of Engagement - The length of contact between two mating threaded parts Percentage of Thread - Calculated by determining one-half the difference between the major diameter and the minor diameter of an internal thread and dividing it by the thread height Pitch - The distance between a point on a screw thread and a corresponding point on the next thread. The pitch is equivalent to one divided by the number of threads per inch Ground Thread - More accurate threads than cut taps. Held to much closer limits and tolerances

TYPES OF TAP
HAND TAPS These are straight flute general purpose tools which can be used for both machine and hand tapping. They are generally the most economical tool for use on production runs, but are best on materials that produce chips. Bottoming Tap: Bottoming tap has a continuous cutting edge with no taper. This enables it to cut threads to the bottom of a blind hole. Plug Tap: Plug tap has tapered cutting edges. The taper helps align and start the tap into an unthreaded hole. It is the most commonly used tap. Taper Tap: Taper tap has a more pronounced taper than a plug tap. So taper tap can do a very gradual cutting action. It is mostly used with materials that are difficult to work such as alloy steel.

MACHINE TAPS Machine taps are so called because they are designed to be run at higher speeds, and need less cutting power than hand taps. SPIRAL POINT Also known as gun nose or bull nose or chip driver. These taps are dimensionally the same as a hand tap, second lead, but have the cutting face ground back relative to the axis of the tap, for the lead portion. This gives the flute a better cutting action, requiring less power, and pushes the cut material forward, allowing free flow of coolant along the flutes to the cutting edge. The flutes are not ground as deeply as for hand taps, giving the tap greater strength. It can therefore be run at higher speeds. Spiral point taps are ideal for machine tapping of through holes, or blind holes where there is enough clearance beyond the threaded portion to accommodate the swarf.

SPIRAL FLUTE These taps are used to produce a thread close to the bottom of a blind hole and therefore have a very short lead. The right hand spiral cut of the flutes acts to force the swarf away from the cutting teeth to the rear of the flutes and out of the hole. They are better on materials which form long continuous stringy swarf, rather than chips. They are also better to tap a thread in a hole where there is a break in the material, e.g. another hole, as the spiral fluting helps the tap to pick up on the other side. Spiral flute taps can have slow or fast helix angles. Slow spirals are used for non ferrous materials, and fast spirals for most other materials. We supply fast spiral as standard.

FLUTELESS Otherwise known as Roll, Forming or Polygon taps. Used for the chipless production of threads in ductile materials such as copper, aluminium or soft brass. As the name implies they do not have flutes but lobes, which contact the work piece to form the thread by extrusion. They are operated at high speeds and are better at maintaining size. As long as all of the correct operating criteria are met, i.e. speed, hole size and lubrication, they have a longer life and less breakages than with other types of machine taps. Because they produce no chips they are very suitable for blind hole tapping. Fluteless taps require different tapping drill sizes and higher operating speeds than conventional taps, see later. They also produce stronger threads.

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