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Thread: The Basics of Thread Tapping

  1. #1
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    Default The Basics of Thread Tapping

    First off, the tools.

    Required: A thread tap (and the drill bit that comes with one). These come in many different thread pitches. Ultra uses 8-32 threading for his blade retention screws. If you strip out that screw, go to 10-32 thread pitch.

    This is a picture of a tap and the drill bit it uses.



    Some kind of power drill. A drill press is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, because with hand drill, you risk the bit wandering.

    Optional, but HIGHLY recommended: Tap handle. The tap handle holds the tap, like the chuck on a drill holds the bit. The handle allows you to keep the tap at 90 degrees, and gives you plenty of torque. You can tap without the handle, by using pliers to hold the tap. This isn't recommended though, and come on, the handle is all of 6 bucks. DO NOT USE A DRILL PRESS FOR THE TAPPING. YOU WILL DESTROY YOUR TAP.



    The Idiot Proof Steps To Tapping

    1) Secure the drill bit that comes into your drill. A drill press is HIGHLY recommended.

    2) Secure the work piece. A drill press vice is HIGHLY recommended.

    3) Drill the hole. Make sure you drill at the peak of the hilt's curve, otherwise, you will have a crooked hole.


    4) Clean out the hole, make sure that no metal scraps are still in the hole.
    5) Attach the tap to tap handle. DO NOT USE DRILL PRESS INSTEAD OF A TAP HANDLE. YOU WILL DESTROY YOUR TAP AND HOLE.
    6) Begin tapping the hole. You want to turn the tap handle 1/4 to 1/2 a rotation, and then back it out to remove material. Using lubrication during this step is highly recommended. DO NOT just tap the entire hole without backing out the tap. You run the risk of breaking that tap, and even if you don't, you will have a very poorly threaded hole.

    7) Run the tap through the hole one last time, just to make sure it is threaded well. Clean out any metal shavings still in the hole. A can of compressed air works well here.

    8 ) Thread your screw into the hole. Make sure you have the same thread pitch screw as hole. Otherwise, it won't work.
    9) Enjoy your beautifully threaded hole

    Here is a good drill bit-tap reference chart.

    8-32 is M4x0.7.
    6-32 is M3.5 x .06.
    10-32 (I'm assuming that's "UNF") is M5 x .08.
    4-40 is M3 x .05.

    Here is a complete chart. Credit goes to Wikipedia.



    Another formula is: to find the right size drill bit for the tap subtract the thread pitch from the screw size. Example: M5 screw with a .7 thread pitch would require a 4.3 drill bit.


    Anyone who has suggestions (or things I forgot), post em up, and I will add them to the original post.
    Anyone who has questions, post them, and we will try and help you out.
    Last edited by Lord Maul; 04-21-2009 at 10:13 PM.
    Aluke123 on every other forum - Old grumpy moderator here

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  2. #2

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    Thanks Maul This will help everyone who's just starting out making sabers (Like I will be soon).

    Drilling and tapping screws is something I dread, but this will help a lot.

    Thanks.

    Maverick

  3. #3

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    I did my first thread tap over the weekend, and it went perfectly after using the advice here.
    Go slow, and turn the tap in small increments and then back all the way out. Once you get your first one out of the way, you'll feel fine knowing you can do more.
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  4. #4

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    LM, I like the tutorial alot, but what I would recomend is changing that you said its optional to lubricate to a requirement. It is essentially metal grinding against metal, and Although the taps are made of steel or stronger materials they can break very very easily with alluminum. Trust me, I have broken a tap before when I didnt use lube.
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    Hmmmm. I've never broken a tap before and I've never used lubrication. I'll change it to highly recommended.
    Aluke123 on every other forum - Old grumpy moderator here

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  6. #6

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    nice post/tut....

    chalk full of USEFUL info...

    is this stickied?

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    No. I just posted it because I couldn't find the original tapping thread for the FAQ. My easy way out since I made this tutorial for FX Sabers already.

    We REALLY need a Mod again...
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Maul View Post

    We REALLY need a Mod again...
    Seconded, and given the amount of useful work you've done on this and the FAQs I'd nominate you. Xwing was a good Mod too.
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  9. #9

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    I have been told that alcohol is the lubrication of choice for aluminum, so that is what I have used. I have not been able to use that when threading a hole in something painted, though...

  10. #10
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    I have broken several 6/32 taps . Those are the smallest ones I use, and taps in general can be kind of brittle, being hardened like they are, so you should definitely use lubrication when you are tapping a hole in something.
    Last edited by Jedi-Loreen; 06-22-2010 at 01:48 AM.
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