Tap Performance Troubleshooting - Part 2: Chip Control

June 5, 2019 2:15 pm


A series from Walter Tools USA


The following is one part in a series of articles regarding performance problems associated with the tapping process.  The solutions focus on specific actions to counter specific issues.

This article addresses remedies for the issue of Chip Control.  We are offering suggestions and changes that can be made to increase the ability to control the chips and thereby solve many of the problems that poor chip control can cause.  For further information on chip control, please see other articles in this series such as insufficient tool life, excessive wear, fractures, chip welding or tool breakage.

Evidence of problems with chip control is something that most of us see quite frequently.  Even if we don’t necessarily associate the problem with chip control, remedying the chip control issue will solve these problems.  Common results that we see, as a result of poor chip control, is bird nesting, random torque peaks, tool fracturing, and tool breakage.

To improve chip control, modifications to make the tool specific to the workpiece should be implemented.  But, before designing a special tool, the standard range should be checked for suitable alternatives.  Many times, these solutions have been designed into standard product offering.

Higher material hardness and a lower breaking elongation percentage of a workpiece material allow better chip control by keeping the chips shorter and more manageable. For materials with higher breaking elongation percentage such as soft structural steels, low alloyed steels of low hardness and stainless steels, chip control can be more difficult and create greater challenges in controlling the chip.  Chips made from softer materials have a tendency to just bend but not break.

The following infographic identifies some of the tool properties required to control chips in a variety of different workpiece materials.


Chip control

Modifications to make the tool specific to the workpiece have to be implemented


Didn’t find a solution to your issue? For a remedy that does not involve such a direct customization, try a tap designed around a universal application range and can be appropriate for a wide range of materials.  You can also find additional details in this Threading Handbook.


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