Solid Carbide Taps
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  1. #1
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    Default Solid Carbide Taps

    I was gathering a list of tooling I'll need for a job I'm working on, and came across solid carbide taps. I've seen them before, but never paid them much attention. What struck me as odd, is that they specify them for use only in aluminum and cast iron, the opposite being true with most other cutting tools. Is that because carbide taps are too brittle for harder materials? When are these worth it? Are they just able to be run much faster? I called OSG with my questions, and all I managed to get was the phone girl, who was pretty much just reading a catalogue.

    I'd be interested to hear thoughts on them from anyone with experience.

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    Probably for abrasive materials.

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    Probably useful in very abrasive aluminum alloys.

    I have briefly seen them but never much thought due to price and I don’t run production.

    It would make a lot of sense for roll taps. Where the brittle nature of carbide probably won’t cause as much of a problem

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBethell View Post
    Is that because carbide taps are too brittle for harder materials?
    Pretty much.

    The chance of chipping the cutting edge is much greater even in stuff like 1018 with a carbide tap.
    Maybe if you have peck tapping you can cut harder materials but I've never tried it. I'll just thread mill if I need threads in harder stuff.

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    Cool, I just found it odd to see carbide specifically recommended for only aluminum. Probably not enough benefit to outweigh the cost unless you're running super high production.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBethell View Post
    Cool, I just found it odd to see carbide specifically recommended for only aluminum. Probably not enough benefit to outweigh the cost unless you're running super high production.
    The main issue with carbide taps is their dislike of being rotated counter to the clearance geometry. So while lathe inserts and milling cutters will always (bar screwups) run with the cutting edges working as designed, taps HAVE to run backwards to clear the hole again. The drag of the cutting edge rubbing against the tapped hole threads damages the cutting edges, basically fracturing them at a micro-level.

    This is why you can use carbide taps in softer abrasive materials like hi-silicon Al or fiberglass reinforced composites, but not in hard steels. As mentioned, you're much better off using threadmills in those situations.

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    We use regukar hss or cobalt form taps for aluminum and brass. Either uncoated or TiCN....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike1974 View Post
    We use regukar hss or cobalt form taps for aluminum and brass. Either uncoated or TiCN....
    Yea, same for me. I just saw the carbide taps, and thought I'd educate myself on something new. I ask a lot of questions, 😂😂

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    One of the shops I worked at used Carbide taps up to M20 for die details up to 62Rc. Not sure why they would tell you that they are aluminum specific? Maybe the taps we were using were something different?

    I never understood the time and money aspect, those carbide taps were insanely expensive. They broke, often. It would have been better to use a sinker EDM, but what the hell, I wasn't paying for them and management said sinkers were ancient technology no one uses anymore.

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    seen them used in glass filled plastics really abrasive stuff.
    material would really wear down a cutting edge on carbide. if you looked at it with magnification it looked the edge was polished off.
    this was before diamond coatings came out

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fal Grunt View Post
    One of the shops I worked at used Carbide taps up to M20 for die details up to 62Rc. Not sure why they would tell you that they are aluminum specific? Maybe the taps we were using were something different?

    I never understood the time and money aspect, those carbide taps were insanely expensive. They broke, often. It would have been better to use a sinker EDM, but what the hell, I wasn't paying for them and management said sinkers were ancient technology no one uses anymore.
    Sounds crazy when there's carbide threadmills available. Damn...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fal Grunt View Post
    and management said sinkers were ancient technology no one uses anymore.
    Is that place still in business? lol

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    We keep a few sizes of solid carbide taps here for use on some parts we make from G10. HSS taps were lasting for a handful of holes, we get a few dozen with the carbide ones.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milland View Post
    Sounds crazy when there's carbide threadmills available. Damn...
    I don't know, they had some really odd ways of doing things.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mtndew View Post
    Is that place still in business? lol
    Their revenue was around $18 Billion last year....

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    We don't use carbide taps much, I did however do a demo on an OSG tap because I thought the guys were full of shit. I tapped over 60 holes in S-7, 54-56 R.C. before the tap broke. It does work, and you MUST rigid tap, It just seems rather pointless to me.

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    we used carbide taps to clean out the threads in D2 after heat treat. We'd chase them with an H7 before HT, but sometimes they'd need to be cleaned out after HT.
    Otherwise, they just chip too easy.

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    We use Carbide Form taps to tap 8-32 holes in 303SS all day long safely 45,000 holes per tap with a 2.5 pitch chamfer and straight oil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by csteen View Post
    We use Carbide Form taps to tap 8-32 holes in 303SS all day long safely 45,000 holes per tap with a 2.5 pitch chamfer and straight oil.
    45,000 holes??? Thats impressive!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JBethell View Post
    45,000 holes??? Thats impressive!
    Yep that’s exactly where I figured carbide taps would really shine. Roll taps.

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    Yes, 45,000 safely the hole is only .25 deep though. In testing I got up to 62,400 holes. I would really like to get a synchro type flex holder and see if that helps it more. We do 300,000 to 400,000 of that particular part annually.


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