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Super Size Tap Guide

Discussion in 'MACHINE ACCESSORIES (Tables, Vises, Indexers)' started by RJSakowski, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I use a spring loaded tap guide whenever I tap holes on the mill. It has some problems though. Frequently, I don't have enough head room to fit a tap, a tap wrench, and the tap guide. I am also limited to 1/4" taps and smaller. Finally, the usable travel is about .4" which is frequently not sufficient to fully tap a hole.

    I had started to design my own tap wrench which could accommodate taps up to 5/8" and would have a short profile. Making a self centering tap wrench could be accomplished but with some difficulty.

    Last week, I was in our local DIY and stopped by the taps to see if I could get some ideas. There I found a tap wrench made by Irwin ( P/N 1766069) which seemed to fit the bill. At 2-1/2", it was considerably shorter than a traditional collet type tap wrench. It was speced at accommodating taps from 1/4" to 1/2". There was a socket for a 3/8" drive which could be used for a tap guide, and it had a 1" hex for driving with a wrench if you really needed some torque. At a little over $14 with store rebates, I picked one up.

    Once home, I checked it out. It actually will accommodate taps from #12 through 9/16". The 3/8" socket will seat a .380" pin. I set about designing the tap guide, basically an upsized version of the commercial guide. The housing is 3/4" in diameter to fit my 3./4" R8 collet. I designed the travel to be 1.3". I also added a replaceable tip so I could easily go from a point to a countersunk end. The countersunk end also serves as the centering pin for the Irwin tap wrench. The Irwin wrench is unmodified.

    The project was almost entirely lathe work. The only exception was milling a screwdriver slot in the threaded retaining plug. For the housing, the plunger, and the two tips, I used some bar stock salvaged from old printers. It is a free machining steel with characteristics similar to 41L40. The 9/16" - 18 threaded plug was cut from a length of threaded rod. On modification made on the fly was to add a boss to center the spring. A 1/8" screwdriver slot was milled.

    The assembled tap guide and tap wrench extends about 2.6" below the R8 collet. The actual travel is 1.5" which will handle most tapping needs. The violet part is the replaceable tip it has a 1/4-28 male thread to mate with the threaded socket in the blue plunger. The spring extends downward into a socket in the plunger. The photo shows the commercial tap guide in the lower left, the new guide, the tip for engaging the Irwin tap wrench, and the Irwin tap wrench in the upper right.
    Tap Guide.JPG
    Tap Guides .JPG
     
  2. echesak

    echesak United States Active User Active Member

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    That's Awesome!
     
  3. HitFactor

    HitFactor United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I'm in learning mode. How do you use this tool?

    I've read this post a couple times and have one of those Irwin tap holders.

    It seems to be an alignment tool, once aligned chuck up the tap.
     
  4. great white

    great white Active User Active Member

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    ditto.

    :)
     
  5. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    In the drawing, the housing (transparent) is mounted in a collet. The plunger & tip (blue and violet) are forced downward by the spring. The mill spindle is centered over the hole to be tapped. The top of the tap wrench has a countersink which is fitted to the point. The plunger is pushed up, compressing the spring, lowering the quill, if necessary.and a tap wrench with tap installed is placed in the hole.

    The tap is lubricated and the tapping process begun. As the tap feeds into the work, the spring loaded plunger follows the tap, keeping the tap aligned with the hole. An added advantage is that the guide makes it difficult to inadvertently pull the tap to one side, breaking the tap.

    If using the Irwin tap wrench, the pointed tip is replaced with the cylindrical tip which seats in the 3/8" drive socket at the top of the wrench. Otherwise, it acts the same as the pointed tip.

    The commercial guide (lower left functions the same way, just on a smaller scale) With a 1/2" housing, it can be used in a drill press.
     
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  6. HitFactor

    HitFactor United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Thanks, your explanation helps a lot. I think I'll try making one.
     
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  7. sd624

    sd624 United States Active User Active Member

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    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1452219978.177085.jpg
     
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  8. great white

    great white Active User Active Member

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    Ah, there it is.

    I just couldn't picture it from the description.

    Picture is worth a thousand words....

    :)
     
  9. Pops

    Pops United States Active User Active Member

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    IMG_0009.JPG IMG_0011.JPG I use basically the same arrangement with the spring except I have several pieces of 1/8" thick metal that I have drilled and filed a hole the same size as the square on various sizes of taps. Don't have to worry about a long tap handle getting in the way.
     
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  10. KMoffett

    KMoffett United States Active User Active Member

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    I did this a couple of months before ENCO started selling them. :( The throw is only about 3/4". But, I can keep adjusting the quill to go deeper. The piston is two ended . There is a point on one end (shown), for the counter sink in the top wrench. And a countersink on the other end for the pointed top ends of taps when using a tapping bar. Just remove the set screw, flip it end for end, and insert the set screw in the other hole.

    Ken

    TapGuide.jpg
     
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  11. Charles Spencer

    Charles Spencer Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Good idea.
     
  12. Silverbullet

    Silverbullet Active Member Active Member

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    Nice builds. I agree the little spring ones are just that too little. The Irwin handle is really a nice one to have on my Xmas list .
     
  13. TORQUIN

    TORQUIN United States Active Member Active Member

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    I'm not getting it. How is the tap guide gonna engage the Irwin tap wrench? I have a set of them, purchased from Amazon a few years ago. Mine don't have the hex and can only be driven by the square hole for the ratchet. I have often wished for a ratchet with a countersunk hole in the back, to put a guide into, as driving with a ratchet is very nice, if you can keep it centered.

    Chris
     
  14. kd4gij

    kd4gij United States Active User Active Member

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    square drive T handles usually have a center hole in the back. You could start with that and switch to a ratchet. or put one of these on a T handle
    upload_2016-11-3_21-23-17.png
    upload_2016-11-3_21-24-22.png
     
  15. TORQUIN

    TORQUIN United States Active Member Active Member

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    OK, thanks. While I have seen that type of drive handle before, I have never seen the use of that kind of handle and never thought I'd need one in my arsenal, figuring a breaker bar or ratchet would be enough. I'm going to look into getting one now, as I long for a shorter tap guide and handle setup like others.

    Chris
     
  16. kingmt01

    kingmt01 United States Active Member Active Member

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    Very nice work. I like it.

    I have some Snappy tap sockets I bought years ago. I've found taps really want to go straight as long as your not pulling them to the side. So I Mount the tap socket in the drill chuck & start the tap a few turns. Once it's started it's hard to pull sideways so I'll finish the job with a ratchet usually. I don't like power tapping.
     
  17. RJSakowski

    RJSakowski H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    When using the Irwin tap wrench, I use the 3/8" cylindrical end which nicely fits the 3/8" socket. The cylindrical profile provides a more positive drive and less chance of pulling the tap wrench from the guide when tapping large holes. The conical tip can be used with a traditional T handle tap wrench.

    I prefer to not use a ratchet for tapping because of the sideways torque introduced.
     
  18. kingmt01

    kingmt01 United States Active Member Active Member

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    The reason I use the drill chuck is so it will slip if it binds. Otherwise I'd out it in the collet which I have done when I used to power tap. I agree the ratchet does introduced side torque. That's why I start them under power of the mill machine then switch to the ratchet with a careful hand.
     

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