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[4]

Help designing a Tapping fixture

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Glenn Brooks

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#1
Hello all,

I guess it’s time to make an alignment tool or fixture to set up in the quill of a mill to align taps at 90* to the work, when you first start to twist the tap into the hole. Anybody have a link to a thead or set of diagrams about how to build such a thing?

Now, am not talking about taping heads, or standalone taping machines, Just some simple alignment tool to help orient the tap when hand tapping.

I remember someone made some sort of spring fed device that kept pressure on the top of the tap, but of course can’t find it with any words I could think,of in the search bar.

Any leads would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks
Glenn
 

francist

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#2
Are you thinking of a "tap follower", perhaps?
Probably won't get many hits on the forum search, but a Google search will net more. I just have a basic one from Fischer Machine. Works nicely, although I have a dedicated tapping fixture I use most of the time.

-frank
image.png
 

extropic

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#3
Here is a link to what I use. The pin is reversible from point (for taps w/ a center) to conical recess (for taps with no center).
They are well made but only about .7" total stroke (IIRC) and the pin is only about .188" diameter so the conical recessed end won't accept taps larger than about .312".

Tap Guide

I think they are a common sale item so shop for best price.
 

Z2V

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#4
I came across this awhile back but do not remember who to give the credit to. I saw a pic and copied it. 341D8288-5EFC-46AF-BCDA-BABA832C28E6.jpeg D353D2BE-8FD7-4BD9-A551-99AA23B83D8F.jpeg 2DDE8D9F-3417-4112-B85A-7BFE318AAEE7.jpeg
It uses an Irwin tap holder for a 3/8” square drive. The tap holder is a very good piece. I used a piece of 1/4” drill rod for the stem and handle, and the body is 12L.
The hole in the body for the stem is tight enough that it holds a suction. Just chuck up the stem and the body just slides onto the stem. Works great.
 

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Z2V

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#5
Here’s the tap chucks
21DB5FC8-EAB4-416B-8162-ED651E40F806.jpeg
 

Ray C

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#6
Are you thinking of a "tap follower", perhaps?
Probably won't get many hits on the forum search, but a Google search will net more. I just have a basic one from Fischer Machine. Works nicely, although I have a dedicated tapping fixture I use most of the time.

-frank
View attachment 265764
Oh, I like this one!

Ray
 

cg285

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#7
something must have gone over my head as i don't see why you just don't chuck up the tap in a drill chuck and go to work.
 

Liljoebrshooter

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#8
I just chuck the tap into my drill press and loosen the belt up. Then it is much easier to turn just the spindle. Right hand on the down feed handle, left hand gripping the chuck and turning it.
Joe Hynes
 

Downunder Bob

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#9
G'day Glenn,
I'm aware that there are a number of fancy toys out there that can be bought or made, but i've never had the opportunity to use them all I've ever done is to fit a small center into the drill chuck or quill as is appropriate or even put the tap in the drill chuck to get it started then carry on by hand. Sometimes with less than desirable results, but usually works ok.
 

4ssss

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#10
I just chuck the tap into my drill press and loosen the belt up. Then it is much easier to turn just the spindle. Right hand on the down feed handle, left hand gripping the chuck and turning it.
Joe Hynes
That's the way to do it.
 

RJSakowski

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#11
I came across this awhile back but do not remember who to give the credit to. I saw a pic and copied it. View attachment 265769 View attachment 265770 View attachment 265771
It uses an Irwin tap holder for a 3/8” square drive. The tap holder is a very good piece. I used a piece of 1/4” drill rod for the stem and handle, and the body is 12L.
The hole in the body for the stem is tight enough that it holds a suction. Just chuck up the stem and the body just slides onto the stem. Works great.
I believe that was my post. I made mine with a 3/4" diameter to fit my TTS adapter. I also have a 3/4" chuck with an MT3 shank for my lathe so I can use it there as well.
 

Z2V

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#12
I believe that was my post. I made mine with a 3/4" diameter to fit my TTS adapter. I also have a 3/4" chuck with an MT3 shank for my lathe so I can use it there as well.
RJ, let me take this opportunity to say thank you. I hope you don’t mind me making one for myself.
 

machinejack

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#13
Yep start the tap in the chuck. My chucks key handle is the same size as the pilot holes on the chuck insert it and you have a tap handle.
 

MrWhoopee

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#14
I have a pair of tap handles with a free turning dowel pin in the end opposite the chuck. The dowel is held in the drill chuck, the handle turns freely and moves up and down while tapping. Here's one

https://uedata.amazon.com/Walton-70276-Piloted-Spindle-Tapper/dp/B0006N8DWS

Back in the day, we routinely power tapped in the mill just using the drill chuck. Fred nearly freaked when he saw me tapping 1/4-20 at 1200 rpm and throwing the mill in reverse when it got close to the bottom. Made good time though.

I'm less bold now that I don't have a pack of every size tap in the drawer.
 
Last edited:

Glenn Brooks

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#15
something must have gone over my head as i don't see why you just don't chuck up the tap in a drill chuck and go to work.
Common guys, this is way to simple. Machining is supposed to be hard and complicated!

Great comments!

Actually I did tap the first hole in the drill press with a small, shop made dead center held into chuck. But it came out ‘crooked’- out of vertical, so started nkimg a better fixture to control the tap.

The workpiece here was a large T nut, that holds my new QCTP onto the compound slide of the lathe. My first tapped hole, using the DP and the dead center, threw the tool post shaft out of vertical enuf to prevent the toolpost from seating flush with compound. Not good! So fairly gun shy going into my backup second hole position. At the time, I assessed I didn’t have enuf constant downward pressure to guide the tap consistently. So the tap wobbled to much and the hole came to far out of vertical and I couldn’t use it.

Also I realized from your post, I should have held the top of tap rigidly, as in a drill chuck. Looks like this is the primarly selling point of most of the commercial tap guides mentioned here.

Second time around, I drilled the work piece when mounted and centered in my mill. So did not want to loose this vertical alignment control by taking it out and using the drill press.

So now thinking it would be good to have a fixture that I can use routinely on the mill, (or DP) that provides this downward pressure, and holds the tap rigidly at 90*, and, somehow slips and into place without loosing center. I like the tap followers that Francist and Z2B show. These seem to meet all the criteria.

Also, I do want to go out in the shop and practice some power feeding with the drill chuck, as described below. See how well it works. This would be very interesting to learn how to do.

Glenn
 

RJSakowski

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#17
Glen, Here is the post that I made regarding the tap guide. https://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/super-size-tap-guide.41691/

In my experience, it isn't necessary that the tap be rigidly held. My method for tapping a hole is to drill the tap diameter hole in a clamped workpiece, load the tap follower,and the tap in the tap wrench or chuck. That way, the tap is in line with the drilled hole and will tap true to the hole. The tap follower provides downward pressure to keep engaged with the tap wrench.

An added benefit is that the possibility of breaking a tap is greatly reduced. Two of the biggest reasons for breaking a tap are not tapping true to the hole and applying side force to the tap while tapping, both of which are eliminated.

A drill chuck can be used but one hand is required to apply the downward pressure which leaves just one hand for turning the tap and applyibng tapping fluid. It works better on a lathe where you can leave the tailstock free to slide. Power tapping works with a drill press and the right taps. With hand taps, chip clearance can be a problem as it isn't convenient to reverse the tap after a half turn or so.
 

stioc

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#18
I just got done tapping a bunch of holes in a fixture plate (more pics and details in my RF30 build thread) using a Brown and Sharpe tap guide/follower, $20 on Amazon.

 

Groundhog

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#19
I went to tap a hole with a new Fastenal 3/8-16 tap on the drill press so I out dug my tap follower, clamped it in the chuck and went to stick the end in the tap's little hole. No fricking little hole, no little pointie end either. Just a flat surface. Fastenal found another way to cut costs and screw the end user at the same time.
 

stioc

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#20
Funny you mention that because out of 5 or 6 tap holders including a couple of very old USA made ones the only one I had with the hole on it was from my cheap Harbor Freight tap/die set.
Otherwise I was going to put a center hole in one on my lathe. BTW, the HF tap/die set has worked well for me for about a yr now. I'd love to get a quality HSS tap/die set some day though, just can't stomach the $400+ for one right now.
 

markba633csi

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#21
I thought maybe you were thinking something like these: (first one is home-brew but not mine)
tapping2x.jpg tappingf.jpeg
 

Glenn Brooks

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#22
Well, Here’s my homemade attempt to make up a fixture to hold the tap. Easy enuf to drill out a spare socket to hold the tap, and press on a piece of 1/2” drill rod to slide up and down in a collet. It’s a little sloppy joining the tap, so will experiment a bit with it, when I get some spare time in the shop. Maybe a very small three jaw chuck, or an actual,tap holder would be better.

8F5967F7-8362-49AB-9A43-F21D425694C5.jpeg D63E63AA-8D3C-4858-89A7-5AB9A7E1BCB6.jpeg

Glenn
 

cg285

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#24
Well, Here’s my homemade attempt to make up a fixture to hold the tap. Easy enuf to drill out a spare socket to hold the tap, and press on a piece of 1/2” drill rod to slide up and down in a collet. It’s a little sloppy joining the tap, so will experiment a bit with it, when I get some spare time in the shop. Maybe a very small three jaw chuck, or an actual,tap holder would be better.

View attachment 265896 View attachment 265898

Glenn
you are going to great extremes to make it more difficult. if you don't want to power tap it you can still start the tap straight by the power tap method but stop and hand crank the rest of the way
 

Charles Spencer

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#26
I made a collar to fit over the drill chuck and align with the chuck key holes. The downward pressure comes from the drill press handle of course.

tapping device.jpg
 

benmychree

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#27
Add me to the list of folks that tap with the drill chuck, have been doing it for 50 years or so, both in the vert. mill and the drill press; for smaller taps, I just don't tighten the chuck as much so as to allow slippage if the tap binds up. Yes, I have broken taps, but who has not?
 
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