Why Form Tap? Better Yet, Why Use Carbide To Form Tap?

The answer to both questions is WHY NOT? Form tapping is internal thread rolling. It offers the same advantages as thread rolling an external journal.

  • Faster cycles.
  • Longer tool life.
  • Stronger threads with at least a 40% improvement in tensile strength.
  • Much higher yet in difficult to thread materials.
  • Most importantly, cost per thread and cycle time.

We can all agree that cycle time is the greatest contributor to overall part cost.  Indeed, TIME IS MONEY.

What materials can be form tapped? Aluminum, the higher tensile strength of a form taped Aluminum part makes it a choice for carbide form tapping but the advantages don’t stop with Aluminum. Let’s explore the other materials that benefit from form tapping with carbide. Low carbon steels A36, 1005-1029, Free steel 1213,12L14. Medium carbon steels 1030-1055, 4130. Heat treatable steels 4140,6150. Cast Steel and Stainless steels 400 series,17=4PH,15-5PH. Aluminum, pure,6061T6,6063. Copper alloys, long chipping. Brass 7075. Magnesium alloys, Thermoplastics 40-70 Newton meters. All the materials mentioned run at operating speeds from 65 to 200 SFM. Imagine the return on tooling investment with 3-5 times the speed of powdered metal and ten times the life.

If your job shop depends on part cost to successfully bid for job opportunities, form tapping is too beneficial to ignore. We offer two styles of traditional form taps. Solid carbide and carbide nib tap heads mounted on a steel shank for lateral strength. The latter style is produced by only one manufacturer, LMT Metalworking Germany.

The most dramatic application we’ve been a part of was a transfer line running a stainless-steel part. The very best performance they could achieve with a powdered metal tap was 300 holes. This forced a shutdown of the transfer line every 300 pieces to replace the tap. The carbide nib replacement tap ran a full shift of 7000 pieces before tap change. The reduction in down time was staggering. The value of the higher cost carbide nib tap was beyond everyone’s expectation.  

What do you run? Are you ready to experience tooling performance beyond expectation? Contact us to discuss your application. We’d like to offer a solution that will change everything you thought you knew about tapping.

What’s Old Can Be New Again

Not only does this phrase apply to our ability to service and repair existing thread rolling tools, frequently we are asked about trade-ins. We will, on occasion, service and sell used tools taken on trade for new purchases.

Many of our loyal customers are commercial job shops that survive by bidding for work against competitors. Thread rolling can dramatically reduce the cost of production by dramatically reducing the time required to thread while improving thread quality and performance. 

Frequently, we have a customer that currently owns a Fette thread rolling head that lacks the capacity to run the part they presently need. If they anticipate no or little need for their present tool, we can extend a trade in agreement that will reduce the acquisition cost of the new tool.

Our goals are simple, the trade in must be in renewable condition. We need to inspect before acceptance to be certain the tool is indeed rebuildable. Much like the cost of building a car at home from the purchase of parts, the same can be true of rebuilding a thread rolling tool. Repair costs can easily exceed the value of a “used” tool. When we accept a trade, we anticipate restoring the tool to good operating condition and resell at considerable savings.

Used tools are available for sale but typically in limited style and supply. They are always sold on a first come basis. Our service and supply ability is geared to extending maximum value to all our customers from the largest manufacturers to our smallest job shops.

We recognize that your success is heavily dependent on cycle time and tool cost. Our success depends on our ability to contain your costs and provide the very best in service. If you have a specific threading issue contact us, we probably have your solution.

Thread Roll Placement

The recent “coating” of thread rolls hides the laser markings and makes it difficult to read the letters and numbers etched on the rolls. To help identify the correct faces of each roll for proper use, see the description of each roll and how they interface for correct alignment. Proper alignment of each roll is done with an understanding of the roll design.

Roll number 1 & A have the same lead on each side of the roll. When changing from numbers to letters it simply requires a flip of the roll on the same spindle.

Roll #2 has a C on the other side. When flipping the roll to the lettered side it requires moving it from position 2 to position 3 on the spindles.

Roll #3 has a letter  on the other side. It requires a flip from position 3 to position 2 on the spindles.

A graphic representation of roll position accompanies this explanation. When constructed only two roll designs are ground.   Flipping and placement create the three roll configuration. Understanding of the placement makes the marking unnecessary.

A Safe Port in A Storm

This has been an objective of mankind since the invention of the ship.  The statement has grown to reflect shelter conditions in virtually any objective.

With the advent of Covid-19 the importance of a “Safe Port” has become a global objective. As a supplier to both big and small businesses our commitment is to continue “business as usual” within the circumstances surrounding us. Our supply from Italian manufacturers is limited due to the situation in their country.  Please keep our Italian friends in your thoughts and prayers.

However, most our suppliers are maintaining operations and many of our customers and suppliers are considered “Essential Businesses” and will continue in operation.  These Many parts of our country are still operating and require the same technical resources they were accustomed to during normal times.

We have added protection to our staff by initiating a “work from home policy,” limiting office staffing to handle shipping and answer phones.  Fortunately, this digital age makes it possible for us to practice social distancing within physical office and warehouse spaces and allow our home bound staff have the resources needed to serve you as usual.

Our team is available to answer your phone calls and emails.  We are eager to support you, process your orders and supply technical assistance whenever needed. Contact us with your individual needs, we’re here to help!.

Knurling and Swaging Made Easy

Fette thread rolling tools have versatility and can be applied to rolling other forms besides external threads. Knurling and swaging applications are easily done on axial, tangential and radial tools with great success. Axial heads are especially successful at rolling straight form, left hand helical, right hand helical and diamond knurl patterns.

The displacement of material forming the knurl pattern exhibits no sharpness in the formed knurl. This is especially important when handling knurled instruments wearing delicate gloves. Very fine to very course patterns are achievable and tooling set up is extremely easy. The application of rolling speeds, like threading, makes cycle times extremely short. This makes the tool application very cost effective.

Swaging is also easily adaptable and the axial approach to swaging yields consistent product quality hard to achieve with a side approach swaging tool. Distortion is nonexistent and swage roll life is extremely high. Symmetrical and step style swage forms can be accomplished. Form coining of nose radiuses is also done frequently. The tools are not limited to straight swage applications.  

If your current tool selection includes thread rolling heads you may not have known that they have applications beyond male threads. Contact us with your Knurling and Swaging applications. We can identify your current tooling and determine if it’s applicable. We can also quote a new application with all the necessary tooling.

What’s the Difference with Cut Taps?

All cut taps are not manufactured on equal footing. Most European and Japanese taps are produced from powdered metal blanks. This allows for improved performance of the cutting edge due to the irregular grain structure of the tool. Coatings are also “state of the art” and have a large impact on performance. An example of unique design is the LMT V-Magic Tap. The coating consists of a TICN multi-layer coating on the threads with a steam oxide coating in the gullet. It is designed to improve chip removal performance in materials that produce long erratic chip flow. The steam oxide coating has a greater coefficient of friction than the TICN and forces the curling chip to pack more densely as it flows away from the tap. This aids in controlling the chip flow and form improving the overall performance of the tap.

Nothing is faster or more reliable than single point turning, true or false? The real answer is IT DEPENDS.

Roll threading a journal requires turning the diameter before rolling. Roll threading implies that part volume is a key. In any high-volume production application, the parts require turning to prep for threading. The blazing speed of roll threading can be mirrored with equal speeds in turning the blank. Utilizing a multi fluted indexable hollow mill with 3 or more carbide turning inserts can triple or quadruple turning speeds always utilizing a single pass process. Nothing is faster or more accurate.

Most always, the time saved in turning, more than pays for the tooling costs. It always yields dramatic production cost savings as well as equally dramatic production increases. Not all hollow mills are created equal. Some indeed work better than others and our years of thread rolling experience have given us an edge in identifying the right tool for your application. Sample us with your component requirements and challenge us to identify the ideal tool for your application.

Thread Rolling Made Easier With Design Improvement

Through the publication of previous blogs, we have discussed in some depth the critical advantages offered by rolling as opposed to cutting threads in most metals. The tooling design has changed little over several decades. Using the tools successfully required some self-taught practices that could be derived from the published instruction furnished with the tool. We know, only too well, that often the publications were read after the fact when failure was the initial result. The versatility of the tool required some set-up knowledge that was not broadly covered in the instructions or was misunderstood. While the tool was initially used broadly on multi spindle screw machines and set up was conducted by trained experienced set up people, the transition to single spindle CNC applications often lacked the trained set up technician.

Recognizing the changing work place applications, more recently, the tool design has been altered to make it a more user-friendly tool. Previously, the tool had to be manipulated to use it effectively through its entire range of thread sizes. Distinguishing the changing market place applications encouraged the German designers to “modernize” the set-up capability of the tool.

The newest inception of the tried and true thread rolling attachment has been upgraded to the newly designed EVO style. The EVO tool utilizes a setting adjustment that can function through the entire range of the tool. This eliminates the need to disassemble and reconfigure the tool to accommodate the smallest to largest possible thread that can be run by the tool. The tool has two distinct gauge readings that can be mounted to provide easy viewing of the set point. The closing handle can be rotated 360 degrees to allow for virtually any location to create the closing of the head after each operation. These basic but vital changes have made the tool much more user friendly. While the basic differences between the older original design and the newer EVO design don’t impact the usefulness of older tools, the new EVO design changes can be a reason to migrate to the new design. The EVO design also utilizes solid carbide bushings between the spindle and roll negating the need for roller bearings. This too helps to reduce changeover time and is a secure method to lengthen service time between spindle replacement.

Effects of a Smaller World

Global tooling sources are a common resource for virtually every country within our planet. North America, Europe, Asia, Scandinavia and Japan presently supply the bulk of the world’s requirements for metal working tools. The speed and efficiency of world travel has opened the world as a market place for technology no matter where the source. This advantage to manufacturing has only been achieved within the past few decades. Prior to the advent of speedier international travel, technology evolved but was localized.

The twentieth century is notable for warfare and advances in technology. We learned following Germany’s defeat in World War Two that they were within weeks of deploying their version of the Atomic Bomb. Certainly, this would have a devastating impact on Great Britain or the United States or both. Jet aircraft, rocketry, carbide cutting tools and thread rolling technology were a few of the revolutionary products developed for warfare by Germany. As victors, the Allied countries were the future beneficiaries of Germany’s strategic technologies. Today as our ally, Germany continues to develop tools and products that help manufacture products more efficiently and more cost effective.

Metalworking has been advanced with thread rolling technology that improves cost and performance of any threaded product. Carbide has been improved with new coating technologies and grades that have virtually eliminated the use of high-speed steels in manufacturing. As an example, Fette introduced a coated carbide insert for machining Aluminum that can achieve operating speeds to 10,000 SFM. Coated carbide nib taps that can outlast their steel counterpart by a 10 to 1 ratio. High speed milling spindles that start at 50,000 rpm. The revolution in development of metalworking tools is most visible at any tooling show throughout the world. Today’s manufacturer must research and deploy the best tool for a job or face being pushed aside by the competition. Among our strengths is external and internal threading. We can help improve your product performance and cost employing the tooling strategies just discussed. Simply contact us and challenge us to help you achieve the cost and performance benefits we’ve outlined.

Thread Roll Leads Explained by An Expert

Rolling screw threads in metal is the most cost and quality effective method of producing threaded parts. Three basic thread production technologies exist throughout the metal working world. Axial tools produce one thread with each revolution and have no length limitation other than the potential stroke length of the machine the tool is mounted on. The tool design utilizes a roll that requires a soft lead to start the metal deformation leading to a finished thread form. Depending on the roll lead the part will exhibit 1.5 or more unfinished thread forms at the end of the part. The harshness or softening of the lead has a direct impact on overall roll life. Despite the unfinished thread characteristic, it is possible to gauge to a shoulder using an undercut behind the thread body to clear away the unfinished thread portion.

Fette thread rolls are designed with different lead designations labeled .6K, 1K, 2K and 3K.

0.6K lead roll leaves 1.5 unfinished threads.

1k lead leaves 2 unfinished threads. 

2K lead leaves 3 unfinished threads

3K lead leaves 4 unfinished threads.

Both 1K and 2K lead rolls are considered standard and priced accordingly. A .6K and 3K lead roll set are considered “special” and are premium priced.

Is there any advantage to running lengthy leads?  OF COURSE!  A 2K lead can add 20% to roll life in many materials. A 3K lead is frequently used in the oil patch industry and the additional unfinished threads have no impact on the performance of sucker rods as an example. Cost and availability of rolls often become the driving factor in tool selection as well as part design. Applying the best roll selection can impact on overall cost per thread but part design is frequently the driving force behind roll selection.

When thread design commands very short threads or little to no relief, axial thread rolling is not the best option even though axial rolling is always the lowest cost tooling option.