When it comes to the many different types of industrial machining processes available, thread milling, and thread tapping are two of the most common. Both of these processes are used for creating threads in metal parts, but there are some key differences between them.
Both thread milling and thread tapping can be used to create internal or external threads on a piece of metal. Generally, both techniques are used for different purposes depending on whether you want to make new threads in your part or simply add new features to existing threads. See which one is best for your job below:
What is Thread Milling?
Thread milling is a machining process that uses a single cutter to create multiple helical flutes in a workpiece. A thread milling machine is what enables the process. This machine typically has three spindles, each one holding a single-end, internal thread-cutting tool. The thread mill cutter then rotates the workpiece and the cutting tools in a coordinated way, creating flutes and producing internal threads in the part.
What is Thread Tapping?
Thread tapping is a machining process that uses a single end cutting tool to create a new thread in a workpiece. The tool can either be a standard tap or a plug tap. The tap is inserted into the workpiece and rotated while being fed along the length of the part. The tap will create new internal threads in the part while cutting away the existing material.
Why Should You Choose Thread Milling Over Tapping?
If you have many parts to produce and need to do so quickly, thread milling is probably the better choice. With thread milling, you are creating multiple helical flutes in the part, so you can use only one cutting tool and create many threads in one setup. When thread tapping, you need one cutting tool for each thread. This means that if you have 100 parts to make, you will need 100 cutting tools.
How to Find the Right Machining Process
The first step in finding the right machining process for your job is to consider the type of thread you want to create. You can then determine if you need to make new threads or add features to existing threads. Most thread milling machines can create external and internal threads, while most thread tapping machines can create only internal threads.
Another key factor to consider is how often you need to make the thread. Is this something that you will be making only once, or will you be producing a large quantity of parts? You can use thread tapping if you want to make a few parts that require an odd thread size or don’t have an existing thread on the part. You can use thread milling for a larger production run with a standard thread. If you will be making a lot of parts, thread milling is probably the better choice as it can create several threads in one setup, whereas thread tapping requires a setup for each thread.