View Full Version : Tapping head info.

01-25-2012, 08:37 AM
Got another job coming up that involves drilling & tapping a couple hundred hundred 1/8 N.P.T. blind holes in aluminum. I've been wanting a tapping head anyway and now looks like the time to get serious about finding one.

I have no knowledge of these devices and need to learn. How does the auto reverse function work, ie: is there an adjustable depth stop that it hits & reverses or is it torque related? What brand & size would be recommended to do the above job? Anybody got a good extra one they want to sell reasonable?

Related question, what's a good brand & type of tap for the job?

01-25-2012, 09:48 AM
The tapping head reverses by lifting up on the handle for the quill. Pushing down, the tap goes forward. Lifting a little brings it to a neutral position where the tap stops turning. Lifting more reverses the tap and brings it out of the hole. This is a very controllable operation as you can make the tap go slow, stop or reverse at will. To control depth you simply set the quill depth stop and when the tap pulls down far enough it will stop turning. Very repeatable.
You can often get good tapping heads on eBay pretty cheap. I use an Ettco one quite a bit, there are Tapmatic, Procunier and others. I prefer ones that have a rubberflex collet or two to cover many sizes as opposed to ones that need a different collet for each size.

01-25-2012, 10:01 AM
As Toolguy says.

Additionally, there's a bar or lever sticking out on the side that prevents the tap head from whipping around. You should set up a stop, (or if long enough use the drill column as a stop) for the lever to bear against. Don't hold it in your hand. It's safer and allows your other hand to apply lubricant.

I've got a Tapmatic and a Ridgid, I don't use tap heads often enough to develop any strong opinions on brands.

01-25-2012, 10:48 AM
Awesome, thanks! I've been looking on eBay a bit and am learning a little. Looks like I'd need a size 50X in the Tapmatic brand for my 1/8 NPT tap. Looked at a couple videos and instantly fell in love! Wanted a cigarette after the first one...almost as good as sex.;) (Well, not quite.)

Gotta learn a bit more and pick a deal on one I can mount in my R-8 spindle.

01-25-2012, 12:16 PM
I can see it now. Instead of your wife having a headache it will be you saying "not tonight dear, I'm watching a tapping video" LOL :eek:

01-25-2012, 11:14 PM
I have a Procunier that I bought for one job that I do from time to time 132 pc. 6061 alum. 9/16 20 .350 deep blind and tapped w/ a bottoming tap. This job used to take hours to tap w/ the drill chuck using a taper or plug to start and then a bottoming tap to finish by hand. If I remember correctly the last time I did the tapping operation it took about 45 minutes and most of that time was devoted to swapping pieces. Love it & worth every penny.
ps I have never done npt so I can not comment on using that tap, you may want to investigate more on the kind of tap for that job.

01-26-2012, 05:59 AM

I recently got the Grizzly, #T10057, tapping head, about $155. So far its beeen very good, and works like a dream.


01-26-2012, 07:11 AM
Taper taps are pretty specific in depth so you are going to have to be real careful setting it up. Technically you should have a plug gauge to get the depth right.

Also you might look at the staggered tooth type pipe taps. They require less power to run.

01-26-2012, 09:29 AM
Jack that Grizzly unit is the perfect size for my use and is very reasonably priced compared to even used Tapmatics on eBay. I may pull the trigger on one of those puppies. Only problem is that it has an MT2 shank and my mill is R-8. I think I can get an R-8/MT2 adapter though.

Thanks for the reminder on depth control Jerry. I knew I'd have to do some research to figure out the correct depth and do some practice runs on scrap before starting a run. I'm still waiting on the drawing from my buddy to see what the tolerance is.

I saw some Procuniers on eBay Ed but most were out of my price range. Sounds you really got a good'un!