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Aluminum Foil Tape - Used for Lapping

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  • Aluminum Foil Tape - Used for Lapping

    I have watched one of Tom Lipton's, Ox Tool videos several times now as I have a micrometer (my first one) that is all but identical to the one he works on in it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5ywRufQOx8

    One thing that is of particular interest is his use of aluminum foil tape that is pasted on a surface plate for lapping. The surface plate provides a flat surface that the aluminum foil tape can conform to and the abrasive will embed in the soft aluminum. It seems to be a useful technique.

    I did a quick web search and found a large number of aluminum foil tapes.

    https://www.google.com/search?client...inum+foil+tape

    What I am wondering is are there any concerns here about the quality of the aluminum foil tape. I would think that the aluminum foil itself is fairly uniform in thickness. I have used household aluminum foil as a shim many times and every time I mike it I find it is 0.0007" thick. That is across many rolls and many different brands. It seems to be very accurate in it's thickness.

    But what about the adhesive? Is that also going to be uniformly thick? Are there any preferable brands? Some are described as "industrial". Does that mean anything? And are there different thicknesses? Household foil comes in at least two.

    All thoughts on this are welcome.
    Paul A.
    SE Texas

    And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
    You will find that it has discrete steps.

  • #2
    My first thought is the adhesive as well. The coating is probably rather consistent just due to manufacturing considerations, but whether it is reliable to tenths is questionable. Once stuck down, there are more variables than the original thickness, ther is whether pressure ws even in sticking it down, etc.

    For that matter the aluminum may or may not be reliably consistent in thickness, although again, it is probably pretty good. But these are "probably", not specified properties. Relying on unspecified properties is usually a recipe for at least surprises.

    Whether that really matters is open to question. But if you go to the trouble of sticking it to a surface plate, that suggests you are expecting to reproduce the surface plate "shape" (flatness) on the top surface.

    It's a "maybe", one that depends on your expectations, IMO. Won't hurt me if someone disagrees.
    2730

    Keep eye on ball.
    Hashim Khan

    Everything not impossible is compulsory

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    • #3
      I’ve never watched the video. I’m too old and set in my ways to even entertain the lapping concept. It sorta scares me.

      I do however use that type of tape to line my mill vise jaws when the engineering students send back their pretty piece to have the changes made, I originally told them they’d need…

      Click image for larger version

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      Illigitimi non Carborundum 😎
      9X49 Birmingham Mill, Reid Model 2C Grinder, 13x40 ENCO GH Lathe, 6X18 Craftsman lathe, Sherline CNC mill, Eastwood TIG200 AC/DC and lots of stuff from 30+ years in the trade and 15.5 in refinery unit operations. Now retired. El Paso, TX

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      • #4
        He also has a video where he bought three rough circular cast iron plates and proceed to make three finished lapping plates. Why go through this exercise when a more predicable one exists?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHmsQEAx16o

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        • #5
          Originally posted by reggie_obe View Post
          He also has a video where he bought three rough circular cast iron plates and proceed to make three finished lapping plates. Why go through this exercise when a more predicable one exists?
          .................]
          Youtube......
          2730

          Keep eye on ball.
          Hashim Khan

          Everything not impossible is compulsory

          Comment


          • #6
            I love the idea of the alu tape or foil for the quick-n-dirty jobs where you need a quick-n-dirty solution. I don't think anyone would pretend that it is as controlled as a purpose-made lap, but it may produce acceptable results for the immediate task.
            I have wondered about using the roof flashing sold in rolls for that also. Both alu and copper are available. Stick em to the surface plate or a sheet of glass with some spray adhesive.

            Clickspring really opened my eyes when he went to a pure Tin lap, he got mirror finishes with diamantine powder, with amazing flatness and crisp edges.
            25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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            • #7
              I am with Tim The Grim, interesting idea, but wet / dry paper with isopropyl alcohol works for me. The clean up with the tape would be a lot of work. The aluminium tape thickness is VERY consistent . Thanks for posting ~

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Fasturn View Post
                I am with Tim The Grim, interesting idea, but wet / dry paper with isopropyl alcohol works for me. The clean up with the tape would be a lot of work. The aluminium tape thickness is VERY consistent . Thanks for posting ~
                Stick it down on a chunk of plate glass instead of your good surface plate.
                After all It's HSM, isn't it.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by reggie_obe View Post

                  Stick it down on a chunk of plate glass instead of your good surface plate.
                  After all It's HSM, isn't it.
                  Funny you say that? I was going to buy a bigger granite plate for my home shop ( gage layout ) then I got the crazy idea to used a piece of 1/4 x 16x 20" glass on my bench top. Works very well for my needs!

                  Point well taken !
                  Last edited by Fasturn; 10-15-2021, 06:22 PM.

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                  • #10
                    The 3m one is good, 727 I think, fairly thick soft annealed.
                    mark

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by reggie_obe View Post

                      Stick it down on a chunk of plate glass instead of your good surface plate.
                      After all It's HSM, isn't it.
                      I've got a 2x4 foot chunk of 1/2" thick glass kicking around here for the last couple years, really should get around to cutting it up smaller into plates you get tired of stubbing your toes on it in the hallway
                      25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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