Why You Should Be Using Forming Taps

Have you ever had to remove chips from a blind hole after tapping it? Have you ever needed a stronger tapped part? Have you ever wanted to cut the production cost of a tapping operation? If you haven’t experience any of these issues cutting threads is your solution but if you have –  use a forming tap and eliminate these problems!

Form taps are ideal for tapping blind holes, but can be used for any tapping application in ductile material, including steel and some stainless steels. Form taps have lubrication grooves but no cutting faces and  do not cut threads or produce chips. They form the threads by exerting pressure on the material being threaded eliminating chip congestion in the flutes.

This style tap is suitable for lathes, radial drills, machining centers and tapping heads. To increase production, they can run up to twice as fast as conventional cutting taps.  Because the forming process pushes the material into the thread form, it is stronger than removing material as in the cutting action of a tap. With no cutting edges to dull, it’s not uncommon to get 5 to 10 times the number of tapped holes with forming taps, compared to a comparable cutting tap.

When the material is conducive to metal forming, why doesn’t everyone make the switch?

There are conditions which are critical to successful form tapping.  To produce a specific class of fit, the hole size must be larger and more closely controlled.  A hole that is too big will result in an incomplete thread formand a hole that’s too small most likely will result in tap breakage. Determing the best hole size is often a case of trying differ sizes to find the best solution. 

form taps
 a thread produced by forming (left) compared to a thread produced by cutting (right).

You can see by the grain structure why the formed thread is stronger. A high concentration of lubricate is strongly recommended, to reduce wear.  Along with this, an increase in torque is required to drive a forming tap. This isn’t usually an issue until you are tapping larger diameters and coarse pitches. Most tap manufacturers provide tap drill charts specifically for form taps.

Regal Adds to Its SuperTuf Line

Regal Cutting has introduced a new line of SuperTuf MF-DA high performance metal forming taps in Din lengths which provide a little greater reach than standard length taps. These taps, made from particle metal (PM), are available from our inventory with TiCN coating and bright.  When accuracy and performance are measured, this is the tool to use. Coatings can significantly add to the life of form taps, and Titanium Carbo Nitride has good wear resistant qualities.

Sizes from #4 to ¾” in various H limits, both plug and bottom chamfers and metric sizes from M4 to M 16  are available. If you want to explore the possibility of increased production and precise thread quality, please contact us .