How to Tap Graphite?
Graphite is a very soft and brittle material that can be challenging to tap. When you search ‘How to tap Graphite?’ into Google, it returns with minimal results. A customer of ours ran into this challenge. They wanted to find an easy tapping solution that would leave them with accurate and consistent threads. In their searching process, they realized there was not a lot of information available on this topic. However, they came across the FlexArm and thought it could work for their tapping needs. They took advantage of the free Tap Test to ensure the FlexArm could handle tapping graphite without cracking the material.
Tapping Graphite with the FlexArm
The customer wanted to test the FlexArm on four different grades of graphite: POCO3, recycled POCO3, AF5, and C200 using an Emuge 1/4-20 bottoming spiral flute tap. The customer was interested in the smallest pneumatic model, the A-32. Since graphite is a soft material and doesn’t require large amounts of torque, the A-32 is a perfect fit for the application.
The customer sent in test pieces with two blind holes in each grade of graphite. We tested the FlexArm on each using the quick change clutch tap holders. These tap holders have an adjustable torque clutch to prevent tap breakage. This feature allows the tap to stop turning when encountering any obstruction, such as the bottom of a hole. The clutch was set to a loose setting to avoid damage to the threads or material.
The FlexArm tapping arm had no issues tapping each grade of graphite. Each hole tapped created smooth and consistent threads with zero cracking or breakage. The customers were happy with the results, so they purchased the A-32 pneumatic tapping machine and will use it to process roughly 60,000 parts per year. The addition of the FlexArm will help increase efficiency and reduce scrap rate.
Many times end users are concerned with finding an easy tapping solution for hard materials, but soft materials can be just as challenging. The FlexArm tapping machine is versatile enough to handle soft materials, hard materials, and everything in between. If you’re looking for an efficient tapping solution, contact us and tell us what tapping issues you are facing. We will find the right solution for you.