How to Tap Graphite?

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. 

Tapping Versatility

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.

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Standard Features

  • Hand Pendant
  • 22″ Touch Screen Monitor
  • Omron FlexCNC Controller
  • Mobile Control Panel
  • Through Spindle Coolant 
  • Auto Tool Changer 
  • Flood Coolant
HP
Max RPM
FT/LBS
Series

18

4000

92

C-20-02 / C-10-02

18

6000

61

C-20-02 / C-10-02

33

12000

61

CM-20-02

Auto Stand-Off – This is currently defined to be surface stand-off and not to be confused with vector stand-off in 5-axis mode. The current auto stand-off is based on a changing surface and will adjust vertically based on the angle of the “A” Axis, so there is five (5) axis taken into account during the calculations, but this is not the same as the tool vector stand-off. There is the ability to do the vector stand-off change while the machine is running manually with buttons on the screen.

Z-Reader Probe – The Z-Reader is a device for mapping the location of the surface. It can be controlled manually & programmatically. The option is NOT active while cutting & is retracted out of harm’s way. It can be triggered to verify the surface at every pierce before the cutting process starts, or it could be used to drive surface mapping of the whole part before cutting starts. It begins with initialization or zeroing of the device to the surface at the beginning of a program and then accumulates or tracks the difference from that zeroing effort.

Automatic Edge Finder – The edge finder is or can be utilized manually (Jogging Method & Screen Buttons), programmatically (M & G codes), or fully automatic routine (dedicated program). This option sets offsets & program rotation to match the orientation & location on the cutting table.

AC Unit Installed on Electrical Cabinet – The unit is mounted on the cabinet’s High Power (480v) side. It is close to the location where the drives are mounted. This option keeps the cabinet temperature stable and allows heat dissipation faster. The servo drives for all axes are the most significant contributors to heat inside the electrical cabinet.

5-Axis Renishaw CalibrationThe calibration unit is a Renishaw model APCA45 with a modified spherical stylus. The device has a retractable cover and air purge to clear debris & dust during the activation process. It mounts to a swing arm controlled by a pneumatic rotary, so it is out of the way during regular operation and swings into the calibration position for calibration only. 

HP
Max RPM
FT/LBS
Series

18

4000

92

G-20-06 / G-10-06

18

6000

61

G-20-06 / -10-06

40

4000

217

GM-20-06 / G-20-06 / G-10-06

40

6000

145

G-20-06 / G-20-06 / G-10-06