How to Tap Fabricated Holes?

How to Cut Fabricated Holes

Laser, plasma, and waterjet machines, often found in fab shops, are great for creating holes, but what about when those holes require threads? A secondary operation is necessary to achieve this, and the tools are often not ideal. Operators frequently use radial drills, handheld drills, hand taps, or  CNC machines to tap the fabricated holes. These solutions are much less efficient and often less accurate than the FlexArm. The FlexArm tapping machine presents a solution that allows the operators to tap fabricated holes without refixturing their parts, breaking taps, or running costly CNC machines. The mobile nature of the FlexArm makes it easy to go from cutting to tapping in a matter of minutes. 

How to Tap Plasma Cut Holes

Plasma cutting machines operate on electricity conductive materials. The plasma melts the material while moving fast 

enough to blow molten material away from the cutting area. Because of the heat required to cut plasma cut holes, the holes are often imperfect and tend to have an oblong shape. They may also have stress risers. These effects may make it difficult to process without breaking taps. The FlexArm can easily handle most plasma cut holes, even imperfect ones. If an operator needs to clean up a plasma cut hole, a reamer placed in the quick change drill chuck can accomplish this.

How to Tap Laser Cut Holes
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Laser cutting machines operate using a focused light beam to melt, burn or vaporize the cut material. These machines are capable of drilling, marking, and engraving. Though these machines can handle jobs of almost any complexity, the laser-produced hole results in a hardened heat-affected edge. Hardened holes are challenging to tap without breaking taps. Many operators will ream laser-cut holes before they tap them to make it less likely that their machines will 

break taps during the tapping process.  However, the FlexArm has a clutch mechanism built into the tap that makes it possible to tap laser-cut holes without having to ream it first. If the clutch is triggered, it will ratchet out before the tap breaks. 

How to Tap Waterjet Cut Holes

Waterjet cutting machines, like the FlexJet, operate using a high-pressure abrasive and water mixture. These machines can cut almost any material relatively cheaply without the need to alter the material’s properties. Waterjets do not use heat, so they do not leave a hardened or misshaped edge. Tapping off a waterjet is often achieved via drill press, cordless drill, or sometimes operators will complete the tapping process in a CNC machine.The issue with using radial 

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or cordless drills for tapping is that this often results in tap breakage and thread inaccuracies. CNC machines are expensive to run, and tapping may not be the best use of the machine. The FlexArm frees up the machine for more complex machining operations. 

The FlexArm tapping machine is an efficient solution for tapping fabricated holes. The FlexArm reduces the need to run a CNC machine, refixture the part more than once, and decreases tap breakage, saving the shop time and money. If you’re looking for an effective solution for tapping fabricated holes, contact us, we can help you find the right solution for your needs. 

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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