How to Tap on a Bridgeport Milling Machine

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Whether you are tapping steel or a soft metal such as aluminum, you can use a Bridgeport manual mill for your tapping needs. By applying liberal amounts of tapping fluid, you can prevent the heat buildup that is present with any cutting operation. By setting the RPM to suit the material you are threading, you can tap hundreds of holes on a Bridgeport Milling Machine with no problems.

Things You'll Need

  • Tapmatic
  • Taps
  • Tapping fluid
  • Insert a Tapmatic tapping head into a collet. The Tapmatic tapping head has a 1-inch shank, so use the proper collet to hold it into place.

  • Place the collet into the spindle and tighten the rod with the nut located on the top of the spindle head. You want to use as much force as possible as the tap will be very rigid as it enters and exits the metal for tapping.

  • Set your stop for the correct tap depth according to the print specifications. Use the top of the material and the bottom of the tap for your zero Z point. Reset your micrometer wheel on the front of the spindle.

  • Move the tap away from the work piece and lower the tap head to the required depth and set your quill stop, which is located on the front of the spindle. It has a quick release button, this way your tap will know when to automatically go in reverse to complete the threads.

  • Line up the tap head with the hole you are tapping and apply tapping fluid to the tap, it will be stationery at this point. You must come in at the exact location of the hole or you may break your tap. Turn the Bridgeport on and set the RPM to the material you are tapping. Aluminum and softer metals can be tapped at higher speeds than steel. Refer to the machinist's guide for tapping speeds and feeds or the chart contained in the Tapmatic's instructions.

  • Slowly bring the tap down to the hole and apply pressure to start the tapping process. The Tapmatic will take over and the tap will start turning when it touches the metal, but keep your hand on the lowering lever and continue to apply pressure as the Tapmatic will stop when no pressure is present. When the spindle mechanism gets to the quill stop, the Tapmatic will automatically reverse and you can let go of the handle to allow the tap to come out of the hole.

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